For this review, I'll be analysing Jisatsu Circle by Usamaru Furuya. The concept of the series comes from a movie bearing the same title. While not a direct adaptation, it nonetheless comprises of the same elements: troubled children and suicide.
The suicidal dive of 54 schoolgirls at Shinjuku station is one of the most memorable opening sequences in any manga I have read. Gruesome and deeply biting, the opening jump alone sets what is profoundly a scary commentary on the state of Japanese contemporary society. It is on this note that Jisatsu Circle introduces one of the most disturbing stories I have ever experienced.
The horror theme of the manga is heavily accentuated by the art. Characters are drawn pragmatically, bodies are realistically ripped apart, and moods and emotions are easily conveyed through facial expressions. The odd styling of Furuya gives the series a strong grotesque frame of reference.
Saya is demented. All the girls in the club are demented. They mentally and physically break themselves down in order to gain a sense of happiness which is found, scarily enough, in their deaths. They are, in all sagacity, the fundamental source of horror in the series. Through them, Furuya highlights the importance and the profound fragility of life.
The series brought me a strange kind of experience. Although I was intensely engrossed by the story, I strongly felt a sensation of fragility. In all honesty, I have not read anything like it before. It brought me, what can be best described as, a bitter-sweet enjoyment.
Jisatsu Circle provides a terrifying and disturbing volume on Japanese contemporary society. It leaves us to question the very state of their world but also, our own mental states. A sickening and deeply depressing piece of horror, Jisatsu Circle is not one for the faint of heart.