Manga Mondays: The Enigma of Amigara Fault

Wow, so, this is about a million miles off from my usual Manga Mondays fare, and before I begin to explain the story, let me get this out of the way:

TW: Claustrophobia, Body Horror

1The Enigma of Amigara Fault is a one-shot story of about thirty pages by Junji Ito, and, when it showed up on my Tumblr dash a week or two ago, just reading the author’s name should have clued me in that this was, perhaps, 2spooky4me. Tsunderin has reviewed Ito’s manga here before, and I should have remembered from just reading her review that Ito goes in for the psychological creepiness and body horror without pulling any punches. Regret, I has it.

The story of Amigara Fault runs something like this: following an earthquake in one of Japan’s prefectures, a giant faultline appears in the side of Amigara Mountain. Upon examining the huge crack in the earth, it’s soon discovered that it’s full of hundreds of naturally-occurring human-shaped holes, which go deeper into the mountain’s surface than any simple probes or measuring devices are able to detect. People from all over come to investigate and rubberneck at the sight, and soon certain visitors get the unavoidable impression that certain holes are meant for them in particular, and are struck with an irrational desire to fit themselves into the crevices. What happens when they snap and climb in? Well, I’ll leave that to you to find out—it is only thirty pages, after all.

human-shaped holes amigara fault

Euuughhh, it makes my skin crawl.

Every time I encounter a scary story or movie, I think to myself, “This time I’ll be okay; this time I won’t let it get to me.” In actuality, I have a particularly low tolerance, although eight seasons of Supernatural have increased my vulnerability to jump-scares. Needless to say, I was unsuccessful yet again in not being disturbed by a scary thing; thanks a lot, Ito-sensei. However, if you’re into horror manga or just scary stories in general, this is a great example of how to tell a terrifying original story in a small space (whoops, accidental pun) with only a little buildup, backstory, or exposition.

If you’re up for spending the rest of your day feeling totally unsettled, you can read the full story here.

Manga Mondays: Tomie

tomie-l0Let’s face it: school is rough. Especially high school, what with all the cliques and trying to fit in, and you know, those annoying people that never know when to let well enough alone. Yet, for the most part, once we enter the school system we can pretty much figure where we’re going to be for the rest of the four or so years due to two things: income and looks. I would venture to guess that this is pretty much true anywhere, but since the former would make a pretty boring motivation (usually, Ouran High School Host Club covered monetary divisions more than usual, but that’s for another Monday) the latter is usually the one discussed and exploited in media. Pretty equals popular and popular hardly ever equals good (much less smart): not a good stereotype to be sure, but it is what it is. This is the scenario we are faced with when reading manga—female centric manga—that takes place in school: there’s always that one bitchy popular chick that tries to ruin the protagonist but is eventually changed by the purity and goodwill of the protagonist. But what would the result be if that didn’t happen? In fact, let’s change it up all together: let’s focus the story on this high school prima donna. Such is the twist in Junji Ito’s Tomie series.

Trigger warning now: if you choose to look into this series it’s extremely gory. Read at your own risk.

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