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Uzumaki Deluxe Edition – Hardcover Omnibus by Junji Ito (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

October 26, 2013 by  



uzumaki

If you love horror or creepy manga, Junji Ito’s “Uzumaki Deluxe Edition – Hardcover Omnibus” is highly recommended!

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Image courtesy of © 2010 Junji Ito. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: Uzumaki Deluxe Edition (うずまき)

STORY AND ART BY: Junji Ito (伊藤 潤二)

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shogakukan

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC

RATED: T for Older Teen

Available on October 15, 2013

Kurozu-cho, a small fog-bound town on the coast of Japan, is cursed. According to Shuichi Saito, the withdrawn boyfriend of teenager Kirie Goshima, their town is haunted not by a person or being but by a pattern: uzumaki, the spiral, the hypnotic secret shape of the world.

 

It manifests itself in everything from seashells and whirlpools in water to the spiral marks on people’s bodies, the insane obsessions of Shuichi’s father and the voice from the cochlea in our inner ear. As the madness spreads, the inhabitants of Kurozu-cho are pulled ever deeper into a whirlpool from which there is no return!

Mangaka Junji Ito is known for his horror manga series.

Best known for stories such as “Tomie” about an immortal girl who turns her admirers mad or “Gyo” about killer fish and spiders who develop legs and now want to turn humanity into monsters that they control, suffice to say, his stories are quite interesting because he leaves the reader feeling unsettled, because there is no closure, no happy endings and he’s not afraid of killing off major characters.

And it’s one of the reasons why his works are revered.  A rebellious mangaka who does things his way, his style and not following the usual traditional manga ways of telling a story.

While “Uzumaki”, a three volume manga series written back in 1998-1999 for “Big Comic Spirits” was released by Viz Media in 2001 and again in 2007 and now re-released as a deluxe omnibus edition in Oct. 2013.

The manga series also led to a live film adaptation in 2000 but a different ending as the film was completed before the final manga volume was completed.

“Uzumaki” (which translates to “spiral”) is a story that takes place in Kurozu-cho, a small town on the coast of Japan.  The story focuses on Kirie Goshima, a teenager attending Kurouzu High School and lives with her mom and dad and a young brother named Mitsuo.  Her father is a potter and she is dating Shuichi Saito, who just started attending another high school in the next town.

One day, she notices a whirlwind in town and while walking home from school, she sees Shuichi’s father looking at a snail in the wall and so focused on it.

She sees Shuichi at the station and tells him that she saw his father.  He tells her that he has been acting strange and has started collecting spirals and is obsessed by them.

Kirie notices that he has been depressed and he tells her that he wants to leave town with her and they both should leave because they will go crazy.  And that everytime he comes back home at the station, he feels dizzy.  Everything around Kurozu-cho looms over the area but most of all, the town is contaminated by spirals.

Meanwhile, Shuichi’s father goes to Kirie’s father to create a spiral ceramic.  As Kirie and Shuichi arrive to his house, he hears their parents arguing and Shuichi’s mother has thrown away her father’s spiral collection.  But then, Shuichi’s father begins to talk about how one can express a spiral through their own body and Kirie witnesses Shuichi’s father’s strange behavior as he tries to make his eyeball spiral and then his tongue, scaring her.

A few days later, Shuichi’s father is dead.  The word was that he fell down from the stairs and died but in truth, he died making himself a spiral inside a tub.  At the funeral, the smoke of Shuichi’s father’s cremation begins to shoot upward and the smoke has turned into a huge spiral.  Shuichi’s mother thinks that she saw her husband in the smoke and starts screaming.  She is taken to a hospital and everything spiral begins to haunt her.  So bad to the point that shave her head, clipped the skin off her fingers to avoid any spiral fingerprints and trying to rid all spirals from her body.  But a caterpillar (Shuichi’s father) has crawled inside his mother’s ear and tells him that there is a spiral inside her head and wanting to rid of all spirals, gets a scissor and rams it up her ear.

And slowly, weird situations begin affecting the town.  People with spirals on their backs, turning into snails.  People who live in a certain area, twisting and becoming spirals, people growing spirals in their forehead until they are consumed by it.

Something terrible is going wrong and it’s too late for Kirie and Shuichi to escape.  They must endure the wave of unusual, strange and horrific experience that will hit the town of Kurozu-cho.

Will they survive or will they be consumed by the spiral?

In 2013, horror fans and fans of Junji Ito’s horror works, have been treated with a Blu-ray/DVD release of the anime OVA “Gyo” and now with the re-release of “Uzumaki” via a hardcover, deluxe omnibus format.

And while most people who are familiar with the name “Uzumaki” as the family name of Naruto and the spiral symbol on the back of the Leaf ninja’s vests, “Uzumaki” was released before “Naruto” and for Junji Ito, he has been creating creepy works since 1987 with “Tomie” and the majority of his work have been adapted for film and television.

And one thing that Junji Ito is known for is not giving a story any closure and endings that are often best interpreted by the viewer/reader.

As for “Uzumaki”, the storyline revolves around a small foggy town in the coast of Japan that has been consumed by spirals and through the eyes of Kirie Goshima, the readers witness how this young woman, along with her boyfriend Shuichi, have discovered unusual occurrences in their city as people have been twisted or consumed by spirals.

Every chapter is about how certain people have met their demise by a spiral and how people have died horrific deaths.  And part of what keeps you glued to “Uzumaki” is seeing how people die but wondering if Kirie or Shuichi will survive the entire ordeal?

There are many crazy chapters and Junji Ito has come up with horrific ways for people to die.  One crazy example is a group of women who suddenly became pregnant and are admitted to the hospital.  At nights, the pregnant women become bloodsucking monsters and prey upon the sick in the hospital, for their blood in order to feed their baby.  Kirie has seen it, as one of her cousins is among the women pregnant.  But after giving birth to the babies, the doctor goes crazy and now wants to put the baby back into their mothers stomachs because the babies are telling him to do it.

Another crazy example features Kirie’s friend or rival who wants Shuichi.  Seeing as Kirie is competition, the rival then begins to exhibit a spiral on her forehead, while Kirie’s long hair turns into a spiral and both begin attacking each other.

Each chapter is creepy but yet in an entertaining way, you feel that your obliged to read the book until completion.  It’s that good!

But the artwork by Junji Ito is well-drawn but it’s when he gets creepy with the darkness under the eyes of an individual or those who have been possess by a spiral, he manages to capture the agony of these victims with horrifying efficacy.

Once again, I caution those who have never followed a Junji Ito work to know that he’s not a mangaka that creates happy ending stories, nor does he create manga caring for his main characters. Everyone is expendable.

And last, don’t expect any ending or conclusion…Ito doesn’t give closure to a story all that much.  He just continues to show how horrifying things can happen to a person and he doesn’t stray away from those types of stories.

Overall, if you love horror or creepy manga, Junji Ito’s “Uzumaki Deluxe Edition – Hardcover Omnibus” is highly recommended!

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