Manga: Nightmare Inspector
"Sleep now, and leave this world behind..."Yumekui Kenbun
(夢喰見聞) or Nightmare Inspector: Yumekui Kenbun
in the English translation, is a Shōnen Horror
series written and illustrated by Shin Mashiba, set in the end of the Taisho era. It takes place mostly in Ginseikan (Silver Star in English), the teahouse run by Mizuki Asahina.
When a person has nightmares they go to Hiruko, a Baku
, for help. Hiruko helps people by entering their nightmare with them with the help of his supernatural cane that puts them to sleep, and helping to sort the nightmare out before taking it to eat for himself. Hiruko has a preference for painful nightmares and will do anything to get one.
The series is mostly episodic, and each chapter sees Hiruko helping a new client discover what their nightmare means. There is an overarching story about the origins of the baku and the histories of the Silver Star's residents Hiruko, Mizuki, and Hifumi, but the emphasis is on the customers.
This series provides examples of:
- A Love to Dismember - The body part in question isn't quite severed, but in one later chapter, a man bricks his wife up in a wall and leaves her arm sticking out, stroking it and talking to it.
- All Just a Dream - Often subverted, but grandly played straight in the end, when they find out that just about everything that happened since Chitose took over as Hiruko the Baku is all a massive nightmare created by Azusa, with the help of the Delirium.
- And I Must Scream - While Hiruko was still Chitose Kurosu his masters broke all of his limbs. All he could do was scream.
- Anvilicious - Be Careful What You Wish For
- Ax Crazy - Mizuki Asahina and Hiruko say that dangerous sleepwalkers running into Ginseikan is a common occurrence.
- Be Careful What You Wish For - in spades.
- Bishōnen - Most of the male characters are beautiful.
- Bittersweet Ending - pretty much the best you can hope for if you've got a nightmare that you want Hiruko to help you with.
- Not to mention the ending of the entire series: while Azuka's nightmare/fantasy of making Chitose the next baku ends and he and Mizuki are reunited, Chitose is revealed to be nothing more than a figment of Azuka's imagination brought to life by his nightmare/fantasy and, once it ends, fades away. The worst part is that he finally got all the happiness he was missing while being abused, and once he realizes it he can do nothing but disappear.
- Body Horror - A woman has dreams about losing different body parts: Her arms, eyes, and an ear. She discovers that she had a painful breakup and she was forgetting the memory by losing the ear that heard her love say goodbye, the hand that parted with his, and the eyes that saw him leave. She leaves the hand behind in the dream that was a "good memory" so that she could start fresh. That was the hand that she had stabbed him with out of anger. She gets away with the crime because she couldn't remember stabbing him because she never regained that memory.
- Canon Fodder - The resolution is... confusing... to say the least. And even then, some things, such as Kairi and the Delirium, never even get an attempt at an explanation.
- Cloud Cuckooland - The Delirium. If you get locked in a room there, you live out your biggest fantasy until you either die or realize it's all a delusion.
- Cloud Cuckoolander - Kairi, The Delirium's owner.
- Crapsack World - If a Bittersweet Ending is the best you can hope for...
- Cruel Twist Ending - Some of the chapters could've been pleasant happy endings if not for this trope's sudden appearance.
- Cold-Blooded Torture - See And I Must Scream.
- Dead All Along - Several clients turn out to be dead. Also, the real Chitose.
- Diabolus ex Machina - The series loves making it seem as if a customer's story will end happily, then introducing a sudden out-of-nowhere twist or reveal that puts a much more sinister twist on things.
- Fanboy - A young man falls in love with a movie star that he has reoccurring dreams about committing suicide like she did in one of her movies.
- Flashback Nightmare - A common occurence among Hiruko's customers.
- Foe Yay - Tsukishiro and Azusa in the last volume. Might overlap with No Yay for some people.
- Gainax Ending - The series ends with this, with a touch of No Ending because really, the resolution isn't one. The last couple pages just make it worse.
- Green-Eyed Monster - Several of the customers, often in conjunction with Love Makes You Evil.
- Groundhog Day Loop - In one of the first chapters, this seems to be happening to a customer, who every night writes in her dream on a piece of paper "every day will be exactly the same" or rather, Hiruko writes it for her, as the end of the chapter hints- and indeed, it is.
- Humans Are Bastards - although a human customer does get a Bittersweet Ending or even a happy ending occasionally, they far more often have bad endings. The non-human customers typically have better endings.
- I Found You Like This - Kashina is introduced as the girl who helped Chitose survive during the time he was locked up and tortured. When she meets him again much later, she hugs him, and then kisses him shortly afterwards. Then it turns out she was imprisoned by the same people who tortured Chitose, and that she was only helping him because if he died, she'd be tortured next, making her arguably a deconstruction.
- Love Hurts - Happens with many of Hiruko's customers, sometimes involving the death of some person or another.
- Man In A Box - Azusa Asahina, Mizuki?s older brother and former Baku, is kept in Hiruko?s briefcase after being eaten by a nightmare instead of him doing the eating.
- Mandatory Twist Ending - To the point where when a chapter ends 'without' a twist of some sort, it's so surprising it practically counts as a twist in itself.
- Mind Screw
- Nightmare Fetishist ? The Baku fit the name of this trope almost literally.
- Nightmare Sequence - Most of them aren't too frightening, but given the premise of the series, it's only natural that they show up every chapter, besides a few exceptions.
- Psychological Horror
- Replacement Goldfish - It's implied at a few points in the series that Mizuki only sees Chitose, Hiruko the Baku's current vessel as a temporary replacement for her brother, Azusa, his predecessor.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog - Chitose, the current vessel of Hiruko the Baku, was encouraged by Hifumi and Mizuki to seek his own happiness, and he decides to actually try. Then he finds out that he was actually just a figment of Azusa's imagination, and is going to fade in about 2 hours.
- Stoic Spectacles - Kairi.
- The Killer in Me - Happens at least once with a customer trying to find out who killed someone, usually with amnesia involved in some way or another.
- Trapped in TV Land - Overlaps with Dream Land in several cases, including a woman who wishes to be with her dead husband in a sketch of his and gets her wish (with unexpected consequences, of course), a nightmare where Hiruko enters a manga, and possibly some other examples.
- Unreliable Narrator - Many of the clients are hiding something, or have memories altered due to trauma. In several cases, the client is actually dead (or not even human to begin with!) already and we don't know until the end of the chapter.
- What Measure Is a Non-Cute? - Averted. The carving of a rat symbolized a father's love, and the figurine is considered to be very cute.
- White-Haired Pretty Boy - Tsukishiro
- Who Wants to Live Forever? - Happened with the original Hiruko, who merged with Azusa as a way of "death", and later with Azusa himself.