Uzumaki: Spiral into Horror Review

Mad… mad… the town’s going mad… mad… mad…

“I want to crawl into your ears so badly…I want to curl up inside you and sleep there…deep inside your ears…”

Mr. Saito

From the insane yet brilliant mind of Junji Ito comes his psychological horror masterpiece, Uzumaki. Making use of classic Japanese symbolism as well as slight Lovecraftian themes, this short but great series about a town infected by Spirals will have you gripped from start to finish.

Teen sweethearts Kirie Goshima and Shuichi Saito live in the fictitious town of Kurôzu-cho which, up until recently, has been nothing but plain and boring. This town, however, is starting to feel a little less natural. After arriving back from school one day, Kirie is approached by Shuichi who appears to be fidgety, anxious and suffering from mild hysteria; he asks if she wants to leave the town and then starts to rant incessantly about Spirals infecting its inhabitants.

Things start get worse as more of the townspeople begin to feel the effects of the so-called Spiral infection; Shuichi’s father for instance quits his job to spend all of his days staring at Spirals, whether they be snails shells or organised noodles. After ordering a large, circular tub “large enough to fit a person into” he disappears, only to be found by his son and Kirie, stuffed tightly into the tub, his bones crushed and his body shaped into a grotesque swirl.

There is no more hiding and no more denying, the Spiral is infectious and insatiable. People all over town start to physically show symptoms of its presence; one girl’s hair turns into a self-aware Spiral formation, people start to form horrible Spiral-shaped welts on their backs and others even can twist into ungodly shapes as if their spines are no longer their own, but the infection is only just beginning.

As time progresses, Kirie and Shuichi try to solve the mystery of the Spiral, but are met with nothing but confusion and pain, as even their own minds become twisted. Soon it is too late and they come to realise that they can’t even leave. The Spiral won’t let them…

Uzumaki Colour Page

Describing and reviewing a psychological horror is something that I find to be quite difficult, as I can’t properly explain just how effectual it can be until you read it for yourself. What I can say is that when I read this book (in its 3-in-1 Deluxe Edition form) I read the entire thing in one go at 4am in the dark with only a torch as a light, and the psychological aspects of the book were hilariously apparent; while it didn’t exactly make me afraid to turn the light off, I still find myself thinking “Damn, that was a weirdly awesome and creepy book”.

That being said, after I read the book a second time, I could enjoy the story more for its greatly awkward pacing, its insane characters, and its very disjointed chapters which serve to make this the best horror manga I’ve ever read and one of the greatest across all genres (of course, it does help that horror is one of my favourites to read). So, if you have any interest in a psychological or horror-themed series, this is definitely a must-read!

Pros/Cons! Pros: interesting plot; gripping scenarios/artwork; insane story. Cons: slightly confusing at parts; insane story. (“insane story” fits into both categories because it can be a little full-on for some people e.g. twisting spines and snail-people.)

To bring this review to a close, I’ll say that if you haven’t read any horror manga before now then this will be a bit of a heavy start but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a good read either way (although if you don’t like psychological craziness, you should probably avoid this book altogether).

Uzumaki Cover

Volumes:(Also available as an Omnibus or in a collected Hardcover Deluxe Edition)

Genre: Horror / Psychological / Supernatural

Age Rating: Older Teen (17+ )

Publisher: Viz Media

Writer: Junji Ito

Artist: Junji Ito

So what do you think? Have a think and let us know in the comments section below.

– Isaac



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