Hideshi Hino’s Hell Baby Horror Manga is one of the saddest Manga stories I have read so far. Although the titular ‘Hell Baby’ is grotesque and brutal in her approach to all things, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her from start to finish.
On a dark and stormy night, somewhere in Japan a baby is born; a beautiful baby girl. However, so to is a disfigured and slightly demonic twin. Instead of taking this baby in too, she is instead dumped in a bag at a huge dump known as The World’s graveyard.
It is in this ‘graveyard’ that Hell Baby dies and is subsequently resurrected by mysterious converging flames. Despite being taught nothing of the world, this child still manages to cling to her life by preying on the dirty insects and small mammals of the area.
Her deep-rooted desire for family, and the guidance of a mystery figure, lead her into the nearby city. It is here that she begins unleashing her own hell on the inhabitants whilst in search for something she is missing. This something just may be the very family, the father, who left her for dead.
In all of the Horror Manga stories I have read, the more grotesque characters tend to be the evil ones; the antagonists. Whilst the more good-natured people generally tend to be on the side of good. But with Hell Baby, sort of like with his Panorama of Hell, Hideshi Hino turns these ideas of good and evil on their heads.
The Hell Baby, as it is called throughout the story, is no more than an unfortunate soul dealt a rotten hand in life. Not only that, but her own father chooses to abandon her for dead rather than feel ashamed by his second-born. The real evil one here, in my opinion, is that father.
The disowned child lives only the way she could to survive. Her learned actions then carry her through to the vicious attacks she performs later on. Although you can’t forgive Hell Baby for what she does to innocent bystanders, you do still have to look at it from her perspective. Here is an unfortunate girl who was cast out and left to fend for herself, looking for the missing love wherever she can find it.
This Manga story was a quick read for me - about fifteen minutes in total. I loved revisting the style of world that I had come to love from Hino’s other work. This is a lot smaller in scope, but no less accomplished in it’s whole. The artwork is just as graphic and raw as I remember from his style. He also retains that more cartoonish character look that he has over most other Mangas.
If you have a short wait, such as on your daily commute, why not give Hell Baby a read? If you are fed up with that commute, maybe you’ll feel a little better about it after reading about this girl’s life.