Another ninja comes back in, one less decidedly peaceful, but naughty in a fun way I suppose. I couldn't resist the manga section.
At any rate, Uzumaki
is easily one of the creepiest and most surreal manga titles I've ever had the pleasure of lobotomizing myself over. Its creator, Junji Ito
, depicts the small town that finds itself slowly swallowed by the horrors the innocent shape of the spiral can possess. Honestly, this stuff isn't for the faint of heart. There technically isn't that much gore, but Ito does have a knack for afflicting horrors on the human body, forcing them into alien shapes, stretching them beyond their limits.
First, the art pays attention to details and has a more realistic feel than most manga. By making its characters and its surroundings more real, it's easier to find the same sinister spirals our world outside of the manga. Uzumaki
is also definitely more plot driven than character driven, as the characters merely exist to help bring the stories and climax to fruition.
The plot itself begins incredibly strong, and works on an episodic level before reaching a climax that reveals the origin of the horrific events inspired by the spiral pattern. There's honestly a bit of a lag somewhere in the middle, where the stories are less jarring than their predecessors, but it gets back on track after a bit. Still, even its weaker stories are heads above the rest of similar titles in its genre.
In short, Uzumaki
has great art that is more grotesque than gore. More plot than character, more episodic than arc. It's definitely surreal, and seems to be aware of itself in the way. As serious as it can get sometimes, there are hints that the creator doesn't take the darn spiral THAT seriously. Here's an example:
I also wanted to have a link to one of the more serious images, but erm, they really can be disturbing, and this post might get deleted for it. (Yes, that how freaky the imagery can be.)
If you're interested in Ito's work, I'd recommend his more well known title, GYO
. It's been featured as Viz' editor's choice (and we know they tend to have good taste), and has an online glimpse provided by viz here
is decidedly more apocalyptic in flavor, more sinister, and somehow delivers the goods with a great old school flavor. Monsters coming in from the sea, hysterical girlfriend is of no use and eventually falls prey to monsters in some form, mad scientist who allows his curiosity to get the better of him, pretty assistant who is sucked into the madness, male protagonist who isn't being much of a hero and is just plain trying to survive.
And what are the monsters, you ask? Fish on insect legs. Seriously. And I mean, ALL KINDS of sea creatures. One harrowing scene featured a white shark on legs INSIDE A HOUSE. I had a hard time sleeping after GYO
If that's your cup of tea, one should seriously go for it. I wouldn't recommend it for everyone's bedtime reading though. Reading titles by Junji Ito leaves a decidedly twisted knot in the stomach for hours.