Comics / Manga

Junji Ito: Uzumaki Volume 1


By Leroy Douresseaux
Oct 15, 2007 - 11:50

uzumaki01.jpg
Thanks to barnesandnoble.com for the image.
Uzumaki, Vol. 1 (Second Edition) is a return to bookstore shelves of one of the truly great horror comics ever published… period.  There’s a short bio of Uzumaki creator Junji Ito at the back of the book that mentions H.P. Lovecraft as one of Ito’s influences, and anyone familiar with Lovecraft’s work will find Uzumaki steeped in the madness and grotesqueries of Lovecraft.

Kirie Goshima is a quiet, reserved teen girl.  Such a reserved student is Kirie that she makes an astute observer of the peculiar events that strike her hometown, Kurôzu-cho.  When her boyfriend, Shuichi Saito, tells her that their town is haunted not by a person or creature, but by a pattern, the spiral (uzumaki), she quietly has her doubts.  Eventually, even she cannot deny how the spiral pattern manifests itself all over town – in seashells, in the clouds above, and even in the whirlwinds (or dust devils) that plague the streets.

After Shuichi’s parents die impossibly bizarre deaths and have even stranger funerals, Kirie watches as her friend becomes more withdrawn.  When Kirie’s father becomes obsessed with the spiral in his pottery making, she must admit that the madness is spreading and the curse of the spiral is pulling Kurôzu-cho into a whirlpool from where there is no return.

THE LOWDOWN:  It would be easy to label this simply as “manga,” but Ito’s work goes beyond borders.  This is visual storytelling that transcends language and national origins.  Many comics and graphic novels make little sense to readers other than their intended audience.

Uzumaki does not suffer from this because Ito’s story is built around the kind of fears with which we can all identify – the specter of death, loss of control of our lives, our own paranoia.  Like the citizens of Kurôzu-cho, our lives are often delicately constructed.  Hit a weak point and much if not all of it comes tumbling down.  Some people don’t even have the strength or the time to save or rebuild their broken lives.  Uzumaki, Vol. 1 presents a town full of people slowly sinking into madness, unable to stop decay and eventual death.  All the readers have to hold onto is Kirie, who’s sane… for now.

POSSIBLE AUDIENCE:  Wanna be scared?  This is the story that will do it.  Even the book itself is like a little cursed object.

A+

 


Last Updated: Jun 26, 2018 - 9:28

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