Month: July 2019

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    I’m working double shifts at my freelance gardening job – I’m raking it in.


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    Started reading The Dark Tower series

    I started reading The Gunslinger about a year ago but only got about half way through.

    After someone at work mentioned The Dark Tower series today, I was inspired to pick it back up and try again.

    Here goes…


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    Demon’s Voice

    Maybe it’s not a siren at all… maybe it’s the cry of a demon.

    The voices begin to scare the crew โ€” Demon’s Voice

    Demon’s Voice โ€” synopsis

    Somewhere out in the middle of the ocean, a group of fishermen are scouting the open seas for a decent catch. It’s been a while since they have had a really good catch, but they continue on nonetheless โ€” determined.

    One night, whilst sailing across the deadly waves, a shrill cry is heard by the crew – what sounds like the voice; the voice of a demon. Luckily for one crew member, Koji, he happens to be inside the cabin with sea sickness when the voices begin.

    The very next day, seemingly out of nowhere, the crew obtain the catch of their lives. In the nets they see masses of tuna; the biggest catch they could have ever imagined. Koji, however, sees what is really in those nets: a huge pile of rotting corpses pulled up out of the sea bed.

    The crew, it seems, have started hallucinating – all except for Koji. The obvious cause seems to be the strange sounds from the night before. With Koji being ill in bed, he had failed to hear them. But what will happen once he hears them too? Once all of the crew are affected by those wailing sounds, what else will they end up dredging up from the ocean’s bed?

    Characters

    Thoughts on Demon’s Voice

    A real mystery this one – a warning to sailors.

    This seems to be inspired by the legends of the Sirens of the rocks – at least to me. The beautiful women who would lure sailors to their doom by sitting naked and playing sweet music. But in true Junji Ito style, we switch the sweet music for piercing night howls and naked ladies for rotting, horrifying corpses.

    I always find the stories that are set in a single location interesting. It’s good to see how a writer crafts an engaging tale when working within a self-imposed limit like that. And Ito is as equipped as any of the best in doing so. The claustrophobia of the boat can be felt throughout, as can the imposing nature of the sea around them.

    The idea of a small group of people being out on the open seas together is already a thought that could bring fears of isolation and the worry of having nowhere to turn for privacy. But when you throw in the idea of pulling up a load of old decaying corpses from the ocean floor, suddenly the great big ocean doesn’t feel so big any more.

    Summary

    Demon’s Voice is another short one shot story from Ito. The story is pretty straight forward and succinct. And like a lot of his shorter tales, packs a lot into its few pages.

    He creates a world that could easily be further explored: What happens to this, and presumably other, crews? Where is this voice coming from? Why is there a malevolent force at work that is preying on innocent sailors.

    I was reminded of another manga i’d read recently called “Mountain of Gods Precipice of the Unknown”. That too deals with an unknown force that is targeting a specific group of people. And for reasons unknown.

    All in all, Demon’s Voice is a nice little story about the sirens in the ocean. Sail on.


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    Neon Demon posters

    The Neon Demon is one of my favourite films of recent years. I wrote up my thoughts on it a while back. Here are some of my favourite posters that I’ve found, created by other fans of the film.


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    The Bully

    The Bully is one of those rare Junji Ito mangas that features no physical horror or gore. Instead, it’s horror is depicted through the bullying inflicted by the central character, Kuriko.

    Synopsis: What is “The Bully” about?

    In The Bully we follow Kuriko and the boys around her who end up suffering in one way or another. From the manga’s opening pages we are led to believe that she is a sweet woman who only wants to be honest with her husband-to-be.

    We join Kuriko and her soon-to-be-Husband Yutaro at a local park, where they once played as children. She tells him how she wishes to confess details to him of her “dark past”, as she puts it. Kuriko tells him, and us through a flashback, of how she was once entrusted to look after a young boy, called Nao, when she was just a young girl herself.

    But the trust put in her for that little boy’s welfare was misplaced, it seems. Kuriko goes on to reveal how, when Nao would start becoming too clingy with her, she would start bullying him. She started lightly with just screaming in his ear, but the story soon escalates her abuse into some pretty harsh scenes.

    As the story of The Bully moves into it’s second half, it shows us how those earlier events have affected those people in the present day. We learn where those people are now in life and ultimately how Kuriko’s volatile nature affects each and every one of them.

    Main Characters

    A tough read at times

    When we talk about horror with regards to Junji Ito, we often talk about the body horror aspects more often than not. We discuss slug-people, Spirals, and a certain girl who can not die. But in The Bully, Ito has crafted what I believe to be one of his most successfully-unnerving horror stories to date.

    Although Kuriko is the main character here, I couldn’t help but empathise with Nao in those flashbacks. Where he was made to drink dirty water; where he was made to confront the scary dog “Devil”; and where he is beaten with a stick.

    How Ito manages to bring to the page the horrors of being bullied is impressive. The innocent character of Nao was a perfect vessel in which we can put all of our hope and caring natures in to. Kuriko, on the other hand, was the perfect vessel for evil.

    Although…

    Kuriko is a bully to Nao

    Kuriko is an interesting character

    The fact that our introduction to Kuriko is at a point in life where she seems settled, and is opening up about her past, gave me a positive feeling about her. And just as negative first impressions can colour our image of people, I think positive ones can too.

    Because of this, I found myself never really hating her, save for the dog scene and the beating. I found myself not liking her actions, but thinking about how we aren’t the same people as we were when we were younger. This doesn’t excuse those actions, but she is confessing through an apparent weight of guilt.

    Of course in the story’s closing panels we do get to see her character transform into what she was perhaps destined to be. That closing panel of The Bully is one of the most frightening I have come across. Ito has always had a good eye for a great closing image that can haunt you, but this takes the prize.

    Kuriko and Nao meet again

    History repeats itself?

    When stories take on the heavy subject of abuse, there are often times when the one who was abused later becomes the abuser to another. The cycle of violence. But something that I found very intriguing in The Bully, was that Junji Ito seemed to turn those ideas on their heads.

    Kuriko seemed to have a nice family upbringing from what I could see in the flashbacks and yet something in her snapped at a young age. Then after being bullied relentlessly by her, Nao seemed to actually grow up to become a well-adjusted adult. He had a solid job and actually reminisced about his younger days with a kind of fondness. Love is blind, it seems.

    But the story’s big reveal doesn’t show this violent nature being passed on to her child, but instead โ€” and ultimately more terrifying โ€” it shows Kuriko relapsing and unleashing a scarier version of her buried self.

    Not only do we know what she was capable of as a child, but we know she is now a fully grown woman with the added strength that brings. And we know she is mentally unstable โ€” mistaking her young son for the once-young Nao. But what we don’t know, is what ends up happened to her new victim. With it ending with a walk to the park, perhaps the real horror will live on in our minds trying to imagine what will happen next.

    In Summary

    The Bully has been getting recommended to me for a while now, and I never got round to reading it until recently. Now I see what all the fuss is about. This story is one of Junji Ito’s crowning achievements in my opinion. The way that he has developed each of the characters and gone against what you would perhaps have guessed would happen with them, is a stroke of genius.

    Ito never takes the easy way out; he always pushes up to the boundaries and often past them. Despite him being one of the most accessible horror manga artists of our time, he remains one of the most terrifying and creative too.

    If you want to jump into the deep end of horror manga but without all of the blood and guts, then Junji Ito’s The Bully is literally the perfect example of a story to read. It is also a self-contained one shot, standing at just 30 pages. So you could read this in one short go.


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    Archie === Best dog ever ?

    Archie during my dog-sitting week.

    Woof woof! Woof!

    Archie, circa 2019

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    Welcome to the Junji Ito Manga Site

    The Junji Ito Manga Site is my dedication to the works of acclaimed Horror Manga artist and writer, Junji Ito.

    Ever since I read my first manga, The Enigma of Amigara Fault, I was hooked on Junji Ito’s work. I couldn’t quite describe the feelings that his work gave me.

    I was unsettled;

    I was excited;

    and I loved it.

    After writing about his, and other artists’, works on my other website, the Horror Manga Site, I have decided to focus in on just Ito’s work for now. Hence this new website.

    Early days

    It is still early days and so the website itself still needs some work. However, it is working fine and all of my posts can now be read.

    There are just some style tweaks I’d like to make.

    Future Plans

    I will be looking to add reviews for all of Ito’s manga stories over the coming months, as well as the Anime and Films that have been based on his work.

    I’d also like to share cool cosplays and fan art that I come across too, with full credit given to the creators of course.

    I’m very excited about what the next year and beyond could bring with this site and would love for you all to join me on this journey.

    Thank You

    I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the people who have supported me throughout my writing on the Horror Manga Site. I appreciate each and every one of you and am looking forward to bringing you even more from here going forwards.

    All the best to all of you,

    Dave.


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    Watching Archer again

    Cheryl and Archer

    Loving the recent formats of the TV series Archer. Finally got back into watching it – Dreamland was great and just about to start Danger Island.


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    I’m finally back into American Horror Story Apocalypse

    Micheal, eat your heart out

    Once again, I have left the current series of American Horror Story until months after it has finished airing. I think it must be something inside me that doesn’t want to reach the end.

    Last night I watched four episodes back to back — and I absolutely loved it. The old characters that have been making appearances have been so great. And the music, as always, is terrific.

    Can’t wait to see how this series wraps up, and of course to begin 1984 in a few months time.