Takatsuki’s Conjecture Volume 1 Is a Thrilling Mystery Meets Paranormal

Takatsuki's Conjecture Volume 1 cover of Akira Takatsuki with Naoya Fukamachi standing behind him.

Associate Professor Akira Takatsuki’s Conjecture Volume 1 delves into the haunting realm of . . . well, hauntings. Not only hauntings but Takatsuki and his team investigate the origins of folktales. Naoya Fukamachi is the newest member of that squad. Reminiscent of some beloved series in the genre, its supernatural and detective blend, plus characters hiding their past, keep Takatsuki’s Conjecture Volume 1 engaging. 

Written by Mikage Sawamura with art by Toji Aio, character design by Jiro Suzuki, translation by Katelyn Smith, and lettering by Arbash Mughal, the first chapter goes back in time. The Yen Press manga starts with Naoya Fukamachi’s strange childhood experience. While visiting his grandparents, he sneaks out in a mask to attend a festival. Despite being in the middle of the night, he runs into his grandfather in a mask, who tells him it’s too late to leave the festival. 

So Fukamachi must choose between three sweets, each with a cost. One causes the loss of speech, another the ability to walk, and the last is unknown as Fukamachi, now an adult, wakes up from his dream. Still, he wonders if he would still choose the third if he had a do-over. It’s apparent that, whatever the third option, has been a problem.

Takatsuki’s Conjecture Volume 1 Is Sherlock Meets Ghost Hunt

Fans of whodunits will like the clues throughout their research. It offers answers, even if some are in hindsight. Fukamachi’s associate professor for folklore, Takatsuki, exudes charm. He’s a happy-go-lucky type. But bethere are hidden depths beneath his smiling exterior. Plus, those smiles and his penchant to find joy in things others would scream and flee from make for hilarious exchanges. 

Takatsuki's Conjecture Volume 1 cover of Akira Takatsuki with Naoya Fukamachi standing behind him.
Takatsuki’s Conjecture Volume 1 cover. Yen Press.

As they research urban legends and head to the locations to ascertain the story’s validity, Ghost Hunt springs to mind—a phenomenal series. Even Fukamachi and Takatsuki’s work relationship is similar to that show. The investigative work and supernatural inclusion make Takatsuki’s Conjecture Volume 1 a promising start. 

Sympathetic Main Characters That Don’t Lean to Pity

While the story ensures readers care about Fukamachi’s predicament, it’s not a pity party. Although, there is more to his past than the first volume discloses. His ability to know when someone’s lying is both a blessing and a curse. Because Fukamachi might know someone is lying, but he doesn’t get the why, and the why matters. Without it, there’s room for unforeseen drama. 

Meanwhile, Takatsuki’s phobia of birds from something in his past teases answers in future volumes. Not to mention Takatsuki’s friend, Kenji, cautioning Fukamachi to beware of something happening if he remains close to Takatsuki. So, both carry secret burdens that they either cannot or will not share. The question is how far along will Takatsuki’s Conjecture go before their secrets see the light of day. 

Takatsuki’s Conjecture Volume 1 is for fans of mystery and the paranormal. There are laughs but little action. It’s more of a puzzle. The smaller mysteries are the pieces, clueing fans in to the main characters. Readers collect pieces and combine them, to see the larger picture. Avid readers of those genres will enjoy Takatsuki’s Conjecture Volume 1, which has creepiness, humor, and folklore. 

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