I love discovering new manga and there is a variety of series for all types of readers. When seeking out manga I decided to check out The Liminal Zone by Junji Ito. Here are my thoughts on this horror manga from Viz Media!
Synopsis: What destiny awaits them after the screaming?
After abruptly departing from a train in a small town, a couple encounters a “weeping woman”—a professional mourner—sobbing inconsolably at a funeral. Mako changes afterward—she can’t stop crying! In another tale, having decided to die together, a couple enters Aokigahara, the infamous suicide forest. What is the shocking otherworldly torrent that they discover there?
One of horror’s greatest talents, Junji Ito beckons readers to join him in an experience of ultimate terror with four transcendently terrifying tales.
Since the spooky season is here, I thought it would be fitting to read a Junji Ito graphic novel as he’s a notable horror mangaka. This is my second time reading Ito’s work (my first experience was reading The Drifting Classroom) and another anthology piece. The Liminal Zone is a collection of stories originally written for the LINE manga app in Japan and has now been converted into graphic novel form. Because of this, I do feel like there’s a shift in Ito’s storytelling method, but it also gives him a chance to create plots surrounding a concept by not having a page limit.
It goes without saying that there are multiple trigger warnings within this anthology (like with most horror) such as death, suicide, and mental illnesses so take caution before reading. The collection consists of four stories: The Weeping Woman, Madonna, The Spirit Flow of Aokigahara, and Slumber. Each story brings its own uniqueness to the collection while all equally being spine-tingling. For me, the collection wasn’t too scary which is saying a lot. I have always had a hard time reading horror vs watching a horror film. The stories are digestible and like with most Ito works readers the art is what sticks with you long after finishing the story.
Its art style as per usual is a balance of beauty and grotesqueness. Each story starts off with an eerie calmness, but you know something creepy is lurking around the corner. Even the horror figures/villains themselves become more unsettling to look at as the story progresses. My favorite aspect of Ito’s stories is how he finds horror in the most mundane things such as nightmares that lead to restless sleep, a statue with a powerful presence, or a small town in the countryside. If I had to rank the stories in the collection they would be:
- The Weeping Woman
- The Spirit Flow of Aokigahara
I really enjoyed how The Weeping Woman story played off a folktale aspect and the twist ending felt very satisfying. The Spirit Flow of Aokigahara just was okay. I felt like the story was left on a cliffhanger that really didn’t explain much of what was happening. I would go into more detail but I don’t wait to spoil the stories for those that haven’t read the book.
If you are looking for a spine-tingling manga with beautiful artwork, check out The Liminal Zone. I think this manga is a great start for readers who want to try Ito’s works but are looking for short-form horror stories. It’s a great spooky read for the Autumn season. This manga gets a 4 out of 5 stars rating from me!
*I received this manga from Viz Media in exchange for a fair and honest review.