Of Perverse Pleasures and Murder Mysteries

I remain quite baffled that, apparently, most of the stuff I enjoy is either out of print/stock or really difficult to come by. I went through this when I was looking for Angela Carter’s “The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman”, which, for mysterious reasons, was reprinted by Penguin (with an absolutely horrendous cover, if you ask me, but, oh, well) shortly after I wrote my blog post. Same happened with the gorgeously spooky manga that gave me nightmares – “The Dreaming” by Queenie Chan – which I’ve no longer been able to find in book stores (not even in specialised manga/anime/comics stores), but which is, quite thankfully, still in stock on Amazon UK.

[image via Tokyopop website]

More recently, it’s taken me a while to track down a convenient second-hand sale of one of my all-time favourite mangas, GOTH (story by Otsuichi, art by Kendi Oiwa). I’d first read it on-line a few years ago, when it hadn’t been published in English yet. The website where I found it at that time is no longer functioning, but I shall take the chances and share a link that does work: GOTH @ animeA. Unfortunately, their translation doesn’t seem to be all that great, but it’s better than not having access to the manga at all, I’d say. Preferable is, of course, Tokyop’s original translation, published for the first time in 2008, when I should have bought it and didn’t. 😦 Anyway, I own a copy now, but no thanks to the book stores that (as with “The Dreaming”) no longer carry it in stock.

GOTH is a bizarre, macabre, and often graphically violent manga, largely situated in the “murder mystery” genre and dealing (sometimes directly and at other times more subtly) with the psychology of the murderer. The manga is made after Otsuichi’s novel of the same title which I hope I’ll be able to read someday… *sigh* It can be quite a disturbing story at times, as both its main characters are dark and obsessive figures, whose psychologies, though explored, are never fully explained, and who exhibit a sort of sick fascination with the particulars of violent death. The male character, a young high-school student, is, I guess, best described as a “collector” of murders; he obsessively follows all news addressing violent acts that appear in the media, he collects all objects linked to gruesome murders (criminals’ notebooks, photos of mutilated bodies etc) and he dreams of witnessing such murders too. The main female character, his classmate and friend, Yoru, is a young lady continuously shifting from “perfect victim” to “emotionless killer”. She is just as obsessed with crimes and violence, but she’s less easy to grasp, personality-wise: sometimes, she seems to play right into the criminal’s trap, and at other time she seems capable of murder herself. The manga’s narrative is fascinating and oddly alluring, challenging the values and norms of society, the boundary between “good” and “bad”, “motivated” and “unmotivated”. The art is clean, nicely detailed and subtly erotic, adding an extra “bittersweet flavour” to the narrative.

I’m glad I purchased a copy, since I’m tired of missing my opportunity to buy things that I really want. I’ll say this to you: if you truly crave something, get it, and get it now!

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