Japanese Horror Manga Reviews

September 12, 2012



Foreign ghost movies about cell-phones, dead children and girls with uzis for hands aside, I've only recently engulfed myself in the literary insanity that is Japanese Horror Manga, so I'm not even going to bother pretending to sound like I know what I'm talking about in this article. Instead I'm simply going to suggest that you seek out anything that seems interesting to you and READ IT! Chances are high that it's good, and if it's not, it's most likely weird enough to at least chalk up a 2 minute conversation with your friends that night before you get kicked out for saying "exploding lizard fetus" at the dinner table.


Here's Part 1 of a few selections of some of my favorite Horror Manga books that I have read recently. And thanks to companies like Dark Horse, IDW, Tokyopop & Viz, among others, English translations of a lot of great Horror Manga titles are available on Amazon and in a lot of larger book retailers.



Panorama of Hell by Hideshi Hino

I have no idea what doing PCP is like, but I can imagine that I would never have to as long as I keep re-reading this.


There's a restaurant where people eat themselves, a river of blood, every character could or could not be a zombie based on looks alone, and the story is told as kind of a guided tour through the hellish world of this narrator, who is writing the story in his own blood. The insanity is comedically gratuitous in the beginning, but later transitions into revelations about the character that are a lot more hellishly relatable and... frightening.






Presents by Kanako Inuki

Imagine "Sixteen Candles" written by a gypsy, where forgetting a teenage girl's birthday doesn't just make her mopey, but instead ignites a curse in her that makes her never age and vow revenge on anyone who wrongs her... or just pretty much anyone who she meets, by giving them presents that ruin their lives...with death.





GYO by Junji Ito

Sushi attacks! Well, kinda. If the government ever funds a project that would promote the idea of adorning giant fish with special metal legs and encouraging them to leave the ocean and attack entire cities, GYO makes sure to warn us of that danger before it happens! Hey Government, don't do this, it's a bad idea!






Uzumaki also by Junji Ito

Both of Ito's more popular books are equally great but for vastly different reasons, despite the similar tone and style to them. For Uzumaki, an anthology spread over 3 books, Ito borrowed some descriptive imagery, influence and ideas from HP Lovecraft and substituted Lovecraft's "madness" with "Spirals", which may not sound like much, but the overall collection of stories all revolving around spirals is extremely effective. Every character sees spirals, every inanimate object somehow resembles a spiral, and even an old man turns himself INTO a spiral in the bathtub. It's great.







Thumbs up. All 4. See you next week with Part 2.


–Alex Pardee