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Manga / Soil

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There's no such thing as 'normal people'!
Sarg. Yokoi

Soil is a mystery-horror manga by Kaneko Atsushi, which was serialized in Comic Beam from 2003 to 2010.

Something strange is going on in "Soil New Town." The sudden disappearance of a seemingly normal family leads the two detectives Yokoi and Onoda to the idyllic town in the middle of nowhere. What looks like a routine case at first quickly turns into a complex and deadly riddle where nothing is what it seems to be. Will the two disparate investigators manage to solve the mystery before it's too late?

Tropes found in Soil:

  • Abandoned Hospital: Used by Kento and the rapists, it's the only place where the Council president's cameras can't see.
  • Adults Are Useless
  • Another Dimension: Implied to be where the Suzushiros and probably Sakura & Sakuraba are really from (unless this is a computer world a la the Matrix...).
  • Axe-Crazy: A mysterious man who appeared in Sayuri's family's secure storage vault, was fine for a few months, then killed everyone. The only thing he'd say was that "he doesn't belong in this world".
  • Bedlam Prison: The secret, forgotten prison where the man who slaughtered Sayuri's village is kept, along with other criminally insane people. The head (only?) guard has declared himself Yama, King of Hell, and abuses the prisoners.
  • Comedic Sociopathy / What the Hell, Hero?: Yokoi is straight-up abusive to Onoda possibly because he sees a bit of himself in someone so determined to solve a mystery that "shouldn't be solved" and calls a rape case "stupid".
  • Cowboy Cop: Yokoi was on the MPD Yakuza taskforce before delving too deeply into a strange mystery which got him demoted.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Sayuri, the resident homeless woman.
  • Critical Psychoanalysis Failure / Social Services Does Not Exist / There Are No Therapists: There is a school counselor who is actually quite good, but keeping a violent, insane man implied to be her son behind an electric fence in her basement kind of undermines her authority.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen / Room Full of Crazy: The Blindfolded man's cell: all he has is his own feces, but he's used to draw a map of Soil... a brand-new city that didn't exist when he was there and could see.
  • Cut-and-Paste Note: Kento sends a fake ransom note using the Mizuki's notebook in order to shake up the town. For added realism he includes his own ripped-out toenail.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Onoda.
  • Depraved Dentist: The Town Council President rapes his young patients while they're under laughing gas; he has hidden cameras all over town; when one of the parents suspects him he tortures her while fixing a cavity.
  • Determinator: Onoda Yokoi in the past, and his disappearing partner, who wants to get to the bottom of the mystery no matter what.
  • Dope Slap: Yokoi to Onoda, all the time and really hard.
  • Driven to Suicide: One of Yokoi's academy classmates eats his gun after Yokoi's missing partner appears and accuses them of forgetting him, then he (classmate) falls into a vortex and sees a man who was missing for over a decade, still trapped in an outhouse.
  • Fair Cop: Det. Onoda isn't, although we never see her with her glasses off.
  • Freudian Excuse: The trio of rapists were also victims of the Council President and they returned to Soil New Town to commit their crimes for unconscious revenge.
  • Gonk: Det. Onoda is kind of gonky while an actual gonk spies on the school counselor.
  • Homage / Shout-Out: Those freaking spirals.
  • House Wife: You'll see a lot of them since it's set in a Stepford Suburbia.
  • Kids Are Cruel: One of the masked boys is identified by the burn where his hair was set on fire in the past.
  • Kill It with Fire: Kento tried to burn down Sayuri's shrine because he couldn't stand looking at her cats during mating season. Fortunately it doesn't work but he feels really ashamed afterward.
  • Mama Bear: Do not mess with Kento's mother.
  • Mask Power: Tokita the archeologist is always wearing clay masks. Later on a gang of masked boys create "foreign objects" as part of Kento and Misa's plot to destabilize reality.
  • The Men in Black: Sakura and Sakurada of the Metropolitan Police Department, who seem to know exactly what's going on.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: A lot of the strange happenings have a reasonable (if disturbing) explanation — until they don't, and it's implied they never will.
  • Messy Hair: Onoda can't do anything about her hair.
  • Meaningful Name: Soil is soiled, plus there's all the Jomon artefacts in the soil.
  • Mind Screw
  • Neat Freak: The Town Council President wants to keep Soil New Town pure. Especially its boys.
  • Ominous Multiple Screens / Sinister Surveillance: In the Council President's secret room, where he keeps an eye on everyone in Soil. Afterwards the room is Kento and Misa's "headquarters", though it's not clear if the cameras still work.
  • One Head Taller: Sakura, who towers over everyone else. Her partner Sakurada is the [[Foil size of a toddler.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: The blindfolded man can apparently see using a kind of astral projection. He finally kills Sayuri, although it's more like they died at the same time and her soul went out to greet him. The "White Ghost" who is the vengeful spirit of Youhei Kosaka's girlfriend is a more standard one.
  • Portal Network: What those freaking spirals are, but they're very unstable.
  • Pure Is Not Good: The Town Council President is obsessed with maintaining Soil New Town's purity against "foreign organisms".
  • Rape As Back Story / Rape as Drama: Practically every boy in Soil, plus the three delinquents' out-of-town victims.
  • Stepford Smilers: Pretty much everyone but especially the missing Suzushiro parents, who not only ignore their neighbors' harassment but also their daughter's "memory problems".
  • Stepford Suburbia / Uncanny Village: Soil New Town.
  • Terrible Trio: The three older delinquents. They're also victims of the Council President.
  • Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: It's strongly implied that the mystery of the Suzushiro's disappearance should be left alone for everyone's safety/sanity just like Yokoi's case of the disappearance of the Yakuza boss' organs years before caused his eventual demotion and his partner's disapperances.
  • Those Two Guys and their reluctant teacher: Tomiyama and Seki, two junior high school boys who love the paranormal, who are reluctantly joined by Tokita.
  • Trash of the Titans: Det. Onoda's apartment is filthy.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Poor, poor Kento. He's raped by his dentist while under anesthesia, which causes him to feel ashamed whenever he thinks about sex, causing him to cut himself every time he masturbates. Then his dentist "hooks up" with him in high school and as proof of his "love" gives him a tape of the original rape. He can't stand watching cats in heat so he burns down the CrazyCatLady's shrine and feels terrible guilt when he realises that she was in there at the time. He finally (finally!) has a consensual sexual encounter with a nice girl and she disappears from between his legs. No wonder he's finally had it with this stupid world, which he's planning on destroying to get to his missing friend's.
    • Yokoi's obsession with the missing Yakuza boss' organs lead to his demotion and his wife leaving him; then again he might not have been a very pleasant person to begin with.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Kento and the other boys, all victims of the Council President. Misa, the lone girl in their group is sort-of a victim by proxy, as her rapists were also victims of the CP.
  • World of Chaos: What Kento and his group want to cause, which will destabilize reality.
  • Yakuza: Yokoi's last case as a MPD detective started with the disappearance of a Yakuza boss' organs without any cuts to his body and just spiraled out of control.
  • You Are What You Hate: The Council President hates filth and "foreign organisms" but admits to Kento that he's a foreign organism himself.