Have you ever read anything that haunted you for a long while? Like, it stayed with you so long that it depressed you to the point of needing a Xanax? Uzumaki by Junji Ito is one of those things that made me feel that way.
Kurozu Cho is a normal Japanese town where nothing extraordinary happens. One day one of the local develops an obsession with spirals. Soon after, the entire town gets caught up in the spiral craze. Teenager Shuichi Saito claims that it is the town’s curse that is causing all of the spiral madness. His girlfriend, Kirie Goshima at first doesn’t believe him, but after a while it no longer becomes coincidence.
The horror used in this manga is called “psychological.” What that means is the reason it’s scary is because it messes around with your brain and emotions. The way this manga does that is by creating a curse that nobody knows anything about on top of some really freaky imagery. How freaky is it? Some examples are a man who curled himself up in a spiral inside a pot, a teenage boy turning into a giant snail and then there’s a naked woman who just had her newborn child surgically put back into the womb. Yeah, try to get that image out of your head.
some people may say this is nothing more than shock value on the part of Ito. In fact, this is a clever way to show how the curse is getting out of control and taking over the town.
Of course, the third act is where things go downhill. The town is destroyed by five (!) hurricanes, there’s no way out and every rescue effort succumbs to a disaster. Also, it’s here that the story goes from “what is the curse” to accepting and living with the curse. Not to mention that ending. Do you want to spend the next few days being absolutely depressed? Read the ending to Uzumaki. It will depress you to no end.
The artwork is above average. It has a lot of nice designs and techniques rarely seen in manga. Not to mention that when the creepy imagery comes, it will creep you out. Looking at them is like getting punched in the face by Mike Tyson. No matter how hard you want to forget about them, they will stay in your subconscious for the rest of your life.
If you want a horror manga with a lot of creepy imagery that will stay you, then Uzumaki is the one for you. Just remember the third act isn’t all that great and the ending will leave you depressed for days.