Amnesia Labyrinth

My opinion on all of the volumes released so far

Today I’m going to be taking a look at the first two volumes of Amnesia Labyrinth. That’s everything that’s been released so far, in that so far there are only two volumes.

But I take it there are more released in Japan?

No, unusually for a Japanese Comic, the English translation of Amnesia Labyrinth is currently up to date with the Japanese book releases (though the serialised version is probably ahead). This fast tracking is probably because this is by the same author as The Melancholy of -

I’ll wager you mispronounce this.

Ahem, Amnesia Labyrinth is by the same author as the popular The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, and the rights to new works from previously popular authors tend to get snapped up quickly. Anyway, here’s the blurb:

From the author of the acclaimed Haruhi Suzumiya series comes a new offbeat tale of murder and twisted love!

When high school student Souji Kushiki, an academic achiever and talented athlete from a well-to-do family, returns home from boarding school, he finds that his sisters Harumi, Youko and Saki have changed. Their strangely clingy behavior borders on the inappropriate and bizarre, yet Souji just brushes off their odd behavior at first.

However, when Souji arrives at school the next day, he learns that, during the summer, one of the students in his class was pushed to death in front of a subway train. And what’s more, two other students were stabbed by an unknown culprit. Are the victims linked, and could Souji’s sisters have anything to do with the murders?

With the help of his cheery and spunky new girlfriend Yukako Sasai, straight-laced Souji is about to venture into a twisted world that might just be the end of everything he believes to be true.

Most intriguing. Could you explain what this is about?

This one’s a bit of a difficult one to pin down. It’s a psychological thriller with hints of mystery and horror. However there wouldn’t be much horror or mystery, or many thrills, if Amnesia Labyrinth let itself be pigeon-holed. So it doesn’t, making it a bit difficult to explain.

I have confidence that you can at least attempt it’s description.

OK, well it starts out as a murder mystery. Souji returns to his hometown after a long absence to find that there have recently been three unexplained murders there. Spurred on by Yukako, he starts trying to look into them.

Stories such as this are quite commonplace. What makes this different?

Initially their investigations get nowhere, but then the plot takes a twist when it is revealed that Souji and his entire family have multiple-personality disorder, and memory loss on top of that. This makes things extremely difficult for Souji: the murderer could be one of his family, or even himself. He now also has the difficult task of trying to keep Yukako away from the truth.

I notice that the recommended age for a reader of the series is rather high.

I should make it clear that these books have some very mature content. Just like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya there’s a lot of fan-service, but Amnesia Labyrinth goes way beyond this: there is a lot of implied and actual nudity and we often see Souji and his sisters in bed... with each other.

So far the books have stopped just short of showing an actual sex scene, but Amnesia Labyrinth isn’t afraid to hint at incest. This was almost certainly put into the story to try and shock the reader, and help create the feeling that something is very wrong with this family. Just be warned that there is lots of screwed up stuff in Amnesia Labyrinth.

Should I obtain a copy of these books?

I think it depends whether you like mysteries wrapped up or left open. Currently the second volume merely gives a few hints at who did it, and leaves most of what actually happens unexplained or up to the reader’s interpretation.

If you like things left that way, then go grab it as it’s a good read. But if you don’t like things left unknown then you might want to wait to see if the series continues before jumping in.