Manga Review: Usotoki Rhetoric Vol. 1

Usotoki RhetoricTitle: Usotoki Rhetoric Vol. 1
Author: Ritsu Miyako
Publisher: One Peace Books
Language: English
Format: Digital
Pages: 198
Genre: Mystery, Romance
Publication Date: October 13, 2022

The Story

In Usotoki Rhetoric, a 16-year-old girl by the name of Kanako Urabe has a rather unique ability. She can hear when people are lying. Growing up, she was your typical innocent child who didn’t know any better and because of such, she made her ability known to others. This caused a ton of backlash to the point where they wanted her family to leave the town she grew up in. As a form of compensation, she decided to leave instead.

This brings us to our current setting, the town of Tsukumoya in the year 1926. With nowhere to go, Kanako was staying at a run-down shrine where she befriended a cat. A detective by the name of Soma Iwai, along with his best friend, Kaoru Hanasaki. Soma was volunteering to clean the shrine because the owner is also his landlord and he felt that by doing her a favor, she would reduce his rent! After discovering Kanako, he realizes that she needs a place to stay. This is when Kaoru suggests that Soma take her in since all other places are full up.

As they are discussing that, a young boy named Taro shows up and Kanako immediately knows he’s lying about something. He’s called out on it by Kanako and he ends up confessing. The next day, Taro goes missing and Kanako is worried that she was the cause of it. Soma heads to the shrine thinking that’s where he went. There, we discover what really happened but, most importantly, Kanako confesses to Soma about her ability. Rather than shun her, he decides to employ her so that he can bolster his chances of getting work.

With a new partnership formed, they look to make a name for themselves. The volume closes out with a 1-chapter case about a rich girl named Chiyo getting kidnapped for a ransom! I’ll let you read it to find out what happens!


While there are some supporting characters, the series focuses on two main characters: Kanako and Soma.

I’ll start with Soma because, let’s be honest, this guy is the star of the series. Soma is a detective and while he has the deduction skills and can pay attention to even the most minute of details, he’s not very successful. He’s constantly poor with no money to his name, he bums food from restaurants by running up tabs that he cannot possibly pay, and collects junk to sell to local shops for spare change just to get by.

Despite all of this, you would think that he would be the scum of the Earth that would try and swindle his way through life but he is actually a very honest and upstanding person who only wants to do whatever he can to help others. Kanako catches him lying from time to time; however, most of the time he does it to protect people out of necessity. Other times, he’s just being facetious. He has a pretty outgoing personality with a touch of snarkiness to him. All around, he’s an extremely fun character that I’d like to label as a responsible deadbeat if that makes any sense.

Kanako, on the other hand, is rather plain for a main character. She is haunted by the way people treated her while she was growing up and because as such, she has become afraid of showing her ability. She’s scared of rejection the most and only wants to live a normal life. Becoming the assistant to a detective isn’t really normal but when she finds acceptance and even gets praised for her ability, it becomes all that she could have ever asked for.

Personality-wise, she’s a bit on the cautious side for all of the reasons aforementioned but she seems to have her own set of morals. In a way, she kind of acts like the voice of reason for Soma… even if that voice is rather muddled and muted right now. I can see her developing into a bolder character but, right now, it’s a feeling-out process between the two of them. She’s just getting acclimated to this new life so she needs that time to let everything settle in before she can grow. There is potential there with this character but she just comes off like an average teen girl who just happens to have a special ability.

Kaoru is Soma’s childhood friend and is the true voice of reason. He’s always scolding and lecturing him for freeloading at local restaurants. There really isn’t much to the character yet but he does get a little bit of a spotlight here in the first volume as Soma helps figure out a situation involving him from a time when he ate some bad food and succumbed to food poisoning. That situation showed how strong the bond is between those two in an indirect way which was pretty nice.

In the final chapter, we meet Chiyo who stood out like a sore thumb. My God, I’d kill to have only half of her energy! She’s definitely not afraid to speak her mind and she is very quick to judge a person without getting to know them. She comes off like some high-class snob but that’s only on the surface. Instead, you realize that she’s just very impressionable both in what she takes in and what she gives out. I don’t think she even realizes that she’s being rude. It’s just something about the way she’s wired. She does have some redeeming qualities about her at the end of the book but naively immature would be the best way to describe her.

Final Thoughts

This was a pretty fun first volume. Got a sense of who Kanako was plus you get enough emotion to build that relationship with her. Once Soma enters the scene, it’s pretty clear that he’s going to steal the show and he does just that. He is the most interesting character in the series but that’s not a bad thing. It’s often a used technique to have a single character carry a series in the beginning which will allow the author to build up all of the other characters while you’re distracted.

While some of the characters I can see remaining where they are, I can also see potential in people like Kanako and Kaoru to play bigger roles. Other characters like Chiyo and her parents I see as one-off characters used for the purposes of whatever mystery is being solved at that given time. It’s possible that they will be brought back later but we will see.

The mystery aspect of the series is pretty shallow, though. It was quite easy to solve the cases… especially when you have Kanako flat out telling you who’s lying and who’s not. That does kind of hurt things BUT there was a portion of the first volume where Soma tested Kanako to figure out how her ability is triggered and we learned some pretty interesting things about it. I can see these being planted seeds for future story arcs where Kanako is going to have trouble with her ability which may even cause her to start doubting herself. Again, this plays into the potential of the character so I would really love to see something like that happen!

The only way to find out is to keep reading!

If you’re looking for a light mystery series with a bit of a light sci-fi element and some pretty good comedy, I would recommend picking this series up! This feels as if it’s going to be a good one!

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This item was provided for review by One Peace Books