One night, mild-mannered college student, Hiroshi Mori, bumps into a woman visiting his next-door neighbor. A large, creepy woman, she has long hair, wears a coat and carries shopping bags in both hands. He had never seen her before. But then, without warning, the woman starts stalking Hiroshi, shifting her attention from his next-door neighbor whom she had been visiting to Hiroshi himself. Who is she and what is she after? Originally published in 1993 - before the term "stalker" was acknowledged in Japanese society, this well-written horror manga is about a young man pursued by a mystery woman. Serialized for just ten weeks, this short, single-volume manga unusually become a hit bestseller, selling a staggering 400,000 copies. Regularly chosen as "the scariest manga ever" in magazine horror specials.
This is one of my favorite mangas.
A really creepy story, I'm pretty sure there's something more on this work because you can't stop reading it.
The stalker lady is one of the creepiest characters ever, it's all about the appearence and the personality, some details on her makes this manga scary as hell.
Story - I only just read Ibitsu the other day and I have to admit that I much prefered Ibitsu to this manga. The plotlines are pretty much identical. Two very creepy women stalking the main lead by breaking into their houses, etc. I felt that Ibitsu however had a lot more meat to the story and in comparison I felt that 'Zashiki Onna' just did not match up to the creepiness and twists that was experienced through Ibitsu. However, if you want a creepy manga without the goriness that is drawn in Ibitsu then this is the better choice to make. I felt the
gore made the Ibitsu what it was. I felt this was more a mere shell of a story.
Art - I wasn't overally bothered by the art but I felt that the creepy tall woman was drawn to look almost unhuman which was pretty well done.
Character - One thing I have to say about this is that I felt there was almost no character development at all. You don't really feel anything for the characters and as a result, the story probably has less of an impact for this reason. Not to sound like a broken record but the characters in Ibitsu were much more development which helped aid in the creepiness. I did not feel this as much from this manga.
Enjoyment - As the manga is short, it didn't take long to read. I think I might have enjoyed it more if I hadn't read Ibitsu first as I may have appreciated the story a little more. I felt the idea in this story is very reminiscent of Stephen King's 'Misery' (which is also worth reading if you like this!).
Overall - I think its pretty clear in this review that I much more preferred Ibitsu to this. If you are one who is partial to a bit of gore and epic creepiness, I highly recommend Ibitsu which literally had me hiding in the company of other with the lights on and in comparison I could watch this in the dark, alone.
Story: The story was pretty addicting, and set to the right pace of the length of the manga. Aside from the predictable fact of knowing that the woman will always be in the most unfortunate places at the most unfortunate times for the main character. However, about halfway through the manga, because of the sudden involvement of other characters and the initiative to rid the main character and co. from the stalker, you don't know how the story will end. Rather than being a teenage scare, this 1993 thriller manga has a somewhat vague and unhappy ending, which makes the story better.
Art: The art
was horrid, to say the least. I understand that the style was supposed to be more realistic, and I think it was. But it wasn't very appealing. The art only really worked for the stalker character and the ugly smile she pulled off towards the end. The story easily makes up for the eyesores, though.
Characters: The characters had typical personalities. Though they weren't all that developed. I feel like the main character had reasons for the why he did some of the things he did, but we never see those reasons. So you're left to chalk it up that he's just an idiot. The mystery behind the stalker woman and lack of background is a good choice. Even though the characters weren't really all that outstanding, it just worked for Zashiki Onna.
I think that this is a good, quick read if you're in the mood to get creeped out. But if you're someone who looks at art as a vital part of the manga and you can't stand reading something unless it has good character development, then you might want to look elsewhere. Definitely something to try out, though.
Man, what a ride. The horror creep (the increase in terror) to Zashiki Onna was a thrill. By the time I got to the end, I was quite literally spooked! I even shuttered at one panel, completely floored by the oncoming horror. I figure not everyone will agree with me on this (and with the mean score being what it is, I can say that with the utmost confidence) but there's an incredible amount of intelligence to the pacing within this single volume. It has levels, so to speak. Each one adding another layer of intensity to the seriousness and helplessness our protagonist is suffering.
It never seems as though they're beyond hope, which is how horror should always be, but it definitely pushes the bizarre factor when it comes to how far things can go before it's too late.
Although I won't get into detail, the story for this manga is everything I was hoping for in Ibitsu. The two are VERY similar, ridiculously so, but this one carries itself much better, whilst dropping the 'creepy loli' aesthetic and dumb grade school cast that I have come to hate as a trope in anime/manga. The characters in this are all in college (save for one high school girlfriend) and it's nice to see the characters do things that makes sense. I won't get into a ton of detail cause I'd likely find myself comparing to much to Ibitsu but, for instance, our characters end up visiting the police station like sane people, although they do visit it while intoxicated, so you can imagine how that turns out in a horror narrative.
So, what else makes Zashiki Onna any good? Well, for one thing, it carries itself as a mystery manga before it's a horror manga. Most horror are exactly that, a mystery, It means there's something to learn, but most of all we're just finding ourselves more and more steps backwards. Is that bad? Not really, considering the genre is primarily horror over mystery, but a lot of the horror comes out of the fact that you CAN'T learn anything. Mystery is about progress, horror is about failure.
I love the realistic designs of the characters, settings, everything. It feels fresh to read something that doesn't try to look cutesy or cartoony. I enjoy when artwork pushes for emulating realism. If not realism, then emulating a respectable style that amplifies the artwork.
As expected, I find myself comparing to Ibitsu again, one of the great things about this manga is the respect it has for it's characters. One thing I abhorred about Ibitsu is how it put female characters in compromising positions. In that, I mean the 'camera' for certain panels were placed behind a teenager a her skirt was lifted. It was pretty stupid considering the girl was pushed over by the horror of the narrative and then you get this random butt shot. I joked, saying how this does nothing for the reader since they're supposed to be scared and now they're treating with something childish and stupid.
At one point, I was worried that Zashiki Onna was going down the same path. I was gonna be real bummed, but thankfully it fit comfortably in the story when something comprimising took place. Of course, as horror goes, it wasn't exactly a good thing that took place, but there was respect for the female body in regards to what happened, and I can't keep out the men either. There's plenty of respect for male proportions too.
And, speaking of proportions, they're all pretty spot on. The bodies look great and motions feel fresh and realistic. I would love to see a full colored version of this manga. I'm sure it would look fantastic.
Probably the weakest category. I don't really know anything about anyone in the manga, but I do know enough to build a narrative in which I care about the characters. At least, in so far as to sympathise with the horror taking place. I mentioned before that I shuttered at one panel. I wouldn't have been scared if I didn't want to see the protagonist survive, so that should be evidence enough that it succeeds in so far as it needs to.
Thuroughly enjoyed this manga. Probably the best horror manga I've read today (3 so far!). I'm excited to read some more spooky stories but I'm totally fine if this one remains the best find for today.
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