This Halloween we conclude our Horror manga run with the final volume of Uzumaki.
Title: Uzumaki Volume 3
Written & Illustrated by Junji Ito
Translation by Yuji Oniki
Published by Shogakukan (Japan) & Viz Media (USA)
Publication Date: October 2002
After the series of typhoons that hit Kurozu-cho, the city has been devastated, with only a few row houses surviving. Loud sounds can cause whirlwinds. Worse – the city is cut off from the outside world. People from the outside can enter, but no-one can leave, nor can people send transmissions out (or receive transmissions from the outside). What will be Kurozu-cho’s final fate?
Volume two had the problem of falling into the trap of “mundane thing with creepy looking spiral elements” – which ruined some of the suspense and tension out of the story. Good news – all that is gone here. Everything resembling the realm of the mundane has left the picture, keeping the reader on edge and tense because there’s nothing really mundane to hold on to, so none of your mundane expectations apply.
This is one of the bleakest endings I’ve seen in a while, and one of the least satisfying bleak endings. It’s a lot like the works of HP Lovecraft, where many of the stories end with the narrator dead or insane, and with the eternal murderous cosmic horror still approaching when the stars are right, and our only hope against them is that their apathy will weigh in favor of total inaction, instead wiping out humanity by accident. Something bleak that I’d consider more satisfying would be the ending of the Elric series – where the universe of the stories, and everyone in it, body and soul, are destroyed, but a new universe is created, one that would hopefully turn out a little better. In general, I’m looking for at least that little glimmer of hope that eventually, things could get better. This doesn’t really have that.* If that’s a problem for you, consider yourself warned.
Contains graphic violence, nudity, and body horror.
Originality: The ending of the story is novel and inventive, and brings the manga back to the elements that I liked from the first volume. 6/6
Story: See the High Point. 6/6
Artwork: Still great, with some particularly well done and creepy as hell apocalyptic imagery. 6/6
Characterization: Unfortunately, this remains the manga’s weakest point. While Shuichi and Kirie are our designated protagonists, they’re not exactly interesting, nor are they deep or fleshed out by anything other then the events we’ve seen them subjected to. 3/6
Emotional Response: This volume is riveting, creepy, and disturbing and draws the reader in to its conclusion. 6/6
Overall: This is a generally satisfying conclusion to a fantastic horror manga. 5/6
In total, Uzumaki, Volume 3 gets 38/42.