Random Manga Theatre 24: $100 Is Too Cheap

Hit the “Random” button and see what comes up! In this feature, we take a look at whatever manga the Random Number God decides to throw at us and find out if it’s worth your time.

This time: $100 Is Too Cheap, by Yamamoto Kazune

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$100 Is Too Cheap takes place in a vaguely Western-style setting, one where criminals run amok and bounty hunters roam the streets. The Sheriff’s Office and the Bounty Hunter’s Guild try to cull the numbers, but together they can’t do too much – as such, there are over two hundred bounty hunters roaming the streets of the town. At least, that’s the case according to our protagonist, Petey (a girl, despite the name). She’s one of these bounty hunters herself, and though she wants a steady job as a sheriff, she has a lot of competition with the rest of them.

There’s so much competition, in fact, that all the wanted posters put up by the sheriff are always gone in a flash. All of them except one, at any rate: a criminal named “Blue Cheese”, a thief, armed and dangerous. His bounty is at -$100. Yes, negative one hundred dollars – as such, not one bounty hunter has even tried to catch this guy. In such a competitive career where money and bounties are tight, who wants to catch a guy if they have to pay for it? It boggles the mind.

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So, Petey heads to the next town over to talk to a mystery solver and solve the mystery of the negative bounty. It’s short and sweet, with a clever answer that feels obvious in retrospect, as a good mystery should. As Sherlock famously said, “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”.

Verdict: Check it out
I actually read this oneshot once, many years ago, and it was always one of my favorites. I think there’s something to be said for short, self-contained stories like this one, with a simple driving mystery that is still fun to solve. I could kind of see it being a full series, with Petey coming to the mystery solver every week with a new puzzle to solve and a new bounty to track down, but I suppose it’s for the best that it remains a strong single chapter. Definitely check this one out if you have a couple spare minutes.

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