Uzumaki: Spiral into Horror, (3 in 1)うずまき

Uzumaki: Spiral into Horror, (3 in 1)うずまき

by Junji Ito

  • Series: Uzumaki
  • Language: Japanese
  • Category: Sequential Art
  • Rating: 4.38
  • Pages: 632
  • Publish Date: March 1st 2000 by 小学館
  • Isbn10: 4091858163
  • Isbn13: 9784091858160

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This was gory and grotesque and very disturbing and at the same time the story is amazing and I could hardly put it down. I mean this really is a horror story, but man, it's so good at the same time.

Manga maker Junji Ito conjures up an epic phantasmagoria that obsessively plumbs the most modest of shapes, a spiral, for all the perversity and horror to be found within its endless contours. Set in a small town, the first segment of chapters presents various ways in which a spiral can configure into madness, mutation and murder.

I was less than impressed (and incredibly confused) and chalked it halfway up to not having read the beginning of the story (my mistake) and halfway up to this manga just not being my cup of tea. I decided recently that I wanted to give it another try by reading the entire story, since I know this is a very popular horror manga, so I managed to get my hands on a copy of the deluxe edition version, which has all of the volumes in one hardback. There is so much gross imagery (like people slowly turning into massive snails), and while gore doesn't bother me, this is just beyond my comfort level of "ick factor".

It'd be tough to be terribly spoilery because any description I give you won't make much sense if you don't read the book. Oh look, the internet has made us a gif of what that last one looks like before it gets deadly: So yeah, with 300 pages of spirally craziness? I get scared by like a single well-crafted measure of ominous music, or a single sparsely spooky paragraph of text, or even a shadowy dark split-second shot in a movieand yet this book, replete with face-eating spirals, vampire babies, and jack-in-the-box zombies, left me... Also in fact so much of the "scary" stuff here is actually gross-out, like people turning into giant slimy snails, or a baby being surgically reinserted into its mom, or two people twisting together so tightly that their bodies become enmeshed. Like b-grade horror, which even I know isn't the same kind of scary as when there's a girl alone in a dark house who hears a whisper-soft tap tap tap at the window. And a lot of the time what it felt like was a whole lot of repetitive vignettes where the same characters go through similar but slightly different horrors, while everyone in the town dies in a different horrible (spiral-related) ways.

His eyes were spinning around and aroundseparately." Among storytellers of whatever stripe, conventional wisdom dictates that there are two genres which you have to work the hardest at to perfect: comedy and horror (the kind that evokes dread, not the one that assaults you with cheap jump-scares). This is not what happened while I, as in a trance, was thumbing through Junji Itos epic Uzumaki, in all likelihood the most genuinely disturbing, iconographically nightmarish piece of sequential art I have thus far come across (believe it or not, the pictures shown here are relatively tame compared to the fevered phantasmogaria this manga is brimming with). To be sure, it has a distinct whiff of the Lovecraftian to it, especially as a hinting at a deeper horror - on the cosmic scale - is never far away. Some suspension of disbelief is required of course ( it's highly doubtful the villagers would have stuck around that long, if they hadn't committed mass-suicide under the direction of some Japanese Jim Jones first), but in this genre, that just comes with the territory.

Y es que el pueblo está contaminado por las espirales, como no deja de decir Suichi.

It all starts with a man who becomes obsessed with spirals - he collects kimonos with spiral patterns, he looks endlessly at snails, he commissions a spiral bowl from the potter in town. But as time goes by, his obsession grows so much that his wife throws out his spiral collection, and he decides he can turn his body into spirals: he spins his eyes around, he rolls his tongue into a chameleon-like spiral and, eventually, dies after breaking his whole body to fit himself into a spiral shape.

Can Kirie Goshima and the rest of the town survive the Spiral curse that is Uzumaki?

His longest work, the three-volume Uzumaki, is about a town's obsession with spirals: people become variously fascinated with, terrified of, and consumed by the countless occurrences of the spiral in nature. Before Uzumaki, Ito was best known for Tomie, a comic series about a beautiful, teasing and eternally youthful high school girl who inspires her stricken admirers to murder each other in fits of jealous rage.