THE COMIQ is a short manga series by Kazuki Takahashi, the creator of Yu-Gi-Oh!. It was originally serialised in 2018 for the Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine’s 50th anniversary, and was later collected into a single volume. When asked to write a series celebrating, Takahashi thought it made sense to write a series that revolved around writing manga, and came up with a mystery story, which is a genre he hadn’t really worked in before.
The story follows a new upcoming manga writer, Ryota Sakamaki, who has an unknown assistant drawing the backgrounds. It turns out that there’s some secret messages in the backgrounds that are related to a murder case from three years ago. It turns out that the person working on the backgrounds, Baba, was convicted for the murder, but Sakamaki thinks he’s innocent and sending clues to the world about what really happened.
Almost instantly I was drawn into the story from the interesting premise. At first you don’t really know what’s going on, but as the mystery presents itself it’s completely engrossing. Then the story keeps a quick pace as clues are revealed and secrets uncovered. It’s two hundred pages, so easy to read in one sitting, but even if it was longer there was a good chance I wasn’t going to put it down until I reached the end. Saying that, the actual reveal is a bit messy. It makes sense, but it’s not quite a satisfying conclusion to the mystery presented.
Even though it’s a murder mystery the tone is kept quite light, and Kazuki Takahashi’s art style is very easy to follow. It’s a perfect tribute to the long-running magazine. The characters are all distinct, and all look great. It’s simply a really fun manga, that’s a great time to read. The ending isn’t the greatest, but that doesn’t detract from the journey to get there.