Synonyms: Lovesick Dead, The Beautiful Youth of the Intersections, Yotsutsuji no Bishounen, The Anxious Woman, Nayamu Onna, Shadows, Kage, Screams in the Night, Zekkyou no Yoru, The Horror World of Junji
Some of Ito's works are bundled together and released as compilation volumes. I thought this would be one such volume, but it turns out that each chapter is linked. It's a bummer, really, that this wasn't titled something different as a standalone work. Works of his like Gyo, Uzumaki, Black Paradox, and Remina are relatively well known but it seemed this one was somewhat hidden under his vast 'bookography,' for lack of a better term.
This is a sin, really, because this particular volume has just as much wit as his other works do. I'll be the first to admit that I did find certain aspects
to be quite elementary, such as the introduction of characters that were limited to one chapter only, since maybe a mention of their name or somehow connecting them to previous sections would have been useful, or perhaps how the latter half of the volume seems to forsake the 'laws' dictated for the horror to take place. Or maybe it's the fact that, like most of Ito's volumes, they seem to start out comfortable and small-scale and go far beyond their precedented expectations. I suppose that comes down to discussion about all of Ito's works and not so much this one at hand, but in brief, the ending isn't exactly a surprise, nor is it a scare.
I think the beginning shows an intense horror that has laws that are against the player. That's good horror, since we can see how the protagonist struggles against it, but that never really happens. Our protagonist merely does the same thing over and over and we only see him actively 'combatting' the evil once or twice. The problem isn't that he does this, the problem is that he keeps doing it despite bearing no fruit. It's kind of boring, actually.
Pretty decent and pretty spooky artwork. There were a few panels that definitely had be pretty terrified, and the graphic content was rather tame. Although it didn't need to be tame considering it was horror, it was respectful to the kind of narrative it was. It wasn't tasteless, is what I'm saying.
Ito has a knack for making everyone look the same in each of his works. Well, not in each work as itself, but across each work in his 'bookography,' to use that term again. I like his style so it's not all that bothersome, but if you put some characters side by side, the women look pretty similar (as do the men.) Again, I think I'm stepping more into the territory of reviewing the mangaka and not the work itself, but I still believe it needs saying.
Since a lot of the story is set in fog, the settings aren't all that detailed but I suppose that comes with the narrative.
Pretty interesting and believable characters, but the narrative itself falls apart at the end so I feel the characters got a little funky, too. It's hard to get into a lot of detail about it but, to explain, the character drama is really quite solid for a while but then the story because more about the main event rather than the terror between the characters. I think that's something Ito did well in Uzumaki (and even Gyo), as he focused more on how the horror effects the characters. This did that for 2 chapters then kinda tossed that out the window for the latter two. It's alright, and it still works as an interesting concept, but I'm glad that Ito focused more on character drama as he wrote more.
I always enjoy reading good horror, and Junji Ito has consistently delivered on that. I've yet to find a mangaka who can put out decent or better work in this genre. I suppose that's sort of the general conception about his work, but I never realized it until now. Or, rather, I never experienced it until now.
Definitely a fun read. Anyone who likes Ito should give this a go.
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