Uzumaki: A Horror Manga Review

I don’t usually read manga but I often make an exception for the horror genre.  Some of the best horror comes out of Japan, so I did not hesitate to purchase one such manga titled Uzumaki by Junji Ito.  Junji Ito is a horror manga master and this work could be considered his magnum opus. This manga is a large tome dedicated to a single story of a town plagued by a symbol, giving this book a truly unique premise.  Uzumaki means spiral in Japanese and it is this symbol that becomes the focus and main terror in this work.


I love that Ito chose the spiral to base this work upon.  Not only does the spiral shape have a profound mathematical significance, spirals also hold a prominent place in many pagan beliefs. Artwork with spirals begin to appear as early as 4000 BCE in Europe and in 3200 BCE the Celts covered the prehistoric site of Newgrange in triple spiral imagery.  Beyond Europe, the spiral appears in many other ancient cultures from early pre-columbian art in Mexico to architectural details from the Tang Dynasty in China.  It is truly one of the most familiar and profound early symbols.

In Uzumaki, the spirals begin to appear throughout the town in various ways, among blades of grass, in the swirl of an eye, and floating among the clouds.  The spirals are calm and beautiful at first.  Though as certain individuals begin to become obsessed with the spirals, the horror aspect begins to take shape.  I don’t want to give away spoilers, but safe to say things don’t go well for those that see the spirals in this small seaside town.  As you read, you might even become paranoid and begin noticing spirals in your life.  This manga is such a beautiful trippy narrative to get sucked into.  And as you get sucked in and spiral downward, I hope you enjoy the ride..