Frankenstein was one of the first books I ever tried reading. So, picture a young turtle in Second grade trying to read a horrific and philosophical narrative (let alone reading it in the car out loud. I remember this memory very vividly!) Suffice to say, I only remember THAT memory of Frankenstein and not much else. That said, I have such a strange affinity for this sort of horror, the 'ancient' tech of the 1700's. The idea of anyone being able to revive a body is so otherworldly to think about when we live in a world where tech seems so advanced, yet even now we struggle to comprehend the idea of life and how it's created. So, that ever-pervasive question paired with the elements of horror within Frankenstein make for an interesting story. But, is it told well?
I think so. I think Junji Ito does a great job of telling Frankenstein in manga form, and I would say that his vision of Frankenstein's monster is now my go-to for the standard look, despite the classic Boris Karloff look being so iconic, so intimidating, and just downright petrifying. I'd say these are both neck and neck, where Boris Karloff brings out the overpowering nature and fear of creating something so strong, so powerful that even the creator himself cannot stop it from wreaking havoc. Meanwhile, Ito shows off the disgusting nature of reviving a dead body built from multiple corpses. And, while there's always potential for translation to fall short, I felt the dialogue helped in creating an incredible tension between creature and creator in Ito's Frankenstein.
But, as a horror, is this narrative scary? I don't think it's scary in the sense that I was afraid to turn the page, but the very narrative itself is grotesque, horrid, and downright grimy. The setting, the subject matter, the existential conflict, everything is set so well. Of course, that's not Ito's doing, that's Mary Shelley's doing, but Ito does a fantastic job translating her narrative to manga form. Any fan of his work, or fan of Frankenstein, should definitely check this out.
As Ito grows, so does his artwork. The level of detail here is as disgusting as it is mesmerizing. His distinct character design paired with brilliant 'animation' adds for an immersive read, and I can't stress that enough. He has a tasteful way of making the most horrid things seem pleasing, even appetizing, I daresay. It's crazy. The guys crazy.
Really great characters, although I feel this is the weakest part. Since this is only one volume, things move really fast. If there was slightly better pacing in character motives and stuff, I think I would have enjoyed this a little more, but I still feel things go about as well as they could have. Still great, nonetheless.
Super enjoyable. Just a fun story, no matter how it's told. I can see why this story has held so long, it translates mediums so well. Near flawless. Although, I'm sure that also has to do with who adapts it, and this particular adaption is very good.
As for the other 2 chapters, very short, and they show off the artistic talent of Ito as both a horror mangaka and comedian. Don't pass up anything in this volume.
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