Manga Madness: Higurashi no naku koro ni – Onikakushi-hen – Chapter 2

Manga Madness will be a series of articles in which I will be reviewing the manga I read. I am not really into reading manga – I prefer watching the anime – but there are a few stories that I really enjoyed and I want to get more into these stories.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

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The second chapter of Higurashi no naku koro ni – Onikakushi-hen continues with the day of the Watanagashi festival.

Maebara Keiichi and his classmates enter a tournament of games – which apparently is held each year – as a tradition – by them – in order to win various prizes and of course to enjoy the punishment game at the end. Whoever is losing must support the punishment.

It is a fun time for the characters but also time for the truth about Hinamizawa. Keiichi finds out about the murders which happen each year on this day.

Hinamizawa has a real disturbed history. There was a dam project initialized which threatened the village with complete destruction. The locals – of course, they fought back and defeated the opposing party. But strange things began happening.

4 years ago – from the present moment, the director of the dam construction team was found dismembered. The following year a couple who supported this project fell from a cliff. The man died and the corpse of his wife was never found. The next year – on the night of the festival, the Furude Shrine priest died due to an unknown illness and his wife drowned. Ultimately – the last mystery surrounds the death of a housewife who was found beaten, lifeless on the floor of her house.

And the moment for these tragic incidents to occur has come again.

Is it a curse..? Is it something premeditated.?. Are outer forces intervening into all of these?

 

Manga Madness: Higurashi no naku koro ni – Onikakushi-hen – Chapter 1

Manga Madness will be a series of articles in which I will be reviewing the manga I read. I am not really into reading manga – I prefer watching the anime – but there are a few stories that I really enjoyed and I want to get more into these stories.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

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Higurashi no naku koro ni began as a murder mystery themed visual novel. Manga adaptations came after, and then it was serialized as an anime show. Other products, games and collectibles were released through the years having the same concept.

I watched the first two seasons and some of the specials released, listened to the soundtracks hundreds of times – and I began to believe Higurashi (the whole idea and products that came afterwards) were really meant for me. My girlfriend says I’m crazy.. am I? 😀

So.. currently I am re-watching the second season – Higurashi no naku koro ni kai – and I began reading the manga as well. The first Volume – first chapter is a question arc.

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– released in Japanese on 22 December 2002

– released in English on 18 November 2008

– drawings by Karin Suzuragi

As an introductory chapter of the series – we are welcomed to Hinamizawa – apparently a place untouched by the monstrous reality of life – a quiet, natural and undisturbed place.

We meet the characters Maebara Keiichi, Ryuguu Rena, Sonozaki Mion, Furude Rika, Houjo Satoko and the other characters that are helping in the completion of the story.

Little by little Keichii discovers that this place isn’t as peaceful as it seems. He asks questions about the history of the village and he intercepts, at first,  minor changes in the answers he gets. Because a good way to find out something is by seeking answers yourself, he comes across some old newspapers and printed articles where he discovers the horrifying truth that went on in Hinamizawa. There was a series of murders and unexplained disappearances which everyone tries to hide from him. Reasons? Little by little he finds himself doubting everything and everyone.

A good start for a mystery manga. It slowly develops a tense atmosphere. Drawings are good and because I already know the story I say it is impressive.

 

Mr. Arashi’s Amazing Freak Show Manga Perceptions

Mr. Arashi’s Amazing Freak Show was Suehiro Maruo’s first manga work to be translated into English (by Yoko Umezawa and Laura Lindgren).

As the author says in the first chapter, this is a curious story about society’s outcasts, the world’s unwanted, the weird and the unnatural. Using surrealistic tones and lots of visual elements that describe the story’s universe – Maruo introduces us to the not-your-everyday type of stories. His grotesque, wild imagination can sometimes makes you wonder if this is the kind of manga you would read. It is sadistically violent, with gross accents and at some points if offers unbearable visual depictions of human behavior.

It is a work of fiction but at times it suggests that these drawings were inspired by true events – which denotes only that reality could be more cruel than an obsessive, explicit violent artwork.

If we are talking visual art – this is a must read work – since it has a unique style attached – making every character, every creature and every action seem surprisingly real.

Recommended only if you’re looking for something quite different from what you’ve happened to read til this moment.

Manga Review: Lullabies From Hell [Part 2]

When I thought that things couldn’t get better – I happened to read the latest two stories from the Lullabies From Hell manga volume. It impressed me with the creativity and imagination inserted into the plots.


The “Train of Terror” will take you on a shocking adventure.

After visiting his grandmother, Shuichi and his friends will have an unexpected surprise.

A dark figure sitting in their train will cause panic when entering a tunnel. After a blackout he will disappear and all people on the train will change into some evil entities with darkened faces and evil intentions.

This enigma will continue to haunt Shuichi as his parents will be affected as well by the dark stranger. Continue reading

Manga Review: Lullabies From Hell [Part 1]

The volume “Lullabies From Hell” by Hideshi Hino has a particular occult aspect – which makes this manga confusing, irritable, disturbing but appealing to those who know to enjoy it.

“Lullabies From Hell” is a collection of shocking stories, presented in a fun and attractive way.


The first story is more like a grotesque biography, filled with details that make your skin crawl.

The young Hideshi Hino has a particular interest in dark and disturbing things. He collects different animal parts, worms, skulls – he draws shocking images and has a sick behavior. He tortures and kills animals – til he discovers that he has an unique ability.

If he wishes for people to be dying in terrible circumstances – everything becomes reality.

The styled used in this manga really surprised me. Everything is dark and evil – but the main character is ruling this universe. He comes above all the gore and shapes it like it’s the right thing to do. Continue reading

Death Of Print Media

It’s obvious that these days, print media lost its values. In Romania [where I live] newspapers began to dissapear like 2 years ago – making room for the online journalism. In Japan it’s been stated – different publications, especially manga ones started to get knocked off like..the same time as here. In the US things got well…since now.

It came to my attention that Shonen Jump will dissapear in the US by the end of April 2012 and a new online project called Shonen Jump Alpha will take its place.

The good thing from this transition is that new chapters and titles will be available almost at the same time they appear in Japan.

Of course that you will not wait months til someone will have the idea of getting the title you seek into your country. A benefit from an online business is that it reduces the work time. You pay, you get, you distribute and make money – easy as making a cup of coffee.

Among the first titles to be offered to the public are One Piece, Bleach, Naruto, Bakuman and Toriko.

The site will launch on January 30th 2012.

Uzumaki [volumes 1-5]

These horror manga volumes were written and illustrated by Junji Ito.

The first 5 volumes were just exactly what I was looking for. In a small city, called Kurozucho, the people get affected by a strange phenomenon. A ghastly entity perhaps or just a glimpse of evil, taking the shape of a spiral is driving the people crazy.

Our main character, Kirie Goshima returned here without knowing what is due to happen. She gets involved in this strange story after seeing a man being absorbed by a spiral-shaped snail. After meeting her old friend Shuichi Saito, she gets some info about the Spiral and how this started to possess people.

Personality decay, sick subconscious, paranoia, desperation, self-destruction and death, all are effects of The Spiral.

In the first five volumes we do not find out what this Spiral is, but only that people who got obsessed with it, get consumed and they become a spiral. Shuichi’s parents will both die and became trapped into it.

Also, we do now that the phenomenon brings a sort of passion about itself. In volume 4 for example, the art of pottery is transformed into an open portal for this evil force to strike again and to make people wanting to explore it more and more.

Also, we deal with themes like friendship, love and betray, everything seen in a twisted way. I wonder what comes up next.