Zaregoto Book 1: The Kubikiri Cycle

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Zaregoto Book 1: The Kubikiri Cycle is is the first title in the Zaregoto Series and also one of the first books published by Nisio Isin.
Let's find out what this nonsense is all about.

This volume introduces us to the narrator of the story, Ii. His full name has never been revealed, so people just call him "Ii-kun or Ii-chan". He gets invited to spend a few days on an isolated island in Japan, alongside other people who wear the fancy label of "genius".

Ii-chan claims to be a normal guy, not possessing any genius, downplaying all his abilities and being a dishonest guy. He will rarely tell people, including the reader, what he really thinks. Since he seemingly doesn't possess any genius himself, the only reason why he ended up on this island was because he accompanied his friend, Kunagisa Tomo, who has due to recessive genes an unusual appearance consisting blue eyes and blue hair. Tomo happens to be one of the worlds best engineers, specifically in the IT branch, so she's the one who got invited to the Island and dragged Ii-chan with him. Because she's a full-time hikikomori, a little bit socially awkward, a diagnosed savant and for one other specific reason, Ii-chan tags along as something like a caretaker and friend of hers. Even though Ii-chan just wants a quiet life.

The first third of the novel mainly focuses on character establishment and dialogues between Ii-chan and other characters. I'm sure many people will complain mostly about that part, even though I find parts like this inevitable for mystery stories. Granted it's up to the author to make it interesting. And it is to some extent, since the people Ii-chan interacts with are all eccentric, so called geniuses.
The geniuses invited to the island consist of a painter, a fortune teller, a chef, a scholar, and Tomo.
The other residents of the Island are the owner, Lady Iria, the daughter of a super rich family, who apparently got cast out for an unknown reason and her four maids. Why Iria lives in exile is another mystery, and she's as eccentric as her guests, who she apparently invites for her own pleasure.
Besides Ii-chan, the maids and Iria, there's another "normal" person who is the caretaker of the painter.

Now the strange part. The first murder happens and the circumstances seem to implicate that no one could have done it, not to mention that it was a locked room mystery. That itself isn't too strange, what really stands out is the way Lady Iria handles the situation. They all come to the conclusion to do nothing and stay put until the so called genius of all geniuses appears. This person gets described by Iria as the most formidable human being who will solve this case in a matter of seconds. However, it will take a few days for that person to arrive. And Lady Iria seems to be unnaturally  happy about the upcoming arrival of this hero of hers. She doesn't really want this case to be solved before that hero arrives, as some sort of a present for her hero. So she tells everyone that the police shouldn't be involved. Remember, this is a isolated island.

The only person without alibi is the scholar, but they can't be certain. Ii decides that it would be the best to lock her in her room until they know more, for everyone's safety. He feels responsible for her current situation and decides it would be the best to end this as quickly as possible by gathering some clues, with the help of Tomo.
I should mention that the fortune teller, who claims to see everything and being able to read minds, is still on the Island and spends most of her time "on screen" by cryptically harassing Ii-chan.
This ends up being a large portion of the story, as she almost manages to break Ii's cool. The reader doesn't really know what she's talking about, and she is not the only person who talks to him as if he's humanity's worst. This irritates the reader as much as it irritates Ii-chan, however, while he never mentions why people say that to him, it becomes clearer in the other books later in the series.

Thus, one of the climaxes of the story is when Ii-chan finds himself in a life threatening situations, which forces him to show some genuine and honest human emotions, unlike he's done so far. However, he follows up with more of his nonsense.
The actual hero of the day, the master detective, eventually arrives at the end of the book. In the epilogue. Telling Ii-chan that he basically didn't solve or achieve anything.

2 Replies so far - Add your comment

  1. Bokusama-chan.
    Oh, I just love Kunagisa XD

  2. Where did you manage to read this?Was it somewhere online or did you have to purchase the series because I'm having difficulty finding this series.