Review: ‘Ana Satsujin, Vol. 1’ by Rahson

I can’t find the correlation between volumes and chapters, so I’m not sure how far I’ve gotten into this series, but for now it’s a cool blend of dark comedy and horror. I’m a bit stumped by the abysmal rating for this one on Goodreads; then again, I don’t understand most people’s reasons for anything.

After our protagonist graduated from high school, he failed to get into college. He finds himself living in the archetypical shitty residential building in Japan that is one story tall and with a balcony leading to all the apartments. Any young guy doomed to fail must get shipped to one of these by law.

In any case, the protagonist has run out of money, his utilities are about to get shut off and the rest of his life is a mess, so he figures that he might as well die. He attempts to hang himself from a hook attached to the wall, but his weight ends up tearing the hook and part of the thin wall off, which reveals a peephole into the adjoined apartment. An attractive young woman lives there. The protagonist, intrigued by this development, decides to postpone his death to spy on his neighbor as she sleeps, gets changed, and masturbates.

However, one day a shady-looking older guy follows her home. He pushes her onto the bed and attempts to rape her. Next thing the protagonist knows, because he’s witnessing this through the peephole that has become his private television, his neighbor pulls out a Stanley knife and murders the wannabe rapist. Quite gleefully, too. The protagonist freaks out and hides in the dark, but shortly after, she’s ringing his doorbell. He has nothing else going on, so he lets her in. She’s bringing him leftovers. They enjoy the meal together like good neighbors, while he tries to hide how overwhelmed and confused he feels about this whole situation. That precarious mental state becomes the norm for him at least twenty or so chapters into this thing.

His attractive neighbor kills again and again. She was an accomplished serial killer all along. Because the protagonist can’t tear himself away from the peephole, he witnesses her luring a variety of men home only to slash their carotid arteries open. In the serial killer’s equivalent of lighting a cig after sex, after her victims lie dead, she walks to her neighbor’s apartment to bring him food or cook for both.

One day, though, the protagonist fucks up. In the middle of a kill she notices a flash of light entering through the peephole, and when she looks through it, she finds herself staring into one of the protagonist’s eyeballs. Our guy is terrified. This accomplished mass murderess is now aware that he has witnessed at least one of her crimes, and he’s too reclusive and powerless to defend himself or rely on outside help. Will this lead to his demise, to a beautiful friendship, or both?

Somehow they even made a movie out of this: here’s the trailer.

As long as you follow this series as a sort of carefree black comedy, it’s quite entertaining, and frequently hilarious. I appreciate the author’s sense of humor. Initially the art style reminded me of hentai for whatever reason, but then I realized that the author probably published some hentai that I’ve come across.

All in all, a satisfying find.

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