Uzumaki 3-in-1 Deluxe Edition HC (Manga)
Publisher: Viz Media
Release Date: 10/15/2013
Price: $27.99
Creator: Junji Ito (story and art)
Format: 648 pgs., B&W, Hardcover
ISBN: 9-781-4215-6132-5
Age Rating: Older Teen
ICv2 Rating: 3 stars out of 5
It is interesting to think that we could be so completely surrounded by something as simple as a spiral shape and never once think about it.  It's in our bodies, our fingers, our fashion… it's literally everywhere.  What if that particular shape were cursed however?  What if that shape could drive a person or even an entire village to madness and damnation?  That's the question posed to us in the manga Uzumaki.
Taking place in the village of Kurozu-cho, the story follows a teenage girl named Kirie and her boyfriend Shuichi.  They live in the small village but only he realizes that the village is cursed and terrible things are about to happen.  It starts with Shuichi's father who becomes obsessed by spiral patterns to the point of insanity and death.  Soon it's his mother who is cursed and then Kirie's father and soon the entire village is taken in by a curse from which there is no escape.
For over 700 pages, this manga will take readers down an elaborate, one-way path which could be called a horrific journey.  Within the pages, readers will encounter absolutely disgusting (and I mean that in a good way) artwork and sometimes scary but mostly silly stories and that's kind of where the manga starts to fall apart.
For a horror manga, the stories in this book are not actually very scary.  In many ways, they are completely ridiculous.  The first couple of chapters within this book reveal a very creepy world and a mystery that will intrigue the audience into wanting to learn more.  What they will get for the next 600 pages or so are stories that involve hair coming to life, people turning into snails, fetuses being sewn back into their mother, blood drinking… the works.  The author of this book, Junji Ito, is never lacking on ideas for disgusting and bloody plot twists but as I said earlier, most of them come across as silly more than scary.
The real value that readers are going to find in this book is in the artwork.  If these stories were just presented on their own without any sort of illustration, this book would have been a colossal failure.  However, when it is paired with the absolutely dark and bloody artwork that inhabits this book it can become very scary indeed which is why this book is being rated as highly as it is.
If you want a book that is disgustingly bloody and visceral and don't really care about the story that comes with it, this is an absolutely perfect book for you and should not hesitate to pick this one up.  If, however, you're someone who is more interested in finding a scary mystery story with a succinct ending that answers all of your questions, you'll want to stay far away from this one.  Overall this is an average read and nothing that anyone needs to go out of their way to pick up.
-- L.B. Bryant