Warning — Here, there be nightmares
"One of the others inside my head... awakens. Another and another and... who... who am I
— Yosuke Kobayashi
A Serial Killer
is loose in the streets of Tokyo, one that delights in leaving the gruesome remains of his victims on display for the police to find. Yosuke Kobayashi, a dedicated young cop with Japan's major crimes task force known as Investigations Section One, has been working diligently to solve these horrendous crimes that have captured the media's attention. Lately, though, his dreams have been haunted by blood, darkness, and worst of all, visions of himself standing above the dismembered victims with knife in hand.
Pushing these dark thoughts aside, Yosuke focuses all of his time and energy (and his brilliant knack for criminal profiling) into finding the monster behind these attacks and putting a stop to them once and for all. The killer makes it personal
, however, when his next target turns out to be Detective Kobayashi's girlfriend, the mutilated but still living body
of whom the killer delivers directly to Yosuke's office. Enraged, Kobayashi finally manages to track down the psychopath who is responsible. When he finds the killer to be laughing and unrepentant, though, something within him breaks
, and the man who once was Yosuke Kobayashi becomes something irrevocably different.
Several years later, the man known as Yosuke Kobayashi is about to be released on parole, having served out his sentence for the crime of criminal negligence in the cold-blooded killing of the lunatic that maimed his girlfriend. Ever since the killing and his subsequent arrest, he has gone only by the name of Kazuhiko Amamiya. Amamiya claims that he is an alternate personality of Kobayashi (who is a victim of Multiple Personality Disorder
), and that the "Kobayashi" personality died when another, far more violent personality named Shinji Nishizono arose to take Kobayashi's revenge on the serial murderer.
Upon his release, Amamiya is recruited into a private criminal investigations firm: one that can make use of his unmatched profiling skills
, and that seems more than willing to overlook his disorder. Serial murders are on the rise, more frequent and gruesome than ever before. With the dark whispers of Shinji Nishizono echoing in his mind, Amamiya and his firm aid the police in their investigations. Though the nature and method of each new murderer is different, and there is seemingly no relation from one to the next, Amamiya soon finds a connection. Each of the killers has a strange mark on the white of their left eye, just beneath the eyelid. A mark in the shape of a barcode...The same kind of mark that is on Amamiya's own left eye
is a Psychological Horror
written by Eiji Otsuka (The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service
) and illustrated by Shou Tajima (Kill Bill
). It was originally released in 1997, and is currently being published in the manga magazine Monthly Young Ace. It is licensed in North America by Dark Horse Comics
. In 2002 the series received a six episode live-action miniseries adaptation, directed by controversial filmmaker Takashi Miike
This series contains examples of:
- Author Appeal — Eiji Otsuka has a thing for showing mutilated naked bodies of young women, massive body trauma from bullets and explosions, and Eye Scream.
- Body Surf
- Brain Food — Used in nightmarish fashion by one flower-loving serial killer who cuts open his victims skulls to use their brains as flower pots. While they're still alive.
- Break the Cutie — The serial-killer in the first chapter taunts Detective Kobayashi by telling him that he raped his girlfriend, multiple times, while in the process of cutting off her arms and legs.
- Brown Note — The songs of Lucy Monostone has been shown to have mind-altering effects on its listeners.
- Character Overlap — The cop Sasayama also appears in Ohtsuka's The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, plus a big scar on his head and minus a leg.
- Defective Detective
- Detective Drama
- Doppelgänger — EVERYONE SEEMS TO HAVE ONE.
- This is later explained however the same company responsible for the barcode killers also had an Island-style side-business going on were they would clone the rich and famous in order for the clones to serve as spare parts.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady — It doesn't help that his name also happens to be Lucy, of all things.
- It is widely believed that Lucy Monostone was inspired by Marilyn Manson.
- Eye Scream — Brought into play frequently in the series, especially when a character decides to get rid of his own barcode once and for all.
- Fate Worse Than Death — Many of the serial killers in this series seems to specialize in inflicting fates worse than death on their victims. See Break the Cutie and Brain Food for some specific examples.
- Finger in the Mail — A killer sends one of the detectives looking for him the armless, legless torso of the detective's girlfriend in an ice chest.
- Gorn — Taken up to eleven in the live-action mini-series, as expected of director Takashi Miike
- Grand Theft Me
- Half the Man He Used to Be — Things didn't work out so well between Kido and that subway train...
- Mad Artist — Lucy Monostone, a prolific musician who was killed in the 1960s, was also a known terrorist whose legacy spawned violent cults.
- Mind Screw
- Pixellation — The most gory scenes in the live-action series are pixellated. This is entirely averted in the manga.
- Psychic-Assisted Suicide — In a sorta kinda case of Demonic Possession, the personality of Lucy Monostone forces Kimihiko to blow his own brains out.
- Psychological Horror — The bread and butter of this series.
- Rape as Drama
- Split Personality — The driving force of the series are the myriad of personalities that share the body of Kazuhiko Amamiya, including a genius detective, a child, a cross-dresser, and a cold-blooded killer. And that's just getting us started.
- Stuffed In A Fridge — Detective Kobayashi's girlfriend, mutilated but still alive, is delivered to his office stuffed in an ice-chest... minus her arms and legs.
- Suicide Pact — The mass suicide of Lucy Monostone and his fanatical followers in the church.
- Thanatos Gambit — Lucy's suicide seems to have been the kickstart the Gakuso project needed to get going.
- Unsound Effect — Both played straight and for humor often in the manga series. At one point, when the protagonist adjusts his glasses after a morale-boosting speech, his co-worker responds to the written sound effect with: "Did you just say 'Shining?'"