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Nagasawa Takashi was an Ordinary High School Student, passing his days studying and trying to attract the attention of his classmate Shirai Kyouko, until he was attacked by a strangely deformed rat. He returns to school only to hear about a strange serial killer on the loose, who attacks only at night and beheads his victims.
One night after school, he is attacked by a madman and briefly loses control of himself, killing the other man with his bare hands. Shortly after that, the doctor studying his case, who has been tracking him, tells him he has contracted an entirely new disease known as Nightshift, called this because it is active only between sunset and sunrise. Nightshift somehow affects its host's DNA before killing them; the dead hosts then rise as ravenous zombies.
Now Nagasawa is the only thing standing between the infected and the living. His disease cannot be cured, only slowed. His body is changing slowly into that of a monster. When he fights, he loses control of his mind.
And the zombies appear to be learning how to hide.
An ongoing horror manga by Shinsyu Ueda, Dawn Tsumetai Te ("Dawn Chilly Hands") is run-of-the-mill enough at first glance; but its focus on the psychological struggle Nagasawa undergoes as he fights the Nightshift, strong characterization, and the subtle sense of malice and insidiousness throughout the story makes it well worth a read.
Can be found here.
- Blessed with Suck: Nagasawa is capable of fighting off the Nightshift zombies. Unfortunately, should he stop taking his meds, he becomes one of them. And in the meantime he’s got all sorts of freaky Body Horror going on.
- Badass Normal: Sagami Kou, who’s evidently just a really good kickboxer. Though he’s got to wear long sleeves and gloves to avoid infection.
- Being Good Sucks: For Nagasawa.
- Body Horror: Nightshift is changing Nagasawa's body. He is definitely not okay with it.
- Body Motifs: Hands. Doc steeples his constantly; the Nightshift turns Nagasawa’s cold and clawed; Kyouko’s are always warm…
- Additionally, hands and arms are usually the focus of the chapter covers.
- Brown Eyes: Nagasawa, which fits.
- Clasp Your Hands If You Deceive: Doc, repeatedly.
- Curtains Match the Window: Nagasawa, who on the covers is alternately drawn with brown hair and eyes or red hair and eyes.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Kyouko is a mild version, particularly in early chapters.
- Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Nagasawa, PTSD-flavor.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The creepy epidemiologist doctor who’s basically Nagasawa’s handler is known only by the title “Doc.”
- Face Revealing Turn
- Gendo Pose: Doc does a variation of it, often.
- Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: When in school, at home, or even fighting Nightshift, Nagasawa’s eyes are perfectly normal. But once he gets into a bad fight they narrow considerably, as well as turning white.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Nagasawa and Shirai
- Hunter of His Own Kind: Which Nagasawa is fully aware of.
- I Lied: The Doctor with how he was keeping tabs on Nagasawa, but other than that he has been surprisingly honest.
- Jerkass: Doc, full stop.
- Last-Name Basis: Nobody uses Nagasawa’s first name.
- Law Enforcement, Inc.: Whoever Doc and, by extension, Nagasawa are working for.
- Limited Wardrobe: Nagasawa has never been seen in anything other than his school uniform.
- Lovecraftian Superpower: The Nightshift parasite is hungry. And nocturnal. And mutates its host.
- Mad Doctor: Doc definitely channels this vibe. It creeps people out.
- Manipulative Bastard: The Doctor breathes this trope. He shamelessly guilts Nagasawa into the whole “zombie hunter” thing.
- Meaningful Name: In-series; the Nightshift parasite is called that because it’s nocturnal.
- Not Using the Zed Word: Averted; Kyouko uses “zombies” to describe the effects of the Nightshift.
- And Doc, at one point early in the story, compares it to a zombie and to vampirism.
- Ordinary High School Student: Nagasawa in the beginning .
- Our Zombies Are Different: They're a virus animating a dead body, also they are not very infectious.
- Protectorate: What Nagasawa sees himself as. One of the few things keeping him sane at this point.
- Samaritan Syndrome: What Nagasawa develops as a result of fighting to protect Kyouko: he eventually starts feeling responsible for any deaths that happen at night, whether or not there’s evidence that they were committed by Nightshift-infected.
- Scary Shiny Glasses: Doc, repeatedly.
- School Uniforms Are the New Black
- Secret Keeper: Shirai
- Secret Identity: Averted; Nagasawa doesn’t have one. He doesn’t even change out of his school uniform for fights.
- Shipper on Deck: Araya, for Nagasawa and Kyouko, as evidenced here.
- Later with support from Emi.
- Spider Sense: Nagasawa can sense other Nightshift hosts when they are close by.
- Take Over the World: What the Nightshift parasites are biologically geared for, by way of optimum infection.
- The Corruption: Nightshift.
- The Masquerade: What Doc and his lackeys are keeping up by having Nagasawa eliminate Nightshift infectees and then cleaning up the bodies.
- Thousand-Yard Stare: Nagasawa, often. People notice.
- The Virus: Nightshift, of the “take over your body and slowly eat it from the inside out” variety.
- Too Happy to Live: Kouno's family
- Viral Transformation: Nightshift
- What Have I Become?: Nagasawa again
- Zombie Apocalypse: What Nagasawa and Doc (maybe) are trying to prevent.