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on April 16, 2006 at 8:32:57 pm

The Zaregoto series



"Every mystery novel I ever read, the great detective was such an arrogant fuck you could replace 70% of his dialogue with 'Are you stupid?' and the conversation would still make sense."

Trapped on an island owned by a disinheireted heiress, surrounded by five bona fide geniuses, and mildly annoyed that someone has started cutting their heads off, the Zaregoto series' inhumanly alienated narrator decides he can't wait a week for the detective to get there and starts trying to solve the case himself. After all, it's not like he hasn't seen a dead body before. This shit is always happening to him. That's why he won't tell anyone his name...

Catcher in the Rye crossed with Agatha Christie but run through a healthy filter of the distinct kind of madness you need to be a fan of Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, the Zaregoto series is satisfying for people who like mysteries, people who hate mysteries, and people like me who don't much care one way or the other as long as the book is fucked up and has some jokes in it.

Zaregoto itself is an old word for nonsense, or a joke, and making the translation fit all instances of its use is something I'd have to actually translate the entire book to do, but the fourth story has furigana translating it as "Monkey Talk." Which might just work perfectly...

There's a strong hint of superhuman activity just below the surface of the series, but there's nothing like murder to make everything seem mundane. "Ii-chan," the series' vaguely frightening narrator, is eerily easy to relate to -- I think he's what I was afraid of becoming when I was a teenager. NisiOisin's fully capable of spending dozens of pages with two people sitting and analyzing the narrator's personality, which he makes as exciting as a roller coaster. The kind where mad pigeons attack you on the way out of the tunnel.

Without going into specific detail, the later volumes of the series shift the narrator from his carefully constructed zone of deliberate inactivity, and force him to actually do things. Which is itself a Zaregoto.



  1. Beheading Cycle: The Blue Savant and the Master of the Zaregoto/クビキリサイクル 蒼いサヴァンと戯言使い
  2. Strangulation Romanticist: Zerozaki Hiroshiki, Human Failure/クビシメロマンチスト 人間失格 零崎人識
  3. Hanging High School: The Zaregoto Master's Student/クビツリガクエン 戯言使いの弟子
  4. Psycho Logical: The Zaregoto Killer/サイコロギカル(上) 戯言殺し
  5. Psycho Logical: ???/サイコロギカル(下)???

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