Uzumaki: Junji Ito
Reviewed By Simon Paul Wilson
Seeing as I adore Asian Horror, I feel a little ashamed that it’s taken me so long to read any of the horror mangas by Junji Ito, especially Uzumaki.
Still, I’m here now and I can enjoy exploring his back catalogue. I may be late to the party, but I’m certainly gonna make up for lost time.
Uzumaki is the second Ito book I’ve read, the first being Remina. Now, I really enjoyed that book, but a lot of the comments left on Goodreads said it was one of his lesser titles, and nowhere near as good as the work of genius that is Uzumaki.
Naturally, I had to get a copy and find out what all the fuss was about.
Uzumaki has to be one of the best tales of horror I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. It is dark, disturbing, and pure nightmare fodder. I bloody loved every page, and can’t recommend this enough.
Set in the small, quiet Japanese town of Kurouzu-cho, high-school teenager, Kirie Goshima, and her boyfriend, Shuichi Saito, slowly begin to realise that the town is cursed by supernatural events involving spirals.
The curse starts off with a bizarre fascination for the hypnotic pattern, but then escalates into grotesque body horror and Lovecraftian levels of insanity.
Each chapter takes the curse in another direction, and further into darkness, with the artwork becoming more and more macabre. Seriously, there are some images on those pages that are the most beautifully grotesque stuff you are ever likely to see. The moment where Shuichi’s mother is about to remove the last spiral from her body is terrifying, as were some of the reveals during the ‘Mosquitoes’ and ‘The Umbilical Cord’ chapters.
Obviously, quite a few of you will be familiar with Uzumaki, and there are a couple of chapters that are mentioned often, namely ‘The Scar’, ‘Medusa’, and ‘The Snail’. All three are body horror at its absolute best, and worth buying the book for. However, Uzumaki has many more terrors to show you, and none of the chapters disappoint. As soon as I was done reading, I went right back to the start for a second go. It’s not often I’m compelled to do that, let me tell you!
To sum up, I feel Uzumaki is required reading for anyone who loves horror. It’s just stunning.
As I’m writing this, I’ve heard news that Adult Swim will be releasing an anime version of Uzumaki in 2022.
Personally, I can’t wait.
I’m also terrified about what I will see…
Kurouzu-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 Kurouu-cho are pulled ever deeper into a whirlpool from which there is no return!
Simon Paul Wilson
Simon Paul Wilson is a U.K. based writer of horror and science fiction.
He is currently writing a cyberpunk horror trilogy, the first of which is GhostCityGirl and was published by Not A Pipe publishing in 2020.
Click this link for more info: Ghost City Girl
There now follows a list of writers who have influenced his reading tastes and writing style:
James Herbert. Stephen King, Shaun Hutson, Clive Barker, China Mieville, Haruki Murakami, Carlton Mellick III, Brian Keene, and Adam Nevill.
Simon lives somewhere in the middle of England with his wonderful family. He likes to listen to post-rock and progressive rock at loud volumes. He also plays a mean air bass.
Follow him on Twitter: @spwzen