Frankenstein is a story that most people are familiar with. Whether you’ve read Shelley’s original or no, you’re probably aware of the general thrust of the story thanks to films modern and classic. You know: creation, exclusion, and that it’s his Dad’s name, not the monster’s. So what can be brought to another adaption of the work?
Tomie: Complete Deluxe Edition by Junji Ito.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars.
If someone hadn’t read any manga before, and you really wanted to fuck with them, you’d probably show them some Junji Ito. I mean if you wanted to warp them irreparably you’d throw them a bit of Suehiro Maruo – that’s a Wikipedia link, but I’d be leery of actually Googling the dude if you were at work – but if you just wanted to weird them out, it’d be Ito all the way. Because this is pretty much the initial reaction to his work:
If there’s anything the manga-reading public can agree on, it’s that Junji Ito is one fucked-up dude. He’s a writer of horror manga, and is probably most famous for Uzumaki, a spiral-obsessed mind-fuck of popped eyeballs and extreme scoliosis. (I reviewed its three volumes here, here and here, if you’re still unsure about his oddity.)
His work is normally known for extreme violence and inventive ick and squick, so when I found out he’d written a series about cats – yep, cats – I figured I had to give it a go. (more…)
This, the final volume of Junji Ito’s coiling narrative, is perhaps the most consistent, storywise. It’s just a shame it’s also the least satisfying.
The previous two collections shocked, either from the gore or the nerve-jangling weirdness. This one shocks to a certain extent, but it also rides over into silliness territory. That whole whirlwind gang thread? The bullying children? Oh, come on. (more…)
The second volume of Ito’s spiral-obsessed work is wilder, less controlled than the first. It’s not as tightly wound or slow-burning as the first collection, relying instead on gross-outs and increasingly frenetic artwork to communicate the smalltown weirdness within.
There’s an overall story – that Kurôzu-cho is in the thrall of a spiral-natured curse – but it’s really only loosely addressed in this collection of relatively unrelated tales. We see what’s going on mostly from the viewpoint of the already-seen-some-shit Kirie, (more…)
I’d heard about Ito’s manga a long time before I saw any of it. But from what I’d read – once you bypass the “hey, Japan is crazy weird, right?” stuff, I knew it was for me. Finally reading has confirmed this: Uzumaki is a small-town world of strange fixations, a la Twin Peaks, except it’s the spirals that aren’t what they seem, not the owls. (more…)