Which One Of Us Is The Killer – A Story Trope I Tend To Hate

Recently I’ve been reading this crazy messed up manga called dead tube which I was really enjoying until it introduced a story trope which I hate: Which one of us is the killer?

This story tends to take place on a place where everyone knows each other and nobody can escape. Often a ship in the ocean, a plane, a deserted island or a locked room/building. Then a lot of the people here tend to get murdered before people realize that the killer isn’t a guy in hiding, it’s someone that you know and is with the group. They then spend the whole time trying to work out each person it is.

Here’s the reason why I dislike it: it’s nearly always bullshit. I don’t have a problem with not really figuring out a mystery, what I want to see is that after the reveal there is enough evidence there that I could have reasonably figured out who it is.  That “oh yeah” feeling should be there and it’s almost always disappointing.

As well as that there tends to be so many people there that you can’t keep track of everyone and you just give up!

Maybe I should stop generalising and instead talk about why the one in dead tube really sucked, there are definitely tropes like these which have been done well and interestingly, and please tell me any that you can think of which are also good! I just want to explain why this one sucked now.

First of all there were so many characters that you know you can’t keep track of them so you just give up. As well as that every single character is seen with the killer (someone dressed as a racoon) at every single moment (it feels like) so you’re given the impression that it’s some random guy you’ve completely forgotten about or something that’s just bullshit, which it is.

It’s later revealed that one of the characters is an identical twin (extreme bullshit) and then as well as that you could have noticed, no in fact you should have noticed because one twin has a mole on his face and the other doesn’t! Yeah why didn’t you notice that? You should have noticed it!

Like that’s horrible, really terrible writing, and as well as that most of the other mysteries that were left in its wake went completely unanswered.

The thing is to do this well you must have great events, great characters that make you actually want to pay attention to them, not waste your time (in dead tube you knew nothing mattered because characters seen with the killer blamed other characters seen by the killer so it was massively pointless and boring) and have a reveal that either makes you feel smart for figuring it out or happy because you could have figured it out with the evidence there.

The things that dead tube used were really specific that it was hard to notice, and even if you did notice it was very possible to come to a different conclusion since the persons raccoon suit could have changed very easily or they could have picked up a different weapon. It’s so vague and specific that it’s really annoying and terrible to watch.

I hate constantly reading a story going “is it this guy?” and constantly looking at these tiny minute details. I don’t mind it all the time, when it’s done well for example, but thees kinds of arcs aren’t things I generally want to watch/read.

What do you think of this story trope? Also can you recommend any other shows/manga that do this story well?

10 thoughts on “Which One Of Us Is The Killer – A Story Trope I Tend To Hate

  1. I tend to dislike these stores if not done properly. I hate character’s dying before we can get to know them. Often it is done to show how much danger there is but if you write in a character just to kill them off it doesn’t feel as if the main characters are in danger.

    If the mystery isn’t handled properly it just feels forced and I’m likely not to care. There needs to be a reason to be invested in what is happening, we need to know the characters and the mystery has to be well written. If there is both then fine with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t mind this trope done well or poorly. I think because mystery is so formulaic, it just kind is something that happens and you more or less know what to look for and what to expect so maybe it is because it is low stress viewing. Certainly it isn’t executed very well lots of the time with weak or generic characters, too many red-herrings, a stupid twist for the sake of it, etc, but I still don’t mind watching along until the reveal most of the time.

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    1. I mean I have no idea what to look out for. Most of the time I’m just all over the place before getting annoyed by the reveal, it is not low stress for me at all!

      You’ve got to tell me this formula, please, I feel like I need it because these stories are pretty similar but I don’t know at all what to expect!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If you are super keen, just take a writing course on mystery writing at some point and they’ll go through the various formula and various for different kinds of mysteries. There really isn’t much variety and most stories stay pretty much to script in terms of when they drop in clues or red herrings.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I think this trope can be awesome if done right! I’m into mystery a lot and I love stories that involve a crime in the middle. But, as you pointed out, it has to be done right! I like these kinds of stories because I will try to understand who did it, so the story has to give me evidence enough for me to get to the murderer by myself.

    Something I hate in this kind of shows is when they push all the suspicions to one character and then it’s another one that doesn’t really make sense until it is explained. Normally, CSI and shows like that use this formula… A LOT!

    However, there is always good crime shows here in there. Dangaroopa is one of them for example. Since it comes from a game where your objective is to find the murderers, the Anime ends up giving you all the evidence you need to get to it. It’s not easy to find who did who, but it’s interesting enough and you CAN find who it was 😛

    Outside the Anime, I would say anything that comes from Agatha Christie is really solid and good mysterious/crime.

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Yeah I like the idea of working it out with the steps that follow if the evidence is there and it’s good interesting evidence.Yeah it sucks when they have to spend ages explaining it to make sense, it’s not satisfying, you really need to see the clues yourself honestly.

      Might add that show to the watch list, if you like Agatha Christie I recommend the Sherlock Holmes books as their mysteries are interesting and also give you the evidence you need allowing you to work it our for yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

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