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Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru
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Uzumaki by Junji Ito
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Uzumaki: 07/30/20


Uzumaki by Junji Ito is the collection of the entire run of the manga series. It's 648 pages of manga, though broken down into shorter stories, each one being a bit like a Twilight Zone episode.

Everything is set in the small fog-bound town of Kurouzu-cho. It's a town infested with evil spirals. Spirals that drive people mad, kill them, mutate them.

These horror shorts are narrated by a girl and a boy who live in the village. The boy loses his father to the spirals and then his mother. The girl's father is a potter and his pieces become distorted by the spirals.

These entire series, though Japanese, sits in the road narrative spectrum as an outlier. The boy and girl are marginalized travelers (66) because they don't have much in the way of personal agency. They are trapped in Kurouzu-cho by circumstance and probably by the spirals like everyone else in the town. The destination is the rural town (33) itself, or rather all the traveling is done within the confines of it. The route taken is the labyrinth (99) — which is just a fancy way of saying the spiral. While the spiral is usually a peaceful, contemplative means of transformation, the gist here is that the transformation is horrific. All together, Uzumaki is the tale of marginalized travelers trapped in a rural town on a labyrinthine path.

Three stars

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