‘Uzumaki: Spiral Into Horror’ Review

I’ve long been sceptical of horror manga. Nothing that I’ve read (thus far) has even scratched the surface of my psychological well-being. Not even Gantz, the most goriest manga I’ve read, has ever given me the creeps. So maybe it was finally time that I found one such manga that had me cowering in my blanket when it got dark. Abhorrent with some very dark undertones, I just couldn’t stop reading. I may have wanted to, but something was pulling me in. The spiral, perhaps?

Note: Some minor spoilers may be present from the images I have used.

Uzumaki: Spiral Into Horror is a horror manga brought to us by Junji Ito. The guy seems to have a knack for creating creepy stories (judging from what he’s published) and this is no exception. The basic premise is that in Kurozu-cho, a small coastal town in Japan, strange events start happening. What was once an ordinary town is now anything but. No one understands this more than Shuichi Saito, who is arguably one of the first to experience the strange phenomenon known as ‘the spiral’. He is joined by childhood friend Kirie Goshima and together they form the main cast.

Even the main character isn’t free of the spiral.

Let me say that this is not for the faint of heart. His drawings can be quite grotesque at times, and it has a sense of realism that was commonplace at the time of its publication. Junji Ito has created a very inventive piece of work that will terrify and may very well disturb you. I mean, if this doesn’t disturb you, then I think you may be a sadist or something.

Some scary sh*t right there.

On the theme of spirals, they are everywhere in this manga. The whole plot literally revolves around a spiral (I’m referencing the ending). Shuichi and Kirie have to survive in an increasingly desperate and maddening town that is going crazy. In one chapter pregnant women go on a murderous rampage, and in another chapter one of Kirie’s classmates gets turned into a human snail. The unsettling graphics only serve to increase your sense of disgust but, strangely, interest as well.

Despite each chapter being largely unrelated to each other (like an episodic anime), I found that Uzumaki manages to keep the pace going rather well where others have fallen. Each new chapter was fresh and interesting, bringing new ideas to the table. The sheer amount of things that Mr. Ito has been able to do with spirals surprises even me. It’s still relatively short (19 chapters plus one which makes 20) but I did not find them at all to be repetitive. The end few chapters do, however, tie the story together.

Lack of time does bring certain regressions in character development. Apart from the two main characters Shuichi and Kirie, there’s not a lot of room for others. In most chapters we’re introduced to a new character only to have them disappear (die) soon after. Not that I mind, since I feel that is what Junji Ito was going for when he made the manga. Don’t expect to feel much for the characters apart from sharing their despair. But hey — in a horror manga, what else do you need?

As I’ve mentioned already, the artwork in this manga conveys more realism than most. This is a good thing, since it serves only to make you feel even more disturbed. I can’t say much since I don’t know much about manga art terms, but I’ll say that I really enjoyed looking at the drawings that Junji Ito has created. I can’t really explain why though. Maybe it was the tone and detail.

I can’t help but admire Junji Ito’s drawings.

Well to sum this up, Uzumaki is straight up terrifying. Still, I understand why this is so highly rated. I recommend this for those looking for a more mature story than the average shounen adventure and to all manga fans that can stomach this type of novel. It’s surprisingly coherent too, so you will have almost nothing to complain about. Apart from the nightmares, that is.

Rating: ★★★★

Must-read for Horror Fans!

Death Parade is Inherently Flawed (Review)

「Death Parade」

The Spoiler-Free Review

When people die simultaneously (or at least close to that), they are sent to be judged by arbiters; non-humans who somehow have the ability to dictate whether the people in question will be sent to be reincarnated or, if they’re unlucky, sent to the illustriously cliche-named ‘void’. To decide this, arbiters invite their guests to play a game intended to bring out the innate darkness that is hidden within them. That is basically the crux of the whole plot. Interesting idea in theory, but not so much in application in the case of Death Parade.

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Tokyo Ghoul √A Review: Tragic For All The Wrong Reasons

From the very start of the series, Tokyo Ghoul lets us know straight away that it’s a ‘tragedy’. However, what it was really talking about wasn’t just the plot. Nope, what it is really referring to is the handling of the plot itself, to the dismay of almost every viewer. Such a shame too, since just like its predecessor, Tokyo Ghoul √A had a lot of promise…

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Summer Wars – Review

「Summer Wars」

The Spoiler-Free Review

So it’s a pretty hot summer season (at least, where I live), and there is one anime that I have seen that’s made a lasting impact on me. To date, few shows have touched me in an emotional way, and I’m proud to say that Summer Wars is one of them. Director Hosoda Mamoru (Wolf Children, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) has created another great film, this time defining what it means to truly be a family. It just happens that this family saves the world in the process.
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Beyond the Boundary – Review

「Beyond the Boundary」

the (mostly) spoiler-free review

“I’m truly glad I came to this town and met you, Senpai.”

Beyond the Boundary (境界の彼方 Kyōkai no Kanata) was one of the most hyped shows of 2013. I mean, a supernatural slice of life fantasy from KyoAni? That would be enough to get even skeptics interested. Kyoto Animation is a fan favourite when it comes to these types of stories. With Beyond the Boundary they tried to go beyond what they typically create by adding in an actual plot, action scenes and ethereal creatures. It sounds great, so did it live up to the hype? Continue reading

Log Horizon (Review)

「Log Horizon」

The Spoiler-Free Review

See this guy? Don’t be fooled. He’s actually just a support-class character.

“Just living in the database, wow~!

  • Title: Log Horizon
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Game, Magic, Shounen
  • Length: 25 episodes, 25 minutes each (TV Series)
  • Director: Ishihara Shinji
  • Studio: Satelight
  • Original Creator: Touno Mamare

Log Horizon seems to be yet another anime about people getting stuck in an online game. On the outside the premise is similar to other shows such as Sword Art Online. However, fundamentally, Log Horizon stands out from its competitors. Why? Because it’s not a series about just fighting monsters and clearing bosses. It has those elements, but also includes themes such as economics and even politics. And in the end, it’s all about the characters and their journey, not the destination. I never would have guessed that a show with all this turned out to be quite enjoyable!  Continue reading