Ma no Kakera has stand-alone chapters, with pretty simplistic stories, so don't expect something which will blow you away. Despite that lack of complexity, I didn't find most of the stories really predictable. They usually have a twist, which in some cases will leave you like WTF? (specially Nanakuse Kyokumi and Haunted Wood Mansion stories)
I find Ito Junji's art really great, and Ma no Kakera is not a exception. It fits the story well and creates a proper atmosphere.
The worst part of Ma no Kakera. They have no depth and are completly forgettable. However, being a totally plot-driven manga, the characters aren't
really important to enjoy it, so the lack of characterization doesn't affect the quality of the story.
Despite its flaws, I truly enjoyed this manga. I got hooked on it and I didn't stop reading until I finished it. It certainly is not a masterpiece, but will give you a good time.
If you liked other Ito Junji's works, specially his stand-alone manga, give Ma no Kakera a try. I'm almost sure you'll enjoy it.
This was my first foray into the world of mangaka Junji Ito and I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction. Fragments of Horror is quite simply one of the best horror anthologies I’ve come across in any medium.
Fragments of Horror is comprised of eight short stories of varying lengths. While some are better than others, they are all effective. It starts off with Futon, which consists of a mere eight pages yet masterfully sets the tone for the anthology. Eerie, quirky, shocking and unpredictable. Said tone is established and maintained by pretty much all of the stories featuring twist-laden plots often incorporating the theme
of paranoia with disturbing imagery often pertaining to the distortion of the human body. The standouts for me would have to be Gentle Goodbye, which was an oddly touching albeit simultaneously unnerving story that I could see hitting home with anyone who’s lost a family member and Blackbird, which had arguably the most bizarre plot and some of the most unsettling imagery in the anthology. Nevertheless, all of the stories in the anthology are worth reading.
Although the stories are definitely memorable and compelling, the anthology’s artwork would have to be its strongest aspect. The realistic characters and sheer amount of detail given to the viscera and supernatural entities makes the stories all the more engaging and disturbing. The way Ito lays out the panels is also worth noting as he does so in such a way that allows the viewer’s eyes to glide across the page, making it easier to read and giving it an oddly addictive quality. He also utilizes this so as to make the anthology more unsettling due to instances of it placing us in a character’s shoes by having an image of the character reacting at the end of a page with a detailed and horrific image of whatever the character was reacting to on the next, often making the turning of a page a nerve-racking experience.
In conclusion, I would highly recommend Fragments of Horror to anyone who enjoys the genre as well as anyone who would like to see the comic medium utilized in a unique way and am looking forward to reading some more of Ito’s work in the future.