Her face was hanging up in the sky, right above that tree there.
A student explains the strange sights he saw — Hanging Blimp
Hanging blimp felt like a waking nightmare to me. The other stories in the Shiver Selected Stories collection had at least some kind of explanation to them. However, with Hanging Blimp, there isn’t any explanation offered as to why strange, head-shaped balloons are coming to town. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing either.
The strange occurrences of this Horror Manga begin when a well-known girl is found hanging from the telephone line outside of her bedroom window. What follows soon after is very strange indeed - her head, floating in the wind, is spotted by one of her school friends. And this isn’t even the strangest part about this story.
What is initially thought to be her actual head, is in fact a giant balloon that bares her exact image. As the story progresses we of course see more of these blimps and even find out what their true, horrific, intentions are.
Perhaps the reason that Hanging Blimp lacks any solid basis for its events, is because it came from a dream of the young Junji Ito. In the commentary contained in the Shiver collection, he explains how a dream came to him before he became a mangaka, which led him to the images that you will find in this story.
I actually love how he hasn’t tried to force any kind of back story into this. Instead, he seems to have stayed true to his dream. Half of what I love about Ito’s work is the artwork itself and the unforgettable images he conjures up. And this story contains, what I would say are, some very memorable images indeed.
This isn’t the scariest story in the Shiver Collection by a long shot. But it is one of the stories that made me think the most about it after reading. The appearance of these head-shaped balloons felt to me to represent the inevitability of death. I felt as if it was showing, very vividly, those people running from their own self-imposed doom. Without ruining the end of the story, I can’t really elaborate on these thoughts though.
Why not give it a read yourself, then we can have a chat and swap ideas? Either below in the comments, or in the Horror Manga Collective group on Facebook.