on 30 August 2014
Usually, and as opposed to horror movies, I am quite cynical of the power of comics to truly terrify the reader. Though there are good and bad works in every medium, I never really have found myself really creeped out when reading something of this genre. I have certainly found good stories with a creepy atmosphere, but nothing truly memorable. So when I purchased Junji Ito’s Uzumaki I didn’t really expect anything in particular, and certainly nothing memorable. Oh, how wrong I was. I had heard of the brilliance of this comic and Junji Ito, but I had never hoped to get to read something this good.
Whilst I didn’t find Uzumaki truly horrifying (though I rarely do, probably a side effect of having read too much of this genre), it was definitely a lot better than what I expected. It is creepy from start to finish, and not only that, is practically impossible to put down. It features a town that, rather than being haunted by a ghost as would typically be the case, is haunted by a pattern; mainly, that of spirals. It is bizarre, and though it has numerous characters it really follows Kirie Goshima and her boyfriend as they confront the many things caused by this haunting. From characters becoming obsessed with spirals to metamorphosis, ‘Uzumaki’ contains a lot of different stories featuring many different events. What is more impressive ist he way the theme of spirals makes its appearance in every chapter. Ito manages to pull through the idea of a pattern haunting a town amazingly well, and it manages to become incredibly creepy and understandable very fast. Spirals seem to be everywhere and affecting everything, and the characters are quite quick to catch on.
Though there is quite a wide cast of characters, most don’t seem to last more than a chapter (or one of the interrelated stories). Sadly, there isn’t much of a character development for the protagonists, and though they are well developed not much about them changes as the story progresses. They succeed in being interesting and empathisable – it is very hard to not root for them – and I found myself quickly invested in them as they had to confront the events happening in the town. There is a lot of death too, and it fits perfectly with the story and outright eerie feeling in all the comic.
The art itself, though not the best, is still good and portrays well the plot of the story. The art always seemed to excel in the most horrifying parts of the story, which also happened to be my favourite. Here, it was detailed and with the right level of gruesomeness, however the same thing can’t be said about the art in all of the comic. The black and white benefitted the story greatly, and did a great job at setting up the subdued mood of the story. It made the town and characters feel oppressed, prime to obsession and the supernatural. The art, in its own way, is certainly beautiful. It can’t be really compared to the art in other similar mangas, such as in Hideout, but still is a great addition to the story. The detail in the most gruesome parts is amazing and memorable, and adds a lot to the story itself. All in all, it isn’t really astonishing, but there is nothing bad about it either.
For this review I purchased the Deluxe edition of the comic (containing the tree published volumes in a single one), and it is absolutely beautiful. Whilst I normally don’t refer to the appearance of the thing in a review (and instead comment on the story and other elements), the hardback cover features spot gloss on the title and a blurb in the back cover. The colour endpapers and coloured manga pages are astounding. Everything about the volume seems gorgeous, and combined with the story elements of Uzumaki, I am really happy with having purchased this manga.
Uzumaki is, in conclusion, a brilliant piece, and absolutely memorable. It was both creepy and interesting, so much that even after I finished I found myself remembering the events in the manga for quite a long time. Though the art isn’t the best out there, this doesn’t harm the story in any way, which –perfectly executed – succeeding in being a brilliant example of the genre. Both an original and fascinating horror manga, Uzumaki deserves the highest rating. It is ‘awesometacular’ in all levels, and will not disappoint the reader. It probably one of the best horror stories I have been able to read.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 16 October 2003
Incredable Horror, thats this book in a nutshell. Incredable because its takes the most unique idea for horror I ever heard, Spirals. (Uzimaki translated is Spiral) These Three Books follows the downward spiral of a town that is beening consumed by the Spirals. What makes it so scary is that you always keep a candle lit hoping that they will survive. Itos insanevision still sends shivers down my spine, everything from The Rice Tub, To the hospital that returns babies to the womb, to the becoming a spiral itself. The Book is very dark and disturbing, but it is more than worth a look.
It will have you looking to your bowl of noodles a whole different way.
on 6 November 2013
Not as good as the first two but still a great story.
It's set in the same town as the first two books and the same girl is the main star, however this is one long story, whereas the first two was different stories to do with spirals.
This one is set out more like an epic finale of what those stories have been adding up to.
The ending isn't the best, but I was happy with it.
on 16 December 2013
If you are on the third book, you already know the deal about Uzumaki. The third instalment is the weakest link in my opinion, but if you are a fan of the first two, make sure to pick this up. I personally would have preferred a different ending, but honestly, there wasn't any other way to finish this :( Anyways, this is a great piece of work, and highly recommend to pick all the series up!