If there is a small chance it could save your life, could you trust your life to a group of strangers fighting for their own lives?
Story/Art: Yoshiki Tonogai
Translation: Alexis Eckerman
What They Say
Judge, Jury, Executioner
Court is now in session for Hiro and the other sinners, who have been herded like cattle into an abandoned courthouse to pass judgment on one another’s crimes. Suspicions whirl after the first trial is held. Were the votes cast by the sinners born of deception or goodwill? As a clearer picture of the courthouse itself is revealed, new doubts arise. What’s to become of the one who has been sentenced to death?
Content:(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Hiro tries everything in his power to keep everyone alive. That is a tough thing to do considering the rules of the “game”, and all the different personalities facing death. But against all that, Hiro tries to convince everyone that when it comes time to vote to kill someone in the group that everyone should vote for themselves! Hiro thinks this will cause everyone to have one vote and thus the killers won’t be able to kill anyone if they keep to the rules they have laid down. Any way you look at it, Hiro’s plan is asking an awful lot from a group of strangers.
When the time comes, everyone votes and nothing happens. Does that mean Hiro was right? Or does it take some time before the person with the most votes to die? They have the vote every 12 hours, so maybe that means the person to die will be killed sometime during that 12 hour bracket.
Either way, the natives are restless. Not surprisingly, some of the captives have developed an instant level of hate for each other. Things only get worse when Hiro learns that the fidgety guy that didn’t want to vote (and threatened everyone’s life) actually voted for someone else and not himself. But everyone is still alive, so does that mean someone else voted for the fidgety guy and evened everything out? Actually, the building animosity only erupts when the person behind the Judge game reveals how many votes everyone received during the first vote. One of them received 3 votes against them!
Hiro is late to the game at this point. He wasn’t around the main group before the last vote when they split into two factions; one siding with Hiro’s idea of voting for themselves and the other faction deciding to vote for the fidgety guy. Because the fidgety guy threatened the life of the whole group by refusing to vote, a group of the others (yeah, the group with the law student) decided to vote to kill the fidgety guy so he couldn’t threaten the group in the future. Honestly, as messed up as it might be, I have to agree with them. In a group of people, if there is one loose cannon threatening the lives of everyone else, the the group needs to deal with that person. Usually, the easiest thing would be to kick that person out into the world (but the Walking Dead showed us that isn’t always the best idea either). Unfortunately, for the Judge group, they couldn’t just kick the fidgety guy out into the cold, they actually had to vote for his death to save the group.
This story continues to be a highly entertaining examination of human interaction when presented with life and death situations. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn the person behind Judge was a psychologist off his rocker.
I have to wonder if the author is a big fan of the movie se7en, with the similarities between killing people that have supposedly committed one of the seven deadly sins. Either way, Judge is a highly entertaining examination of humans under duress, even if it is pretty messed up. I really like how the story has developed with the main character trying to get everyone to work and act in harmony while human nature instead causes people to break off into smaller groups in hope that teamwork will help them survive longer than the other group. It is quite compelling to watch, especially if you ask yourself what you would do in that situation and which one of the Judge is acting the way you think you would in this situation.
Judge is an entertaining read that forces the reader to look inward and examine their own morals.
Content Grade: B
Art Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 17+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: November 26th, 2013