It's a collection of very short and mostly atmospheric stories dealing with urban legends, ghosts and superstitions all organized around a specific theme (school, visitors etc.). Some are just two pages long.
I read the first volume of this manga and did not like it at all.
Most of the stories in it are extremely short and suddenly end without much explanation as to what was going on. I thought this manga would be creepy, but it was far from it.
I'm going to preface this review by saying that this largely could be a case of a work simply not being for me. The horror genre as a whole has never been something I've gotten too into and this has been especially true for comics and manga. The few horror comics I have gotten into (Preacher, Hellboy, Sandman) were largely due to me liking the story itself as opposed to the horror elements. However, a friend of mine recommended Fuan no Tane to me and here we are.
To be rather blunt, I kind of think the idea of these books, a series of horror shorts
separated into chapters that share a similar theme, are inherently flawed. One of the biggest elements of horror in any form is the building of suspense. Graphic novels by nature have a harder time building suspense than both "real" books, which can vividly describe what's going on in a deliberate matter to build suspense and television/film, which has other tools it can use to build suspense like camera and musical tricks, because a graphic novel has to build suspense through images and word balloons. To try and do this successfully is a daunting task, but to try and do in is 2-3 pages is practically doomed to failure. Fuan no Tane does not circumvent this, there is no suspense to be had in this story, there is no reason to care about the characters going through the experience, and by the time you finished the story you MIGHT think "WTF?" but usually you're just onto the next story.
To make matters worse, the payoff for these stories is pretty much standard horror fare. I don't have to be a fan of the genre to be able to confidently assure you that if you are a fan of the horror genre, and quite honestly even if you aren't, you've seen everything here before and likely done to greater effect. The stories are also somewhat repetitive. In particular, spooky faces are used quite frequently to try and generate a scare. While the art is good, these aren't drawn in a particularly effective way in terms of trying to get the desired effect or a different way that's interesting.
If I had to point out positives, a few of the shorts end with what appears to be a little bit of humor and I actually did get a little bit of chuckle out of these. I'm unsure how many of these were intentionally trying to be funny as opposed to me just so happening to find them funny but it's something none the less. The art is good as previously mentioned, I think a few of the shorts do have the potential to be scary or at least interesting either in a different medium or as fully fleshed out stories, and the final story of Vol 3, presented more like a campfire tale, is pretty decent. Being a collection of short stories, it was also a pretty quick and easy read. If you are into horror or somewhat surreal WTFery, maybe pick it up if you see it on the cheap as this may be more up your alley than it was mine, but overall I'd say this is a "Skip."
Short, but that's the point of it being folk-tales. "Did you hear about that ghost in X? Yeah, I hear he does Y." That's what you get, and it's all that's needed to be spooky. This isn't terrifying, but it can be creepy and reminds you that it's always possible there's something else nearby that disrupts the status quo.
Chapters are divided into sections that follow a theme, be it 'sinister double-takes' in which you think you saw something, and you know you shouldn't look again but that itch needs to be satisfied. It's basic, simple, and for the time it takes to read, it's worthwhile.
average stuff, but the settings look pretty great. The world feels lively despite the shortness of each anecdote, and the lack of characterization. Where there's no girth to individual people, there's a lot of substance in the art.
There isn't anything especially spectacular about the art, and I felt some of the monsters/ghosts/ghouls looked a little too similar, but it's nothing to take anyone's attention away.
There's virtually no characterization in this work. Just enough is written to understand the littlest amount of detail to stay in theme with the current chapter division, but outside of that, nothing.
Spooked, but not by much. It's fun, and that's about all it needs to be. I was wowed or feel the need to share it with friends, but thanks to how fast it can be read I don't feel cheated.
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