A manga by Junji Ito
Viz has really been on a roll lately with the release onslaught of nearly all of Junji Ito’s back catalogue. It’s crazy to me that Western fans are FINALLY getting the opportunity to experience the works of the master of horror manga without having to resort to dodgy scan websites. Whenever I see folks rocking Hot Topic T-shirts of Uzumaki or Tomie, I can’t help but wonder if this is the longest lapse between something being released in Japan, and becoming a cult classic much later on in the west. I mean, some of his books are over 30 years old. Today’s topic at hand is a “new” book called Remina, one of the few science fiction books that the author has ever done. Originally released in 2005, it’s finally getting a stateside release in a hardcover edition that will look nice next to all of your other Ito books.
“An unknown planet emerges from inside a wormhole, and its discoverer, Dr. Oguro, christens the body “Remina” after his own daughter. His finding is met with great fanfare, and Remina herself rises to fame. However, the object picks up speed as it moves along in its curious course, eliminating planets and stars one after another, until finally Earth itself faces extinction… Is the girl Remina the true cause of the catastrophe? A masterwork of horror from Junji Ito, unfolding on a universal scale.”
Remina is a bit different to many of Ito’s works in that it’s definitely more of a science fiction story and works on a grander scale than most of his isolated tales. That isn’t to say that his trademark grotesque horror art is not present, seeing that every page contains some sort of gore or bewildering Lovecraftian creature. For anyone that has seen Devilman Crybaby, This reminds me of the final act quite a bit. Everything is insanely bleak and very distressing, and you can tell nothing good will happen by the turn of the last page. Not the typical weird horror Ito usually does, but very good nonetheless.
At it’s core, Remina is like the antithesis of something like Armageddon or Independence Day, and sadly probably more closely related to what WOULD happen if the Earth was faced with an existential threat such as a huge planet that eats other planets. Everyone goes insane, blames a girl that just happens to have the same name that her father named said planet, and a murderous riot ensues. Rich people attempt to flee the planet, and society entirely dissolves in a manner of days, all while the watchful eye of Remina peers down at the chaos. The true horror is not the planet in the slightest, it’s humankind in general.
If you are interested in this book, please click HERE
Love Ito’s artwork, but this story didn’t work for me, mostly because Remina was a damsel in distress the entire time and had zero personality.
Agreed, it definitely could have used a bit more characterization other than everyone trying to kill her – I’ll laud him for stepping out of his comfort zone, but its not my favorite by any means.
LikeLiked by 1 person