Synonyms: Supernatural Classroom, Dissolving Series, Youkai Bijo, Youkai Apartment, Chizumi no Koi, Akuma no Kaiken, Daichi no Ko, Dissolving Beauty, Chizumi in Love, Interview with the Devil, The Return, Children of the Earth
A pair of twisted siblings—Yuuma, a young man obsessed with the devil, and Chizumi, the worst little sister in recorded history—cause all sorts of tragic and terrifying things to happen wherever they go. These scary short stories will shock you with a literal interpretation of the ills that plague modern society
This was okay. A bit disappointing, but it was some silly fun. Junji Ito tends to have some amazing concepts, but unfortunately this is not one of them. This is essentially a collection of connected short stories, each with a similar premise, and all of the them ending the same way - with melting. The formula got tiresome quickly, but at least it was a fast read and the ending made it all worth it. Art wasn't as creative as Junji Ito normally is. Just lots of melting, and that's it. The characters were pretty memorable though, and now whenever someone apologizes profusely to me,
I recall this book. I'd say it's worth a read if you're a Junji Ito fan and have read everything else, but I would recommend any other of his manga before this.
This mostly deals with the two siblings detailed in the synopsis. The stories are all connected (aside from the one-shots).
Story, 5: The two one-shots are extremely short, and while they offer mildly interesting premises, they simply didn't have enough time to develop into anything beyond average. The "Dissolving" series was interesting, but I didn't really like any of the chapters until "Interview with the Devil", where everything from the previous chapters comes together (which actually gave a satisfying conclusion).
Art, 7: There are some cool pieces here, namely for fans of biological horror (mostly to do with dissolving). It's solid otherwise as well.
Characters, 5: I thought
the idea of a constantly apologetic character (Yuuma) was intriguing, but his character didn't extend much beyond that, nor did his sister's personality. All of the side characters were fairly flat as well.
Enjoyment, 5: It was a quick read, but it didn't thrill me until the final chapter.
Overall, 5: Fans of Ito's other works that contain longer plotlines ("Gyo", "Uzumaki") may find this more appealing than the various volumes that collect his one-shots (as this volume offers a multi-chapter story), but I don't think it's really on par with those works, in terms of storytelling or characters. The final chapter in this volume almost makes it worth the read, but I wouldn't recommend this particular story, other than to superfans of Ito Junji.
According to friends IRL and users on MAL, this book allegedly pales in comparison to Junji Ito's other works. Well, as someone who had this book be their first Junji Ito work, I would make the rather bold statement that this would fit right it with iconic slasher films I grew up with.
What I mean by that is this book is ridiculous. You have cute, creepy-ass kids who have supernatural powers and act in almost cartoonish ways, with gore and imagery that well suits the expectations I had regarding Junji Ito's craft. I love both main characters the same way I loved Chuckie, Freddie, Jason,
etc. This feels like such a breath of fresh air in a time where this genre is getting misused and tired in today's slasher flicks, ones where they take the horror aspect too seriously or sequels where they simply forget the charm of the originals.
What I'm saying is, if you want good horror, look no further and pick this up. The art's great and fantastically creepy, the main characters are very charming, and the stories are well-crafted. Meantime, I'll definitely be looking more into Junji Ito's works.