Back at the end of June I was looking around for a new series to enjoy and I found this one! I dove into it and I got immediately addicted to the series. In the span of 3 days I finished the whole series. BOOM. It was just that good and I was too invested!
In the start of the series we see a teen named Shinpei travel back to his hometown to attend the funeral of his childhood friend (and well more if they had ever confessed, haha). She died in a drowning accident. He becomes suspicious when someone mentioned strange marks around Ushio’s neck. Then there is the ominous stuff surrounding his other childhood friend, and Ushio’s sister, Mio. Someone is following her. There is a mention of shadows. And that really kick-starts something very exciting. And gruesome. Because things go from dark to darker and darker just in that first volume and from there on each loop is more and more dangerous and we see Shinpei trying to figure things out, before he or anyone gets killed. In one of the time loops he gets to the ending, the bad one though, I won’t spoil what it is, but that traumatizing event makes all the next loops know that they need to avoid this bad ending and now they know what they are fighting against.
But don’t think that each information we get is enough! Oh no, we have 13 volumes and several time loops. Some are very short, some are way longer. It also doesn’t help that Shinpei is getting closer to the edge the sooner he dies.. and the bad guys also know about that making things even scarier. I loved how some time loops followed the same thing, but yet a bit different, while others are totally different strategies. It was quite interesting and I found myself rooting hard for our group of characters. A group of characters that is growing with each loop. At first they kept it to a close circle, but then they expanded, and I loved seeing more people be added. And the mystery was just fantastic. I loved each nugget that we got. Each little puzzle piece that I could throw on the table next to the others and see if I could make something out of it.
The idea of shadows that are able to copy and then also print a version is just super duper creepy. But add to that the whole fact that if you got copied and a shadow becomes you? Well, you are not necessary any more and it is bye bye in often NOPE ways. But. BUT, there is a way to get out of things and make sure that the shadow never can copy you and I loved that though holy heck, how many people will be able to do that? You need superhuman strength! Plus, as evidenced later on… there are shadows that are good. Which I loved. And that there are some loopholes with shadow stuff, which made me smile even more. Especially when that happened to a certain shadow.
We have a big baddie, Shide, a shadow with several arms and many fucked-up ways to kill you. Who Shide is is slowly revealed as the time loops get more complicated and information is found. I really loved finding out more about Shide, but also about the families in town, along with who Heine is and why she specifically picked Shiori. These two Heine/Shiori and Shide are both horrible villains, and no with that I mean they are horrible in what they will do to get what they want. To get to the end goal of it all.
Because yes, I will warn you… people will die in horrible and gruesome ways. Remember Higurashi? Well, say hello to Time Render, it gave me all those vibes. People will be shot in their eyes. Brains will fly. Someone will get hammer timed in the face. And there is more. So be prepared.
I loved the various good characters we have and learning about them. Like why Shinpei left the island, to Ushio, to Shinpei x Ushio having feelings for each other, to Mio who also has feelings for Shinpei and also on how she feels always being the shadow of Ushio, to Sou and Tokiko and their messed up family, to Nagumo and her secrets and her history. You really get to know these people and I loved seeing them grow. You are really rooting for this rag-tag bunch to save their island. Save the world.
I love the art in this one and how well it captures all the action, the mystery, and the scariness. I also love going through the town and the island and seeing the surroundings, the artist really captured that small town vibe.
The ending? I can tell you that there will be a happy one. I think that is not a spoiler and maybe that will help you with reading this one, knowing that they are fighting and they will get something happy out of it all. I won’t spoil what happens in the ending, you will just have to read it and find it out. But I LOVED it.
Oh, and I can imagine that there are peeps who may be turned off/away because S-Ushio is constantly in swimsuit, but well, the real Ushio got killed while drowning and that is the outfit S-Ushio last copied. She can wear clothes, we find that out later, but they impact her movements because it is not her original clothing. So for most of the time to get the most of out the time loops she wears her bathing suit.
The only thing I wasn’t a fan off was the last part of the manga. It is time for the big battle and LORD it took forever. It was a good battle, but I was just a bit bored while reading it and I just wanted to get to that freaking happy ending. Everyone needed one after all the events that happened so far!
Oh, and maybe the other thing I wasn’t a fan of every time is that Shinpei has to die to get a loop restarted. He had to commit suicide a few times and that just got a bit too close for me.
But in overall, if you are looking for an awesome, messy, scary, gruesome, gore-filled, shadows will kill us all, summer read I would highly recommend this one! And also the anime, it follows the manga quite closely and it has a great animation style.