Monday Manga Review: School Judgement Vol. 1, Gakkyu Hotei

school-judgement-vol-1-gakkyu-hoteiAt Tenbin Elementary, there is only one way to settle a dispute – in a court of law! All quarrels bypass the teachers and are settled by some of the best lawyers in the country… who also happen to be elementary school students.

The accused this time is a boy named Tento. His crime? The murder of a beloved member of the classroom! Luckily for him, the state has sent him a defense attorney – Abaku Inugami. But is this wild young lawyer skilled enough to ronpa his client off the hook?

Kids acting like lawyers? The concept might sound bizarre, but the manga works for so many reasons and I found myself wanting more immediately when I finished this first volume. Thankfully there’s a few more already released for me to dive into.

Written by Nobuaki Emoki, School Judgement: Gakkyu Hotei takes mock-trial to a whole new level with what feels like real stakes, but what could be a serious tone has enough weird thrown in (baby judges!) to get you to smile and laugh. Emoki has put together what feels like a real world with a set of rules and a system of how to deal with everything that feels fleshed out and has had some real thought put into it.

The dealing with witnesses and gathering of evidence feels like it’s out of Sherlock Holmes, but the excitement amps up every time as scenes, like witnesses on the stand, feel like a battle is being waged. The manga has visuals worthy of any “battle” comic out there, except in this case it’s a battle with evidence and through words.

That excitement and battle sense is due to artist Takeshi Obata‘s work which just looks amazing. There’s an energy and excitement about the entire comic and the panels that I found myself really enjoying the series. And the infusion of style by Obata had me actually contemplating cosplaying as Abaku Inugami by the time I got to the end of the first volume.

And thankfully there’s more to come! More ronpa, more mystery, more manga please! No excuse me while I figure out how to get my hair right…

Story: Nobuaki Emoki Art: Takeshi Obata
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy

Viz Media provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review