Wednesday, October 20, 2010

You can call the spiral from within.

I remember the mention of spirals last week from class and how they tend to be mesmerizing in their own way because of their pattern. I immediately thought of what I wanted to post for this week. I heard about "Uzumaki" a few years back and was told it was a pretty cool Japanese movie. Whilst getting ready for my yearly October horror movie watching, my friend showed me that there was a comic that the movie was based off of. As soon as I saw this page in the first chapter, I quickly became obsessed and could only think:

"It's sick as hell."

Uzumaki is a horror manga by Junji Ito that was published in Shogakukan's weekly "Big Comic Spirits", a seinen manga magazine in 1998. (Seinen just means that it is targeted to a male audience between the ages of 18 and 30.) It revolves around a small town that gets drawn in to a spiral obsession. Many different spiral obsessions occur that lead to a gruesome death for the subject. This image particularly demonstrates the first spiral death that occurs in the town. It displays just how powerful the obsession can be and what you can do visually with just the pattern of a spiral. The eye naturally tends to follow the pattern of a spiral and with the body in this image; the eye can see how his shape contorted to fit the pattern. The artist's intent with this image is to horrify, disturb and maybe even satisfy his audience. (To each their own yes?) Style wise, I feel it fits the seinen genre, since they tend to be darker drawings with less emphasis on typical "anime" eyes and other features. In terms of what it was made for, I believe it succeeded very well. It's mature enough both in its story and visualization to appeal to young adults.

In my opinion if you're into this type of stuff, it's great visual inspiration and a pretty quick read. You can find it easily online. I'd also say to check out the movie as well.
Here is one place to read it that I found to have the least annoying pop-ups and such: link


  1. that’s pretty horrific indeed. Though I don’t like horror at all, I think I might read this (but most likely not watch the movie, eek) The comic has a interesting aspect. It took me a moment to realize that that spiral in the wooden tub was a body at first glance, was really noticeable when I clicked the full size. I really like the texture scratch lines and hatching they use to show the dynamic of the work and how you can make out parts of the body, head, chest, feet, and hands. Surely a unpleasant way to die and witness. It’s a pretty interesting concept using swirls in this way, and to see the variations of how a swirl is used/experienced. I know my weekend is to be partly taken up reading this creepy comic.

  2. I've only read a few manga in my time. There's a whole bunch out there that aren't very interesting to me and the drawing styles worse. This one looks like one i would be interested in checking out. I like the style in which it's drawn. Think it adds a lot to the story. I've heard of the movie, but never knew it was based off a manga. Think i'll have a look at this one, im into dark stuff like this. If you're interested "Berserk" is pretty dope. One of my favs.

  3. Wow. I love the repetition of patterns on those pages. It's definitely mesmerizing. Takes me back to when I read the manga for The Ring (which I also recommend) in high school.. The more disturbing it is, the more likely it is to stick in your memory.

  4. I think the patterns are why I'm so in love with this manga. I'd be interested in what you guys think if you do get a chance to read it. :) I've seen Berserk before, but never really took the time to read it. I'll definitely check it out as well as The Ring manga (I didn't even know there was one!)