External Book Reviews: Uzumaki Vol. #2 (2nd Edition)


Note: This article was originally written for Advanced Media Network. Its editorial style differs from reviews for this site.

The second volume of Uzumaki spirals outwards — sorry, I had to say it — from its original premise to encompass one truly bizarre extension of the “spiral curse” after another. Some of them have only the most tenuous connection to the basic concept — what do mosquitoes have in common with spirals, for instance? — but Junji Ito continues to find ways to make his oddball premise stick. I had a mental image of him sitting back with a broad smile after inking each month’s segment, confident that he’d found yet another way to turn a simple design pattern into a vortex of all-consuming horror.

Sometimes the connections to the core inspiration of the story aren’t that obvious. The opening tale operates in this vein: it’s about a compulsive prankster whose corpse becomes animated by a stray car suspension spring, and it veers towards being merely silly instead of creepy. But the vast majority of the other chapters more than win back any lost confidence you might have, thanks to Ito’s amazingly perverse imagination for the macabre.

The freakiest of the stories by far is an extended foray into some weird goings-on at the local hospital that involves mosquitoes, spiral fungus, and a whole battalion of pregnant women who look like they escaped from the set of Cronenberg’s The Brood. Equally bizarre are the episodes involving the town lighthouse (with its concentric lens that melts into a spiral one!), and an attack by the biggest spiral of all, an inbound tropical storm which seems to have a malevolent mind of its own, and which seems to not only be coming for one of the main characters but calling her by name.

Horror stories are a tough balancing act to pull off. If they’re too outlandish, they just become laughable; if they’re not bold enough, then they’re easily dismissed. As with the first book, a big part of how Uzumaki remains strongly creepy throughout is because it keeps sidestepping our expectations. We know each segment will involve a spiral in some way, but the way that’s revealed to us is developed as a surprise — sort of like one of those cover versions of a well-known song where the arrangement disguises the melody for as long as possible. That makes it all the more fun, of course, when we get smacked in the face with it.

Despite the occasional off-target episode, the second volume of Uzumaki makes for an equally creepy ride as the first. Weak stomachs also need not apply this time around, either; in my opinion the “16+” rating is really something of an understatement.


Tags: Japan manga review



Product purchases
support this site.


About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Serdar in the category Books | External Book Reviews, published on October 10, 2007 1:32 AM.

You can see alphabetical or chronological listings of all entries in this category.

» See other Books entries for the month of October 2007.

» See other External Book Reviews entries for the month of October 2007.

» See all other entries for the month of October 2007.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

About Me

I'm an independent SF and fantasy author, technology journalist, and freelance contemplator for how SF can be made into something more than just a way to blow stuff up.

My Goodreads author profile.

Learn some more about me.

My Books

Coming Soon

Out Now

More of my books

Search This Site


Other People We Like

Fandom

Archives