Sukedachi 09 Volume 1 – Manga Review
Reviewed by: Linny
Synopsis: Due to dropping birth rates and population numbers, Japan decides to take stricter measures to prevent crime and discourage brutal murders. A special task called Sukedachi 09, consisting of members called “Assistors”, is set up to execute murderers by reenacting the exact same method in which the victim was killed. The Assistors are all victims of brutal crimes themselves, specifically selected based on that, their skills for carrying out the executions and their affinity for bonding with the murder victims and their bereaved family.
Review (Warning: Spoilers to Follow):
Sukedachi 09 is not for the faint hearted or tender souls. While it isn’t needlessly gory, there are some graphic scenes and descriptions in the story that might upset a more sensitive reader. For example, the story literally starts with a scene where someone is burned aliveand there are several instances of people being murdered in brutal ways, and a couple of sexual assault cases. Sukedachi 09’s should be an appealing story for anyone who enjoys reading about vengeance and comeuppance as it tells the story of a special unit of avengers that seek retribution for murder victims by executing their murderers in the same manner that the murder was created. Now, there itself is where the first ‘hiccup’ happens. That description is a little broad as of course it would be close to impossible to replicate the exact manner in which the original murder happened. So the execution methods in some cases may feel like they’re not exactly adhering to the rule.
The story also needs you to suspend your sense of disbelief and logic, which should be obvious given the very premise of the story and its bizarre new method of execution. First off, the Assistors all seem to possess inhuman super skills. For example our lead character, Yuuji Yamagishi, cannot feel any sensation or pain in his limbs while his colleague, Yuki Nakatani is blind but is able to correctly judge and sense things through other means like soundwaves and scent. This should be an easier pill to swallow though compared to how convulated the executions can get sometimes. It’s obviously done to raise the suspense levels but often the Assistors seem to go through extra unnecessary steps just to add a flair of drama. This might make some readers feel like the story becomes a little artificial with such forced drama during the executions but the story moves fast so any such resentment will most likely be recovered from just as quickly.
Sukedachi 09 also features a female reporter named Haruka Yanase who seems determined to show that this new method of execution and the establishment of Sukedachi 09 has some major flaws. She keeps working on and talking about how she wants to show the murderers and their families’ point of view about this harsh and sadistic execution method but seems to be getting nowhere. It’s hard to determine with confidence if her character was created so as to actually provide a more well rounded presentation and exploration of this controversial execution method. If it was, the story does a terrible job of making her points convincing, or making the readers muse over her words. In fact, I am more convinced that she was just given this personality point/belief to be a sort of a red herring as the ending of Volume 1 makes it seem like she herself might end up changing her mind, and rooting for the Sukedachi 09 but it’s hard to say this is a certainty until one has read more or all of the series.
Not surprisingly so far, the plot has most of the Assistors’ pasts and in some cases, personalities shrouded in mystery and quirkiness. Even our lead, Yuuji, is shown to almost have a split personality of sorts…a timid, goofy everyday one he shows and maintains to his childhood friend, yet a brutal and efficient assassination agent when it comes to work. The first volume is loosely focused on showing his journey to becoming a ‘true and proper’ Assistor who fully understands that his role is to carry out the execution in complete accordance with the law and not get carried away by personal emotions or beliefs. The first volume also introduces two new recruits for the team, Kouta Kiyodera and Ryoko Koizumi, with Ryoko having almost two chapters exploring her past directly or indirectly and revealing why she has been chosen to become an Assistor.
Sukedachi 09 is a bit of a cathartic read as you watch some of the most unremorseful and depraved murderers get their comeuppance. But besides that, it also packs in some nice twists and developments, not only in the execution showdowns but regarding the pasts and the lives of its characters. There’s a tense vibe running throughout the volume as you wonder exactly how the executions will carry out, and even some moral commentary through the family members of the bereaved, and sometimes even the murderers themselves. Ultimately though, it’s all about the satisfaction of seeing victims get avenged through some all out brawls between the murderers and the Assistors. Sukedachi 09 is a completed series, with all 6 volumes up on Crunchyroll’s manga library. Each volume roughly has about 5 chapters, with each chapter being about 40-50 pages long so not too long a read, but not too short either. The art is efficient and gets the gore across without making your stomach turn. If you’ve always enjoyed tales of revenge, and are fine with a bit of gore and sadistic content, then look no further than this series.
Sukedachi 09 is available digitally via Crunchyroll.com.