This week we’re taking a look at the work of Junji Ito in the giant omnibus Uzumaki.
The book is an incredible story that, once started, you’ll have a difficult time putting it down. This is Japanese literature. If you’re not familiar with the right-to-left format of reading, the book will take a little getting used, but you get the hang of it quickly.
The story starts out with a young girl named Kirie who tells the tale of what happened during a certain period of time in her town of Kurouzu-cho. The first chapter sets the scene with the title The Spiral Obsession and gets right down to business by showing certain “spiral” events and the effects they have on the people of Kurouzu-cho. As the story progresses, the abnormal spiral events increase.
These events have very interesting effects on the townspeople. From spiralling ashes to spiralling hair, you never know where another spiral may show up. Before long, odd spirals are everywhere. Some people are able to deal with it with grace and compassion for others, but some go a little off their rockers as they try to cope with the circumstances at hand. As the story progresses, things go from bad to worse and it seems no one may be able to survive the catastrophic events unfolding.
It’s an eerie little tale that made me take notice of certain things around me in my daily life and even my own home. I began noticing different shapes and it would always draw me back to the book so I could see what happens next.
I really enjoy comics that make me think outside of the realm of my own experiences long after I’m done reading.
Some things might seem a little odd at times, but they are usually explained as it all unfolds.
By the end of the book, I was left with a few thoughts. Could this actually happen in real life, or is it just the awesome imagination of Ito at work? How would we in the Western world react to such a situation in our midst? Would we handle it any differently?
The story draws you in and makes you care for the characters as if they were real individuals, fighting for their very lives.
With Ito also doing the artwork, it is a very well thought out and inspiring piece of work. I haven’t been a big fan of foreign comics in the past, but this has changed my outlook quite a bit. It is an omnibus to remember and I highly recommend it, even though it may seem a little off the wall to some.
Ito has written more than 38 different stories, most of them in the horror genre with titles like Gyo, The Enigma of Amigara Fault, Tomie and the newly released Smashed.
Ito is Japan’s master of horror with works that combine mystery, the macabre and lots of sickening twists.
Uzumaki is undoubtedly the most recognized of Ito’s works and also the creepiest. It is recommended for mature readers.
Randy Wagner is assistant manager of High Octane Comics. For more, visit 250 Third Ave. or call 250-377-8444.