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Uzumaki: Spiral into Horror, Vol. 1 Paperback – October 16, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Uzumaki Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The townspeople of Kurozu-cho are being haunted by a strange infection of spirals. When corpses are cremated, the smoke forms a black spiral in the sky, and the clouds form swirls like those in Van Gogh's The Starry Night. Soon, things intensify: a lighthouse throws out spiral beams at dusk; babies are born, only to sprout spiral-capped mushroom-shaped appendages from their stomachs; one man becomes obsessed with spirals until he goes completely mad. The spirals even begin to infect people's bodies, leaving grotesque spiral voids. Readers witness these chilling disturbances through Kirie, a wide-eyed schoolgirl with a pixie cut, whose world is drawn in typical, lighthearted teen-romance manga style. When she's at home or school, things seem normal, but the sudden contrasts between the ordinary events of everyday life and this mysterious invasion of chaotic, threatening spirals makes the horror all the more shocking. Ito knows how to make readers' hearts drop and stomachs turn, but once the scare factor wears off there's not much more to the book .Characters enter the story only to become part of the town's body count, and Kirie, a constant survivor, is no more than a vehicle for the next spooky outbreak of deadly spirals. She reacts to each ordeal with fear and manages to escape before the spirals show up yet again. She doesn't attempt to find a solution, and there's barely any character development or plot. Ito's b&w drawings are well done and scary, but the book's essentially an empty thrill.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Junji Ito debuted as a horror manga artist in 1987 with the first story in his successful
Tomie series. Uzumaki, drawn from 1998 to 1999, was adapted into a live-action movie, which has been released in America by Viz Films and Tidepoint Pictures. It's influences include the classic manga artists Kazuo Umezu and Hideshi Hino, as well as authors Yasutaka Tsutsui and H.P. Lovecraft.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: VIZ Media LLC; 2nd edition (October 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1421513897
  • ISBN-13: 978-1421513898
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #254,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This manga further proves just how varied the subject matter of Japanese comics can be. It's horror, there's violent imagery, but the concept behind the goings on is utterly unique. And the sense of doom hovering over the small town where the story takes place is palpable.
I like the abstractness of the threat presented by the spiral. There doesn't appear to be a malevolent consciousness behind the eeire goings on presented. Some characters are victims of the spiral, others use it to their advantage.
Art wise, Uzumaki is great. Distinctly Japanese yet with a character all its own. There is a flair in the design and line work that gives simple scenes a richness. Page composition is also good, letting the actions and reactions determine the size and shape of panels.
There is some pretty startling imagery here (the fate of the one man obsessed with spirals is what drew me in), and I guess it might be too much for some people. I'm in no way a fan of 'gore' just for the sake of gore. Here it is purposeful, and there really is a nightmare quality to a lot of the events that can be pretty fascinating.
The author/artist does a nice job of exploring different applications of the evil spiral concept. It works well in this collection, and the stories complement each other nicely. I don't know if the series can continue to progress in an interesting manner, but this collection is very worthwhile.
There are a lot of manga translations out there now, and many of them end up blending together in terms of look and feel. Titles that have stood out for me before include Mai the Psychic Girl, Area 88, Nausicca, 2001 Nights, Battle Angel Alita, and Parasyte. Uzumaki takes its place among these titles in my mind for its uniqueness of vision, both in look and in concept.
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Format: Paperback
In the coastal Japanese town of Koruzo-Cho, strange events are afoot. As told by schoolgirl Kirie Goshima, the town is being affected somehow by the mysterious power of the spiral, and nobody, not even those closest to her, are safe.
While this story contains enough chilling events that it would even be effective in prose, the true magic comes from Junji Ito's illustrations. He takes some of the most outlandish concepts (a man's body twisted into a spiral, two girls fighting each other using their freakishly elongated hair) and makes them incredibly disturbing, rather than looking ridiculous. This is a far cry from most American monster or bump-in-the-night horror comics, and much more effective than simple drawings of visceral gore.
This is only the first installment of this series, so explanations and resolution are almost absent. However, I found myself so drawn in to this weird story that I am looking forward to future volumes, no matter how creeped out I know I'll get reading them.
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Format: Paperback
First off, it most be said that the core idea of the story (that of the spiral) is an incredibly good one. More than one person has gone near the borders of insanity by the crazy spiral patterns that govern the Universe, and one can see the insane effects this fascination can cause in certain individuals by looking at the most affected characters of this story.

Also it must be said that the art direction is pretty good; all the organic grotesqueries one would come to expect from vintage David Cronneberg and H. P. Lovecraft can be found here. Clearly we're talking about a talented individual here.

Yet, I cannot help but feel somewhat disappointed by this first volume in the Uzumaki saga. The ideas are strong, and the individual stories are all eerie and strange, worthy of the title of "weird fiction", (worthy of the most obscure horror writers of the post-Lovecraft era, such as Thomas Ligotti and Mark Samuels, amongst other, not hacks like King of Koontz) but I feel that the execution was wrongly taken, at least from the emotional standpoint.

Not spoiling much of the story, the two main characters are witnesses (and sometimes experience first hand) of fantastic supernatural events that violate all conventions of sane anatomy and of such grotesque and insane nature as to bend the fragile psyche and bodily functions of normal individuals, and yet they go on with their ordinary lives as if NOTHING had happened at all. Only one of them presents mild symptoms of madness and paranoia, even sheer horror and repulsion to the events, yet even he doesn't seem to be all that affected by the events... the horror is there, however the characters act as if it were an every day phenomenon.

This volume is divided in six chapters, all plots genuinely weird and disturbing...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I certainly won't. I will never look at anything with a spiral the same way ever again.
Ito has created a great story, even for someone like myself who is not a fan of Japanese animation, and also a beginner in the wide world of graphic novels and chapter books. (or grown up comic books if you prefer that term)
The stories are told from the prospective of a young girl named Kirie Goshima who lives in the town of Kurozu, along with her boyfriend Shuichi Saito. The first two chapters deal with the tragic deaths of Shuichi's parents, his father dying from turning himself into a spiral, and his mother from trying to rid her body of spirals. (Think fingerprints and the cochlea in the inner ear for starters)
Shuichi is convinced that their town is infected with spirals, which is seemingly proven by the odd patterns in the river and the fact that every time a body is cremated, the smoke belches out from the smokestack in a spiral pattern that covers the town before falling into mysterious Dragonfly Pond. After the deaths of his parents, he quits school and becomes a recluse, popping out only in time to save Kirie from one spiral or another.
In the remaining chapters, we meet Azami Kurotani, a beautiful girl who has never been turned away by a boy since she received a crescent shaped scar upon her forehead. But when Shuichi turns her away, Azami becomes fixated on him, and falls victim to the spiral.
Then Kirie's father, a potter, begins to notice changes in the way his clay behaves when fired in the kiln. His everyday plates and bowls begin to twist and warp into unusable shapes, and he becomes transfixed by his work until Shuichi realizes what is happening and steps in to help Kirie.
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