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Charles Tan

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Uzumaki Volume 3 (Junji Ito)

Viz Media

Uzumaki Volume

Genre Horror
Age Rating
For Older Teens

With their town devastated by titanic hurricanes, the citizens of the spiral-haunted town of Kurôzu-cho--including Shuichi, Kirie and her family--find themselves cut off from the outside world. Reporters and rescue teams cross the mountain range into Kurôzu-cho only to find themselves unable to leave. Trapped inside the cursed ruins, the desperate survivors struggle and huddle together, waiting to run into giant snails or worse. The very laws of nature are changed as the spiral sucks them in. And to fight it, or to escape, the last survivors must go to the heart of the horror to witness what may be their evenutal fate...

The conclusion to the horror manga trilogy, this third volume has a stricter tone than the previous volumes. If you haven't read Uzumaki yet, this isn't the best place to start as it immediately begins knee-deep into the story and our protagonists are suddenly thrust into peril. In the very first chapter of the book, we also visit an old location that was featured in the previous manga and is now home to a new kind of horror.

There are several drastic changes here I think. One is that the atmosphere is more darker and apocalyptic. Whereas the danger in previous volumes was limited to a few individuals, in the third volume the threat has now consumed the entire town. Second is that it's now all coming together and while it still retains that episodic format per chapter, their connection is readily more apparent. Despite all that, what made Uzumaki work before is still present here and Ito still manages to throw in punk sci-fi concepts such as humans "riding" tornadoes.

As usual, the art is ever integral to the horror, especially in the latter chapters where everything concludes. Ito manages to weave everything he's shown us so far into a connected narrative that I think gives a fitting ending that's not as ambiguous as some J-horror films. There's also a bonus chapter at the end which is a side story featuring the same characters in the trilogy, presumably a story that can be inserted somewhere in the first volume of the series.

Overall the third volume gives the series a much-needed closure and while I do feel there's a sudden shift in tone in this particular volume, it's probably for the best. If you want an epic horror comic that showcases the best in the medium, Uzumaki is your best bet without the long-term investment of many manga series's out there.


Summing Up:

Closure to one of the best horror manga available.

Contact Information:

Viz Media - Viz Signature


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Comment by Michael Aronson at 19/08/2008 07:10:00

I'm not sure what about this volume you found so disappointing as to give it an 8. You mention the raised stakes, the connection to past stories, the focused plot and closure...but don't seem so thrilled about them. Why? I thought this was a brilliant climax and ending to what could have continued on as unrelated and repetitive short variations on the same theme (not that volumes 1 and 2 were repetitive, but had the formula continued, it would have gotten repetitive eventually).

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