A horror manga about spirals – it sounds strange doesn’t it? What makes Uzumaki so brilliant is that it takes something abstract and transforms it into the stuff of nightmares, utterly corrupting one of the most beautiful patterns in nature: the spiral. When I had first started reading this comic I was skeptical, how could a mathematical curve be scary? There is nothing sinister about a spiral, just as there is nothing all that unusual about the town and it’s inhabitants. There is an air of unease that hangs over the mundane town, an evil far greater than humanity.
“Spirals…. this town is contaminated with spirals.”
Uzumaki challenged my perception of horror in it’s twisting narrative, starting slow as the madness began to spread, spiraling out like a flower in bloom. As the story reached a fever pitch, it quickly descends, like a whirlpool sucking everything underneath it’s surface. The pacing is unbelievably well crafted and I love the way that the narrative wound me up the farther along I got in the series.
The art is also a wonder with extremely detailed drawings depicting some of the best examples of body horror that I’ve ever seen. I fell in love with Ito’s art style immediately and took time admiring the panels as I read. While this is of course up for debate, many fans and critics have chosen Uzumaki as Ito’s magnum opus, and after reading a couple of his other comics I would have to agree. Uzumaki is one of the best works of horror I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. I highly recommend this for any fan of the genre, but especially for fans of the works of H.P. Lovecraft, whose books greatly influenced Ito in his creation of the series.
Author: Junji Ito
Publisher: Shogakukan, Viz Media
Publication Date: October 15, 2013
Kurôzu-cho, a small fogbound town on the coast of Japan, is cursed. According to Shuichi Saito, the withdrawn boyfriend of teenager Kirie Goshima, their town is haunted not by a person or being but by a pattern: uzumaki, the spiral, the hypnotic secret shape of the world. It manifests itself in everything from seashells and whirlpools in water to the spiral marks on people’s bodies, the insane obsessions of Shuichi’s father and the voice from the cochlea in our inner ear. As the madness spreads, the inhabitants of Kurôzu-cho are pulled ever deeper into a whirlpool from which there is no return!