My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I admit that I picked this one up entirely because of the name attached to it and had not even heard of it before seeing it on a book display. I sadly have to confess though that I did not love it, nor can I say I actually even liked it all that much. The basic idea and concept would be good but the execution of the story just did not hit the mark I feel it was meant to. I couldn’t find myself caring about the main character at all so all of his struggles did not gain any sympathy from me throughout the entire story.
All My Thoughts
May contain spoilers.
I am a really big fan of Junji Ito’s work, so when I saw this book on a display I snatched it up, excited to find something I hadn’t read before. To be clear this is NOT one of his original stories. Junji Ito adapted the novel of the same name by Osamu Dazai into a manga. The art as always was great, but the story was extremely lacking for me. I had zero emotional attachment to the main character Yozo Oba. I have a hard time feeling anything for a character that continues to choose to destroy his own life and those around him. I get that he had a troubling childhood and things weren’t always good for him, thus affecting him into adulthood, but I don’t find that to be a good plot device personally. He made way too many uncomfortable choices that more often than not resulted in another character’s death, either from an accident or emotional trauma caused by Yozo himself.
Because this book just follows Yozo’s complicated psyche, the actual story just couldn’t be saved. It tries to show the depths of subtle horror that can be seen in a damaged psyche, but it fell short. I only actually finished the story because in manga form, it isn’t exceptionally long. Had I been reading the novel, I would not have finished.
As much as I love Junji Ito, I can honestly say I would not recommend it to anyone. The art doesn’t make the story more enjoyable and there are a lot of uncomfortable situations that hard a bit hard to deal with.