Friday, April 9, 2010

Review | Manga | Uzumaki

UZUMAKI : High school student Kirie lives in the small town of Kurozu-cho, which has become strange lately. Kirie's boyfriend, Shuichi, notices that the strange occurrences throughout town have all centered around spirals. At first, the spirals appear in little ways, such as manifesting in the form of seashells, plants and small whirlpools in the water. But when they begin to show themselves in much more disturbing ways, from the unhealthy spiral obsession of Shuichi's father to growing spiral marks on the bodies of the citizens, Shuichi and Kirie begin to suspect there is much more at work in the town - and it may be too late to escape it.

You can list me in the book of avid horror fanatics any day of the week, so further investigating of the story of Uzumaki and its all-around high ratings made me jump right on it. I have to say, it's been a while since I've had the privilege to read such a perfectly disturbing and haunting story.

Several months later, I discovered that a good friend of mine had picked up the story as well, and unless you plop down your collection of yaoi manga in front of him, he's not an easy man to disturb. Now that Uzumaki has entered his life, however, all you need is a spiral if you want him curled upon the ground in terror.

A horrible mystery, a small's how most horror tales begin. Kirie Goshima's childhood friend Shuichi has been acting strangely, and insists to Kirie that spirals are overtaking the town. Of course, Shuichi is met with the usual, "How can that be possible?" response of disbelief, but Kirie's eye slowly begin to open to Shuichi's suspicions, as she herself begins to notice strange happenings all revolving - quite literally - around spirals. Our first prime example is Mr. Saito, Shuichi's father, who has developed an unhealthy obsession with spirals. He will do anything, even steal, in order to collect every spiral possible to add to his ever-growing collection; he will even use his chopsticks to create whirlpools in his soup.

So, imagine his reaction when the missus throws his precious collection in the trash! At first, you can't think of anything else that you could possibly turn the page to other than a violent crime scene. However, he eventually calms himself for the most parts, and expresses to his terrified wife and son that material spirals are not needed to enjoy the uzumaki to its fullest, because after all, you can make your own.

And he certainly does, when his eyeballs begin to rotate in entirely different directions. Sounds like you've got a spiral problem in your town, Mr. Shuichi.

Creator Junji Ito has got a great plot going for him here - he's about to send a menacing army of spirals to swallow an entire town. He does just that, and his readers watch helplessly as the inhabitants of Kurozu-cho are slowly devoured by the unexplainable events that happen around town: The beam of an abandoned lighthouse suddenly activates, the straightest of hair suddenly becomes extremely curly...and why ever does Kirie's classmate have a large spiral growing on his back?

Unless your child is Chucky, this is probably not the book for story time. Your friendly neighborhood spirals are not above spilling some guts to get themselves in the spotlight, and they do enough of it. I know college students that could read nothing past chapter 3.

If you're a horror fan looking to find a run for your brain's money, look no further than Uzumaki. You'll swear that ceiling fan is watching you, you won't want to touch that curling iron for some time...and as if you didn't hate mosquitoes enough before, that summer camping trip may be as good as canceled.

Overall Rating:
/ 5