Dark Water

Genre: Horror
Length: 1 Volumes
Allegiance: Kadokawa Shoten
Mangaka: Koji Suzuki & Meimu
Vintage: 2004
Intelligence Agency Report by: Drake
Water is usually the source of life and purity; however, not in this case. In this case, water brings about a murder of a small child, scary creatures of the deep, and many other frightening events. This isn’t your normal water, this is Dark Water.

Research Agent Report by: Drake 
Overall 3.50
(not an average)
There must be some pattern forming between myself, Barnes and Noble, and Koji Suzuki. After seeing the title Dark Water in Barnes and Noble, I picked it up to see what it was all about. When I noted Koji Suzuki’s involvement in the manga as the original creator, I was immediately flooded with memories of Spiral, none of which were particularly cheerful. I spent about ten minutes debating with myself on whether or not to read this manga and figure out if Spiral was just a fluke. God, was I mistaken in my belief that Koji had turned a new leaf, especially considering the manga’s release date was slated to coincide with the American release of the film. 

If you thought Spiral had a confusing plot, well, be prepared to spend even more time pondering Dark Water’s plot, or, in this case, lack thereof. The manga opens up pretty nicely by following the plot of the movie Dark Water, but then seems to have been hit by a truck of nitrous oxide. It rushes through the rest of the story in a matter of a couple of pages, leaving the remaining hundred or so pages open for a series of short stories related to dark water, though no relevance to the movie can be found in them. The remaining three chapters have little, if any, shred of relevance whatsoever. Each of them show dark water, but never make the connection that it’s the water that is making weird things occur. You simply cannot release a flurry of different things related to a major theatrical release for the sake of making money and hope to succeed. It will always fail. Personally, I feel the manga could have succeeded had it had been split into four volumes. Plus, this would have brought in more revenue for the franchise. 

The artwork however, was a redeeming factor. The main artwork, while it wasn’t the best thing since sliced bread, still maintained a detailed setting, and gave a proper atmosphere for the four different stories. While there was detail to the setting, there was also a change of focus to characters from settings every few panels to give the effect of more suspense. Though in the end, the effort put into the art did not make a difference- the only stories that are at all memorable were the first one, “Dark Water”, and the fourth, “Forest Beneath the Waves”. 

Each character introduced in the manga had unique character traits. However, the development of the characters after chapter one was rather limited. This limitation made it pretty difficult to relate to the characters that were introduced, thus making the reader not care for their stories. 

This manga is not mind blowing or deep; it’s one of those quick reads for the bored who need something to fill the void in their lives. I suppose it’s a must have for fans of Koji’s work or fans of the Dark Water franchise, but from the normal reader’s perspective, its absolutely terrible.