• Manga Reviews

    Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu

    A little off-beat for the king of Japanese horror, Cat Diary: Yon & Mu is a collection of short and funny anecdotes about Ito’s family and their two cats: Yonsuke and Mu. Decidedly a dog person, Ito comes to adopt two cats when his fiancé Ako moves in with him. “Are you a dog person? Or a cat person?” From the drawings I had seen before picking this book up, I had expected this collection to contain some element of horror, but it was nothing of the sort. Everything in this collection was bursting with humor and sweet family memories that many cat owners can relate to. Ito’s clumsy attempts…

  • Horror Manga Reviews

    Fragments of Horror

    Fragments of Horror is currently the last of Ito’s works to be published and I have to say that it is one of his most unusual collections. It is very different from his typical body of work in both good and bad ways. Many of the stories were more absurd and uncanny rather than being straight up horror. It was also interesting to me that there was a single connecting theme between many of the stories, and that was sex, infidelity, and fetishes. It brings to mind the ero guro movement of 1930’s Japan. Literally translating to “erotic grotesque nonsense,” the description really sums up the movement pretty well. Ito…

  • Contemporary Book Reviews

    Convenience Store Woman

    Keiko is a convenience store worker and, to the people around her, a bit of an oddball. She has worked part time at the same store for her entire adult life with no aspirations to pursue a full-time career, she has no interest in romantic relationships or starting a family, she struggles with every day social interactions, and most of all–she’s satisfied with her life. Keiko often feels out of place, like she has to put on a mask while interacting with others. She has difficulty understanding people’s motivations and feelings, she struggles to hold conversations and to navigate social norms, she has no interest in marriage, and she feels…

  • Horror Manga Reviews

    Jisatsu Circle

    Based off of the cult film, Suicide Circle, the distressing nature of this manga hits the reader hard and fast. A stunning thriller that is difficult to put down, I ended up reading it in one sitting. The story follows Kyoko as she watches the descent of her childhood best friend, Saya, the only survivor of a mass suicide. Kyoko finds herself pulled deeper into the mysteries of a suicide cult as she attempts to save Saya. “How do you relate to yourself?” The scary part of this manga isn’t the gore, though it is very gorey. No, the real horror here is psychological. Saya and the other girls of…

  • Japanese Horror Book Reviews

    Parasite Eve

    Never in my life have I ever encountered a book that I felt more conflicted by. Parasite Eve is a Japanese techno-thriller that spawned a film adaptation and a massively popular video game series. It is about mitochondria and I have to say that it is admirable for the truly unique concept. It is an incredible example of body horror at it’s best by instilling a fear of utter helplessness to a threat that can control the very cells that make up a person’s body. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was in for when I started this novel. I have to give Sena props for the amount of attention…

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