Manga Review | Uzumaki by Junji Ito

Uzumaki is perfect if you need some H.P. Lovecraft vibes in your life.

In this manga, spirals take over a rural town. Yes, you read that right. Spirals. As in the pattern.

At first, it all seems very innocent. People become fascinated with snails and other things that have a spiral pattern, but it all gets worse as you keep turning the pages.

High school couple Kirie and Shuichi find themselves in the middle of it all. The question is, will they manage to get out alive or will The Cursed Spiral suck them in?

Review

People often say that it’s hard to come up with anything original since it’s all been done before. Uzumaki begs to differ. It’s out-of-the-box horror that will make you shrink back, cringe and wonder what the hell is going in mere minutes.

The manga is full of characters, plot twists and strange occurrences that I’m convinced only Junji Ito can come up with.

It starts off strong. The first chapter alone is beyond atmospheric. You can feel the promise of worse things ahead in the harsh lines, eerie dialogue and the shadows under Shuichi’s eyes.

The next chapters continue to build on its stranger-things-ahead promise. As soon as you think you’ve seen the weirdest thing imaginable, Junji Ito comes up with something even stranger.

My issues lie with the last quarter of the manga. I understand that horror requires suspension of disbelief, and I was ready for the wild ride Uzumaki took me on. After a while, though, I got a little weary.

The art was still amazing. The plot twists kept me on the edge of my seat. But Kirie, the main character, was too stupid to live. This is a huge problem since the story revolves around her.

By the time I read half of Uzumaki and had seen all sorts of strange things, Kirie continued to act surprised. GUUURL, you’ve been in this manga since Day One. How have you not developed any survival instincts?

Shuichi also kept asking Kirie to leave the town with him, especially after it became clear that their lives were in danger. Kirie refused every time, and I couldn’t see why. Did she want to stay with her family? Why wouldn’t she just leave? Was she not ready for a night of passion with Shui– Okay, I’ll stop now.

It soon started to feel like Kirie’s only role in the story was to be pretty and to be rescued. Sure, adjusting to all these life-threatening events would be hard. However, if you face one every day, would you not be forced to develop some common sense? Would you not want to learn how to defend yourself?

I don’t want to be Negative Nancy, so I’ll end this review by saying Uzumaki is an incredibly cohesive manga. All the seemingly unconnected elements came together in the end in the most satisfying way imaginable.

Conclusion

Overall, I would give Uzumaki 3.5 out of 5 stars. I loved the manga’s eerie atmosphere and looked forward to every spiral that popped up. The characters, however, left much to be desired. It got to a point where I only wanted to see how things would turn out and didn’t care if Kirie tripped face-first into a puddle.

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