by Junji Ito
Second book in the Uzumaki series; Vol. 1 reviewed here
The plague of spirals has continued to spread across the small Japanese town of Kurozu-cho. Two teenagers, Kirie and Shuichi, are the only people who seem aware of the insidious nature of the spiral. Shuichi reacts by going into seclusion, while Kirie does her best to continue her normal routines. At school, the spiral effect is in full force. One of her classmates, an immature boy with a crush on Kirie, finds a truly gruesome way to display his love. Another boy, slow-witted Katayama, only comes to class when it rains. On his back, a spiral-shaped protuberance seems to be growing into a snail's shell. The town's lighthouse shoots a mysterious beam of light over the ocean, but there hasn't been a keeper working there in years. With mysterious bloodsuckers haunting the hospitals and a typhoon calling Kirie's name, everything's spiraling out of control!
By the end of the second volume of Uzumaki, something was definitely bothering me. Why doesn't Kirie leave??? At this point, she's very well aware that something is wrong with Kurozu-cho, but whenever something horrific happens she shrugs it off as indifferently as the rest of the town. Even Shuichi, who has known from the first chapter about the spirals, has stopped trying to talk Kirie into leaving. I assume that this is somehow an effect of the spiral phenomena; otherwise, every resident of the town would have run from the place screaming ages ago! As it is, she suffers from Dumb Horror Movie Heroine syndrome.
Of course, even if no one is smart enough to leave, the viewer cn still see how the recent events have changed the lives of the inhabitants of Kurozu-cho. For example, burials come back into fashion after the smoke from creations formed a spiral pattern in the sky. It's nice that the author included these little snippets of daily life; it really helps round out the story.
This is an addictive series if you're a fan of horror. The visual effects are very creative and Junji Ito manages to cram a lot of action into his short stories. It is very graphic, though – a storyline revolving around pregnancy is particularly violent and bloody.
4 out of 5 stars
To read more about Uzumaki Vol. 2, buy it from an independent bookstore or add it to your wishlist click here.