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Cat Eyed Boy, Vol. 2 Paperback – June 24, 2008
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About the Author
Kazuo Umezu, who started drawing professionally in the 1950s, is considered the most influential horror manga artist ever. His many horror and sci-fi/horror works include Nekome Kozo (The Cat-Eyed Kid, 1967-1968), Orochi, The Drifting Classroom (1972-1974), Ultraman (a manga adaptation of the TV series), Senrei (Baptism), My Name is Shingo, The Left Hand of God/Right Hand of the Devil, and Fourteen. His popular gag series Makoto-Chan (1976) and Again prove that Umezu is also an accomplished humor cartoonist. (He is also a musician.) Umezu's weird style, incredible ideas and sometimes terrifying imagery have made him a fixture of Japanese pop culture, and his work has been adapted into movies, anime and collectibles. His homepage is "http://www.umezz.com/"
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The second volume consists of the following stories: "The Band of One Hundred Monsters, Part Two," "The Meatball Monster," "The Thousand-Handed Demon," "The Stairs," "The Promise," "The Hand," and "The Friend." At almost 500 pages, this is a thick manga and the first three stories are each about one hundred pages. The next three stories are considerably shorter.
The first story is a continuation of one left hanging in the previous volume. A group of monsters wants to make people as ugly as their hearts by mutilating them and turning them into monsters as well. Cat Eyed Boy is trying to stop this from happening. Sometimes he acts heroically, while other times he's amoral or even harmful to characters.
The next story, "The Meatball Monster," has a monster with a silly name but is actually a very strong story. A family is cursed so that members see the Meatball Monster and die from it. Cat Eyed Boy, after receiving a blood transfusion from a family member, is now part of the curse and has to save his life and the lives of others.
The third story, "The Thousand-Handed Demon," has a woman feeding blood to a statue of a goddess in hopes of bringing it to life. She succeeds, but what she actually awakens is a demon.
The shorter story "The Stairs" is gripping and is about a boy wanting to say goodbye to his dead mother. Cat Eyed Boy has a way to let him, but it only causes more trouble. In "The Promise" a snake monster follows a young boy who has unwittingly been given to the snake monster by his father. "The Hand" deals with a boy trying to save his mother from hell after seeing a horrible vision. The final story, "The Friend" is also haunting and has a major twist. It's interesting how many of these stories deal so strongly with children.
Altogether, the second volume of Cat Eyed Boy is even stronger than the first. The first was dark and intriguing, but this one gives the reader more chilling ideas.
-- Danica Davidson
Otherwise, buy & read if you enjoy the grotesque & weird!