If you’re a horror fan, just the title alone should bring to mind the Verbinski film of 2002 or the original Japanese movie Ringu (Ring) from 1998. The original books by Koji Suzuki have circled the globe, capturing the attention of horror fans everywhere. And since this franchise came from Japan, a manga was almost unavoidable. I think the manga can stand alone, so it deserves our attention.
This is what Dark Horse has to say about Volume One:
Journalist Kazayuki Asakawa’s investigation into the sudden deaths of four teenagers leads to an isolated cabin containing a videotape warning of death in seven days unless certain, now missing, instructions are followed.
I’m not a horror movie person, but even I’d heard of the cursed videotape that causes death. Since that’s all I knew, I had no preconceived notions about the plot of the manga.
We start with gossip, rumor, people talking about a weird tape, that kills. This was the kind of rumor that seems to come from nowhere and is everywhere almost instantly. Watch the tape and you’ll die, in seven days. As a reporter, Asakawa, gets curious about this rumor since she knew a teen who died. A bit of digging and it turns out that four teens, all friends, all together seven days ago, all died on the same day, within minutes of each other.
I must say up front that delving into the Horror manga genre is very new to me. I’ve simply never paid any attention. But since I’m doing these blogs for WWEnd and the site covers SF, Fantasy, and Horror, I feel that I must expand my own horizons.
And I’m very glad that I’ve done so.
Here is what Yen Press has to say about Another:
In the spring of 1998, Koichi Sakakibara transfers into Class 3-3 at Yomiyama North Middle School. But little does he know…his new class has a horrible secret. When he takes his seat in class for the first day of school, Koichi is unsettled by his fearful classmates. Despite this atmosphere and warnings from fellow students, Koichi is drawn to the beautiful, distant Mei Misaki, another classmate. But the closer he tries to get to her, the more mysterious she and their class become. And when a fellow student dies a disturbing death—the first of a long chain of deaths—Koichi seeks to learn the truth behind the curse of Class 3-3. But can he get answers before the curse kills him?
Right from the start line we have some horror standards: young people and young people dying. These are interacting with manga standards: young people and a school setting. So the plot equation looks like this: young people, plus a school setting, plus a curse, plus secrets, equals lots of people dying.
Can the simple shape of a spiral be cause for alarm? Can it be a sign of a curse? A manifestation of a haunting? Or is it a gateway signature to something else entirely? These are the lingering questions that draw us, hypnotically, like the swirling lines of the spiral itself, every deeper into the mystery that is Uzumaki.
Here is what VIZ says about Uzumaki:
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!
Uzumaki: The Spiral.
I’d heard that this was a manga to pay attention to. How right that advice is.