Hiroyuki is in love with his friend Hikari, but she's already confessed to his older brother Atsuya. Out of jealousy the teen attempts to interfere with the pair's upcoming date, leading to Atsuya being tragically killed in an accident. However, something much worse was waiting for Hiroyuki in the aftermath, and he soon wakes up in a strange place wearing an animal mask and handcuffs. Along with seven other strangers, Hiroyuki must survive the Judge game by voting for someone to be sacrificed. Based on majority rule, one will die each round until only four survive, and not everyone can be trusted...
Judge is a servicable high stakes games manga. There's nothing especially unique about it, but there's nothing overly egregious with it either. It's familiar and stereotypical, but there's nothing inherently wrong with that if you're in the mood for standard play or die fare. Starting with the story, if you read the author's other similar (but unrelated) title Doubt, you'll feel right at home here. A number of people get kidnapped, are locked in a strange building, and are forced to wear animal masks. They then slowly get whittled down and die until only a few remain, all while trying to figure out why this is happening to them. Fairly standard and uninteresting stuff, and I would have given the score an average 5 if it weren't for some cool and unexpected things that happen near the end. Is it worth slogging through 6 vols for that small payoff? That'll be for you to decide. Besides that, not much else to say. Decent art, and unmemorable, stereotypical characters (mostly, but for spoiler reason I'll say no more). But, a cool ending. While I wouldn't put this one at the top of your list, if you need a high stakes games fix, this might be worth it.
The whole high stakes games manga all seem the same (bunch of people who don't know each other wake up in a place they're not familiar with, there's a transvestite/man in a woman's body/aromantic person among the group) oh and who puts in the 7 deadly sins but then censors God's name (even though it wasn't used in a blasphemous way) and puts it in quotation marks? How would people like it if I made a story about The Will To Power but put Friedrich Nietzsche in quotation marks and censored his name? I wouldn't be surprised if that wasn't how it originally was in the manga but that the fan translators were atheists who wanted to shovel their views into it; it wouldn't be the first time I've seen the internet atheist types do that (I saw a fansub of the Phoenix Wright movie where truth was put in quotation marks although Phoenix hadn't said the word in the sort of way you would when a word would be in quotation marks and I saw a fansub of some 90's J Drama where the word good was put in quotation marks also even though the character wasn't speaking in the way one does when a word is in quotation marks; in both cases the fansubbers shovelled their moral and truth nihilist views into it).
This manga is so unoriginal. If you checked out movies like Saw or even Battle Royale you would know what I'm talking about. Characters have to figure out how to survive, or even wheter or not they win or lose, etc, etc. I would not recommend this at all. Even though I own a hard copy of it not knowing if it would be food or not.
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