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Manga / Mail

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Mail is a 2004 horror manga written and illustrated by Housui Yamazaki, and centers around Reji Akiba, a private detective specializing in cases dealing with ghosts of various kinds. On top of solving the cases, Akiba also uses a special gun that fires hallowed bullets which seals the ghosts inside. These bullets are later sanctified at a shrine, allowing the spirits to pass on to the afterlife.

The manga was originally serialized in Shonen Ace, and has been translated into English by Dark Horse Comics.

A live-action movie adaptation starring Takamasa Suga has also been released.

This manga provides examples of:

  • All Just a Dream: "Cottage" revolves around a tourist cabin which is supposedly haunted by two ghosts killed in a landslide where their friend miraculously survived. The main character is actually the survivor, and is dreaming about the haunting while in a coma, because her two friends are the ghosts.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The main characters sister in "Picture", who was slowly being possessed by the spirit of a girl haunting a painting she bought. Her progress is detailed in her diary.
  • Buried Alive: The hide-and-seek ghost killed three of the previous tenants in the cursed apartment by dragging them inside the wall, wanting them to "play" with her.
  • Creepy Child: The various ghost children. There's also the title character from "The Baby" who's being possessed by the ghost of a stalker obsessed with the childs father.
  • Death of a Child: One of the early stories revolves around a child who died during the construction of an apartment building during Japan's boom era in the 80's. She was playing hide-and-seek on the construction site and was accidentally drowned in concrete while hiding in one of the crevices. The company didn't want to lose any money to delays, so they didn't bother sanctifying the place of her death, leading to her haunting the building.
  • Driven to Suicide: Anyone possessed by the ghost from "Picture" kills themselves violently because the ghost herself wants to die, but can't pass on as long as anyone remembers her. All that remains is the painting.
  • Ghostly Goals:
    • The headless ghost in "Wine Cellar" points people towards her killer, himself now also a ghost.
    • The school children ghosts from "Graduation" want to see off their classmate, the only survivor from a school fire, before moving on peacefully. It's one of the few stories that ends without Akiba needing to use his gun.
  • Haunted Technology: The GPS in the womans car in "Graduation" keeps leading her back to the site where her school once stood before it burned down.
  • Hellevator: The title location from "Elevator" is haunted by the ghost of a girl who lost her legs when the elevator malfunctioned but survived, only to die shortly after from undiagnosed cancer. Her ghost haunts the floor she died on and the elevator itself looking for her legs. Ironically, her legs originally appeared as a separate haunting inside the elevator, but Akiba exorcised the spirit before the girl died, which is why her ghost never found them.
  • I See Dead People: Akiba was born blind, but thanks to medical treatments as a child, he was given sight. However, it had the side effect of giving him the ability to see and interact with ghosts.
  • It Won't Turn Off: The ghost child in "The Drive" haunts the car where he was trapped by his mother until he died, and tries to kill the new owner by hijacking it on the freeway, preventing her from breaking or even turning off the engine.
  • Murder Into Malevolence: The ghost from "The Drive" is lashing out at the poor woman who happened to buy the car he died in.
  • Nightmare Face: A bit more low-key than normal, but most of the ghosts tend to have this. Justified in Katsumi's case, since she was horribly deformed when she was alive, which led to her suicide.
  • Off with His Head!: The evil ghost from "Wine Cellar" did this to immigrant women he kidnapped while he was alive, and stored their heads in wine vats with the idea that they'd age like wine. He tries to do so again as a ghost, but is defeated by Akiba before he can.
  • Spooky Photographs: "Ka-Tsu-Mi" revolves around a ghost that appears in photos taken in a certain location, and kills anyone in the photo with her. She can also appear in the mirrors of the same location, a girls bathroom, though it was originally a kimono factory in the 1930's when the ghost committed suicide there.
  • Undead Child: Many of the ghosts Akiba has confronted died as children, and he's stated several times that they tend to be violent because they died before they could grow up and thus don't have the maturity to move on or realize what they're doing is wrong.
  • Vengeful Ghost: Mosts of the ghosts are vengeful, and want to torment the living, justified or not.