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Book Review: Vol. 1 & 2 of “Manner of Death” manga (2023) by Yukari Umemoto and Sammon.
Book Review: Vol. 1 & 2 of "Manner of Death" manga (2023) by Yukari Umemoto and Sammon.

Book Review: Vol. 1 & 2 of “Manner of Death” manga (2023) by Yukari Umemoto and Sammon.

“When highly experienced medical examiner Dr. Bunnakit is asked to investigate the death of a woman who supposedly died by hanging, he discovers that the evidence suggests foul play. That same evening, an unknown intruder invades his home and pressures him to declare the death a suicide. After confiding in his friend, a prosecutor, the friend mysteriously disappears. Dr. Bunnakit becomes suspicious of a man named Tan, but Tan has a strong alibi and even offers to assist in finding the true killer…” (Yen Press)

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“Sammon’s “Manner of Death” has achieved success in its home country of Thailand, originally as a novel and later adapted into a television series with the same title. However, due to the limited availability of Thai media and literature outside of Thailand, the adaptations into Japanese and English provide a valuable opportunity for a wider audience to experience these stories. It is important to note that some context may be lost in translation and through different mediums. Nevertheless, with “Manner of Death,” Yukari Umemoto offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of murder, mystery, love, and sex in Thailand.”

The reason for the success of “Manner of Death” lies in its well-balanced combination of different elements. The manga offers the desired level of eroticism typically found in yaoi titles, but it does not solely focus on this aspect, making it appealing to those who may not be accustomed to or comfortable with explicit content. Additionally, the relationships portrayed, the suspenseful plot, and the courtship between Bun and Tan are all depicted thoughtfully, lending a sense of believability to the story. This allows readers to approach the book from various perspectives. While the yaoi label accurately serves as a warning for mature content, the book excels in every genre it delves into.

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Can the success of the manga be confirmed? Not necessarily, as there are some aspects that present more challenges. One of these is a slight cultural disconnection due to unfamiliarity. The more familiar one is with Thai culture, the less this gap will be apparent, but there is a certain element that is difficult to grasp, resulting in a slightly different tone than expected. Additionally, the later chapters lack the same level of suspense and urgency as the first two-thirds of the series, with too much focus on tying up loose ends that the reader may have forgotten amidst the more captivating plot twists. While these realizations do not ruin the manga, they do prevent it from reaching greatness.

Yukari Umemoto’s talent in depicting erotic content is evident in “Manner of Death”, particularly when delving into the dynamic between Bun and Tan. While the rest of the content is satisfactory and not particularly outstanding, it still suits the overall theme. What stands out more is the well-crafted dialogue and effective use of paneling and pacing, allowing readers to easily become engrossed in the story. The physical release makes the series easily accessible, with all volumes included in two omnibus releases.

Upon first glance, it may be assumed that “Manner of Death” is simply an erotic BL title catering to a specific audience. However, while this may hold some truth for those uninterested in any content remotely related to the genre, Yukari Umemoto has created a gripping murder mystery that goes beyond just serving as a backdrop for romance and sex. Nevertheless, those seeking solely for the risqué and passionate scenes will not be disappointed, as they are woven into a well-crafted narrative.