FICTION

Animus

illus. by Antoine Revoy. 224p. First Second. May 2018. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781626721838.
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Gr 7 Up—A number of young students have gone missing in Kyoto, Japan, and police investigators believe a copycat killer is imitating a man currently serving time for a string of child murders. Two kids, Hisao and Sayuri, learn that the truth is quite different. They connect with Toothless, a masked ghost who holds the key. A child himself, Toothless teaches them the secrets of the haunted playground where he resides, where each structure has a power and a purpose. When Hisao and Sayuri's friend goes missing, they want to use the frightening powers of the playground equipment to look for him. In exchange, they agree to solve the mystery of Toothless's murder so his spirit can finally be released from earth. This unnerving tale successfully turns a playground into a realm of horrors, where slides and swings are more than just playthings. The children's world is front and center; adults aren't very helpful, so it's up to the kids to put things right. The manga-style black-and-white artwork serves the narrative well, going from charming to frightening and keeping the chills coming until the very end.
VERDICT A wonderfully creepy graphic novel that's just right for fans of Hiroshi Takahashi and Misao Inagaki's The Ring or other scary manga.

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