Review by Ian Keogh
A bunch of teenagers have been abducted and placed in a derelict building with a lot of locked doors, in circumstances resembling a game ap they all follow, Rabbit Doubt. In that game players have rabbit identities, but one of them is a wolf disguised as a rabbit tasked with killing all the rest. The rabbits win if they discover the wolf. At the end of Doubt 1 a couple of the real life equivalents believed they’d deduced who the wolf among them was, and what their motive is.
Yoshiki Tonogai’s set up over the first volume was excellent, introducing all sorts of conditions to complicate matters. With the cast now considerably thinned, however, Doubt moves into the more traditional horror territory of the protracted chase followed by the villain of the piece monologuing the explanations. To give Tonagi his due, it’s one hell of a chase over two sequences, but once the truth is known Doubt rather peters out. Tonagi hasn’t really spent enough time making us care about the cast, and therefore their fates and pasts revealed here aren’t moving enough. Doubt has lived by the plot and it falters by the plot. Once all the answers appear to have been revealed, Tonagi has a couple of surprises left to spring, but the problem with the first of them is it won’t be much of a surprise to anyone who’s maintained a suspicious mind from the start and who’s read a few whodunnits in their time. The reasoning behind it has a greater logic than what we’ve been fed, but it’s not the shock it ought to be. The motivation for the entire story is lies told, and one from the earliest pages haunts the true ending.
Tonogai’s art is technically good throughout, but the limitations set by the location for his story and the narrower cast mean that there’s less opportunity for variety. His release comes via the splash pages beginning each chapter, which include some great designs, all featuring the head from a rabbit costume. By the time the final chapter was published in Japan Tonagi’s scarred rabbit head had become iconic, and it’s worth speculating if this influenced the end of his story. It’s not quite the neat ending it could have been. On the other hand, the final few pages are excellent, and they wouldn’t have been possible with a tidy ending. They don’t compensate for so much ordinary content over the preceding four hundred pages, but they’re wonderfully perverse, and a fitting finale to what was begun in Doubt 1.