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Kurôzu-cho, a small fogbound town on the coast of Japan, is cursed. According to Shuichi Saito, the withdrawn boyfriend of teenager Kirie Goshima, their town is haunted not by a person or being but by a pattern: uzumaki, the spiral, the hypnotic secret shape of the world. It manifests itself in small ways: seashells, ferns, whirlpools in water, whirlwinds in air. And in large ways: the spiral marks on people's bodies, the insane obsessions of Shuichi's father, the voice from the cochlea in your inner ear. As the madness spreads, the inhabitants of Kurôzu-cho are pulled ever deeper, as if into a whirlpool from which there is no return...
うずまき 漩涡 Spirála Spirale (French) The Spiral Vortex Whirlpool
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Clever horror, but disappoints in the end
I thought this series was generally quite clever. The idea of basing the series on the notion that the spiral, a beautiful design which occurs naturally in many places, could become a "force" which steadily draws in everything and devours it, was interesting. Also, the people are drawn well, and the environment and its spirals have a lot of detail. It has a carefully crafted pervasive atmosphere that even the reader can feel, just like the spiral's pervasive presence in the world. I didn't like the gruesome stuff (it's not unbearable, but certainly not for kids), but it is a horror after all. I also thought the lead-in to ending was well done. (When this lead-in starts, the manga sort of shifts from being various short horror stories around one theme to more of an adventure story style, where the events in the chapters connect. I liked this later part better since it was more like an adventure, but those who like more of a pure horror story might like the beginning more.) But the ending was so half-hearted and incredibly unsatisfying--the mangaka didn't even bother to explain the basis of the spiral curse, why it plagued this particular town, or anything. Explaining more will involve spoilers, so read in the box if you're interested:
Spoiler (mouse over to view)
The part leading up to the ending was the best, in my opinion. Making the whole town naturally be built into a huge spiral unwittingly by its inhabitants was really clever, especially since we were made to wonder about why the old houses weren't destroyed and at the design on the old map. And then it turned out there was a path leading underground in the old lake--with a spiral staircase of course. It was exciting to finally find out what was hiding in the lake. And then it turned out there was a whole "spiral kingdom" down there, the source of the spiral curse! I think this was designed well by the mangaka, engaging the reader with the promise of finding out what was causing everything, gradually revealing ever more grand and more mysterious spiral "secrets" which were behind the events: from small individual occurrences with spirals, to the swirling lake, to the whole town's structure, to a near-endless spiral staircase leading down, to an enormous cave full of a giant spiral castle, around a a giant spiral "eye." But then it just ends: "and then Kirie and Shuichi turned into spirals too, and they stayed that way together forever. The end." What a let-down.
It was lacking both in respect to the characters and in respect to the spiral premise of the story. After coming to like Kirie and Shuichi through all the events, I was left thinking, "That's it? Come on, you're telling me after miraculously surviving all the other stuff, they just went poot? They got all the way to the cause of the spiral curse and then just died?? What was the point of them surviving as normal humans to reach the spiral eye then? And the mangaka didn't give any explanation about the spiral curse, even though that's what the manga was about.
Of course, what I wanted was for Kirie and Shuichi to somehow overcome the spiral curse (They did make it all the way to the source, after all!) and escape the town, but I think this manga still could have had a satisfying ending if, after they "died" (became spiral people who just stare at the "eye"), the mangaka had explained the crux of the spiral curse through narration. The "extra story" chapter at the end is the perfect place for that narration, too! (But instead, it's only a oneshot about a spiral event, like in the beginning of the manga.) Without bothering to tell us why the curse was there, why in that particular location, how the spiral underground eye was created, why it would "turn off" and then back "on" over time, why the spiral curse wasn't able to spread and affect other surrounding areas, etc., it just feels like the foundation of the story is missing. Especially after what I thought was a great lead-in to the ending, it's a real let-down. I can deal with the ending not being happy (well, typical "happy," anyway), but an ending lacking the most important part of the manga (an explanation of the spiral curse), really diminished the experience of reading this for me.
... Last updated on January 23rd, 2014, 12:24am
Junji Ito really knows his stuff
First of all, I didn't think there could be anything more disturbing than Gyo until I read this. It's seriously twisted (no pun intended). If you have doubts about this, or think, "Really, what could be so scary about spirals?" well think again. That's what I thought at first, until I gave this a try and wow, it gets under your skin! For example, in one chapter a guy becomes a snail and it's one of the nastiest things I have ever seen drawn. That's another thing. The art is very good and consistent. It's very Edward Gorey-esque and the strong contrast of black and white, the texturing, and the crosshatching with pen and ink is super effective.
The only thing I don't like is how each chapter is its own short story, and the next one doesn't really touch on the previous one. It's just its own separate plot with the spiral. But they do NOT disappoint! The story really does draw you in like a spiral does and I highly recommend it for horror fans!
... Last updated on June 2nd, 2012, 6:00pm
This is the first manga of the horror genre that gave me the chills,it was creepy and beautiful at the same time.I think this manga beats other horror mangas that are just gore, the atmosphere of this manga was chilling and great build up in the stores. You don't realise just how creepy this manga is until the end. When I was finished reading it I was in awe. Must read for all horror lovers.
Waste of time.
The story is basically a series of oneshots with the same main theme.I found the stories boring,sometimes more funny rather than horrifying like the snail chapter for example.Why haven't anyone tried to abandon the city in volumes 1 and 2 in the first place?
don't watch the movie
or please read the manga first. Some important things, and the ending in the movie were changed, so not to go into detail, the movie was good until the boyfriend turned into an evil worm and tried to kill the main character, etc. Not something that even closely happened in the manga
The manga was pretty amazing though, it was the first Junji Ito i'd read, and I am still a huge fan. Awesome art and strange and good storyline, and good ending.
you must read this
this is the best manga i have ever read, period. The characters don't really seem to grow, but thats alright since they're already pretty mature anyway. I don't think its really needed to show how they changed over time. The horror was a realistic mindf*ck and even though its really a bunch of oneshots with the same characters in it the story kept me engrossed. Theres even a little bit of romance, but i dont suggest reading this just for the romance. The ending was open, but it wasnt that confusing-although it might be for other people. The art is amazing, with all the spirals and whatnot.
Having heard a lot about Uzumaki i thought about taking a chance and end the speculation. I'm a big fan of horror so i just couldn't pass this manga up. And what can i say? It was amazing, after reading the first two chapters i was mesmerized and a bit disgusted. So i decided to read it as many chapters as i could in one night, the horror concept was twisted and played around as much as possible to still be scary: and at some points it was, it was brutal. The first two volumes were very, very good, but the third volume was kind of a let down. It was obvious that the semi episodic nature of the manga had to end, there had to be evidence of a greater evil so to speak, which put the characters in a flawed thriller. I have to give kudos because it is a very original concept, but had the final volume been better and still scary it would have gotten a 9. Another thing that i have to mention is that although the art isn't mindblowing it really works for the story, having also read Gyo i became familiar with it and it was really enjoyable.
Overall it is a magical little trip towards an insane ridden, obscure, twisted world that horror fans should take, if only just to see something different.
One of the best horror
This manga really knows how to get to you. Most of the time it's very suttle...but this itself is very scary. Like how people cringe at the thought of ripping your nails off...i started to feel like puking any time i saw snails after finishing this. Don't expect to be comforted. Get ready for a ride you won't forget. 10/10
Definitely disturbing and horror-filled, in a good way if you're really into that kind of manga. I wasn't, but I still found it very interesting. It was still too depressing for me though. I would have liked it if at least ONE person was said to have survived. And by the third volume just looking at the spiral-y drawings made my head hurt. Scary!!!
i have to agree with some previous comments. the beginning was fantastic - solid premise with a lot of promise. i really enjoyed the little 'adventures' and the spiral observations in nature. the art was superb and clean, and the story-telling was very well-timed, but by the third volume, things got a little too absurd. and i didn't like the ending. it felt like ...a cop-out? it was unsatisfactory. regardless, i enjoyed reading it.