manga

Goodreads review: Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu

Junji Ito's Cat Diary: Yon & MuJunji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu by Junji Ito
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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…)

Goodreads review: My Lovely Ghost KANA, Volume 3

My Lovely Ghost KANA, Volume 3.My Lovely Ghost KANA, Volume 3 by Yutaka Tanaka
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This review is brief, as there’s not really all that much I can add to my previous two reviews of this manga. This, the third volume, brings to a close the supernatural romance’s run, and leaves us with little more knowledge than when we began.

The problem with My Lovely Ghost KANA is that there’s not much of an overarching story. Guy meets ghostgirl, they drink beer and shag, and the background of neither is explained very well. (more…)

Goodreads review: Mr. Arashi’s Amazing Freak Show

Mr. Arashi's Amazing Freak ShowMr. Arashi’s Amazing Freak Show by Suehiro Maruo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you know what ero-guro is, you know what you’re getting into with Suehiro Maruo’s work. He’s one of the most well-known artists working in this area – the nexus of violence and beauty (or eroticism) – and it’s pretty much a given that if you can’t handle splatter films you shouldn’t really be looking here.

No, I’m serious. I’ve seen some pretty terrible horror films, and the art on display here is fairly heinous, even by those standards. It’s fetishistic and violent, and it takes cute puppy-like things (and actual puppies, at one point) and then stomps all over them. The only thing that causes one to persevere is the incredible artistry on display. (more…)

Goodreads review: Uzumaki (volume 2)

Uzumaki (volume 2).Uzumaki (volume 2) by Junji Ito
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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…)

Goodreads review: Uzumaki (volume 1)

Uzumaki (volume 1).Uzumaki (volume 1) by Junji Ito
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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…)