Yuki is trying to live her life, but she’s unsettled by a young man on the train who seems to be filming her. Things get even worse when a creep uses an umbrella handle to push up her skirt. While many manga and anime will use groping and harassment in trains as a form of humor (something that tends not to translate well to foreign audiences, who find it offensive), Good-bye Geist shows this as upsetting and wrong. Yuki seeks out help from others, but finds there’s more to the guy filming her than she initially thought.
There are also cat murders in the book, and the manga opens with Ryo Hanada cautioning readers and assuring us this behavior is not condoned. This is an unnerving beginning for animal lovers, but thankfully it’s not as bad as the note makes it out to be. There are some suggestive scenes of animal violence—and, yes, they’re upsetting—but they’re kept to a minimum and no actual violence is shown. Mostly the killings are discussed by other people. Something similar happened years before with violence against animals, and it led to violence against people. Now the characters in the book are trying to figure out if there’s a connection and who is hurting all these cats.
So Good-bye Geist opens up in a very unusual way, introducing us to a world with a girl being harassed on a train and cats being killed by an unknown assailant. How are these things connected? This is definitely a very unusual manga, and one that doesn’t give away clear answers. It’s avant garde and curious; the kind of manga that makes the reader keep thinking about it afterward.
GEN publishes doujinshi, and some people might expect the manga to therefore be amateurish and not as skilled as professionally-done manga. But anyone picking up Good-bye Geist can see that Hanada is a talented artist, and the story is interesting. The story has an “indie” feel since it doesn’t fall easily into a category or feel like other manga out there. There are some romantic elements in it, but it’s not a romance. There are some horrible things that happen in it, but it’s not a horror book, either. It’s tempting to say, “I wish some parts were more clear,” because I won’t pretend I understood everything in it. However, the purposeful enigma of the piece also has its appeal and keeps the book fascinating.
Publisher: GEN Manga
Story & Art: Ryo Hanada