By Hervé St.Louis
Dec 27, 2007 - 11:49
MPD-Psycho is the story of Yosuke Kobayashi, Kazuhiko Amamiya and Shinji Nishizono and their quest to live with each other in the same body and dominate the others. They were a detective that was arrested and sentenced to jail for professional negligence after a serial killer butchered their girlfriend. Years have passed and the detective has been recruited as a profiler. His quest is to find out the link with all the multiple serial killers that have committed horrendous crimes recently and to understand what he has in common with them.
This story is as disturbing as Silence of the Lambs and I strongly suggest not reading it just before going to bed as I did. The first volume of a thriller that has become a popular television series, MDP-Psycho digs into the strangeness of serial killers’ mind and explain them to the rest of us. The pace is full of undertones as opposed to action and shock value that such a story would have received in the West.
Just like the main characters, the way the Otsuka approaches the writing more like a psychologist studying the behaviour of his characters. Here, he sets them up and let them play against one another. Although the characterisation is strong, the plot is a good and easy to follow. When covering a killer, Otsuka introduces a crime scene, shows how the detectives understand the scene and finally show the culprit.
The means by which the serial killers dispose of their victims are unheard off and I dare say exotic. Really sick minds had to think of things like this. This is where MPD – Psycho earns its best marks. It forces readers to go in the depth of their minds and face dark situations that are uneasy and that most would rather brush over. The story, although, it shows some horrific scenes is not mostly a gruesome exposé. There’s just enough for the reader to understand the darkness in the souls of the murderers, without making it a gore festival.
Using a detective with multiple personalities is a great mean to make readers dive into a multilevel horror show with disturbing contents. The effect is mostly psychological and scarier than a gore festival. What causes fear is mostly the opportunity to ponder what hidden and sick secret lies in the mind of the people around us. This is what we are faced with in MPD – Psycho. The thought that this may all be linked to a bigger conspiracy, raises the level of fear ten times. Any of these murderers is dangerous and scary. That they may all have a plot and work together, is a scarier prospect.
My criticism is that little time was spent to show how good a profiler the detective was before the story skipped ahead in the future.
I like Shobon’s fine lines and art. However, this fine line carries over in the design of his male characters that look extremely effeminate. At first, I thought the main characters were a man. Most characters have distinctive features to differentiate them from one another. The composition is great and meshes well with the characters.