Spiral Into Madness: Uzumaki Review

Good midnight everybody, The Luminous Mongoose here with a spooky review!

Now, I don’t usually review manga, or even read them for that matter, but I recently bought a copy of Uzumaki as a present to a friend. However, I ended up buying it two weeks earlier than planned, so I said “What the hell, I’ll read it before I give it away.”

What did I think of it?

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Fuck.

It’s a masterful horror story that abuses the fear of the unknown. Not once in the story is it revealed where the hell the spirals are coming from or why they’re ruining the town. All we know is that they are horrible and will kill you, if it doesn’t make you go through agonizing pain and body horror first.

When I first got the sealed book, my dad pointed at the book page edges and said that it was dirty. When I opened the book, however, I soon found that the blackened edges of the book was the result of Ito’s severe and incredibly pitch black linework on every other page, as if the madness on the paper is trying to escape. The contrast of white against the ever-encroaching dark sets that creepy mood in the subtlest way.

While his body horror is definitely his most grotesque and impressive work, I think an underrated aspect of his drawings that people don’t seem to talk about too much is how deranged and terrifying he can make a place and person look. See here, the most body horror on the person is a strange hump on his back, but what makes it even more unsettling is how moist and unhygienic this otherwise regular person looks. Also of note is how almost every non-main character has beady eyes, making them look significantly more malicious.

Even the simple act of a person opening a door is suspenseful. The panel opens with a dark hallway, followed by the slight opening of an even darker doorway. We then see a silhouette and expect a terrifying monster, but look, it’s just Shuichi, who does kinda look like garbage.

It also really adds a lot to the tenseness of reading when almost everybody in the looks so stressed and terrified as you do. It’s a subtle and creeping feeling that stays with you throughout the rest of the book.

The mental breakdowns of the characters are always (not? ) fun to watch though, and certainly makes me fear the people more than the spiral at times.

The biggest factor in what makes Uzumaki scary besides the art, however, is the hopelessness of the entire thing. Throughout the story, nobody even tries to beat the spiral, and the entire thing is just an anthology of the terrible things that happen to random people as our main characters struggle to survive. If this were a western horror movie made in America, the spiral would have some kind of reversing chant, or some item that would stop it from spreading.

The Spiral is an unstoppable force. It cannot be reasoned with or hurt in any way. The only thing you can do is stare at it, in awe or horror, and pray you die instead of going insane. It is massive, incomprehensible, and grotesquely beautiful.

That’s what true horror should be.

If you are interested in knowing more about horror in media and Junji Ito’s work, I highly suggest you to go and watch Super Eyepatch Wolf’s video on the topic. He is one of my greatest inspirations (as well as Gigguk) for starting my blog doing analyses and reviews of anime and such.

Now, if you don’t mind, I’m gonna go throw out every spiral object in my house.

See ya arou-

On second thought, just bye is fine.

5 thoughts on “Spiral Into Madness: Uzumaki Review

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