Uzumaki by Junji Ito
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Comics by Junji Ito make the rounds on the internet constantly, and Uzumaki is constantly recommended as a good horror comic/manga, so I finally got a hold of an omnibus release. It mostly meets the standard, but sometimes it's a little off the rails.
The premise is that there is a small town in Japan near a lake that has been cursed. The curse involves spirals. The spirals possess people, they exist everywhere, and things become more and more insane as the spiral curse progresses. The curse takes a lot of forms, and the story unwinds itself in a way that answers a lot of the questions that come up along the way, but not without some seriously gross happenings.
There's always a suspension of disbelief in play when it comes to horror, and this in particular really needs it in a lot of ways. It's less jump scare and more just really gross and awkward, and while we can handle snail people or blood-sucking children, it makes the really absurd even more absurd as a result. This may be where some (lack of) knowledge of cultural and/or manga tropes comes into play for me, but some of the more eye-rolly parts kept me from loving something I really only liked.
I'm still excited to read more from Ito, for sure, and those who like horror and haven't done much in the manga space should absolutely check this out. Just manage the expectations a little bit and it might be more fun as a result.
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