Junji Ito's "Uzumaki" is a horrifying jaunt down the drainpipe of the body-horror genre, so fans of Katsuhiro Otomo and David Cronenberg take notice. The plot follows a small seaside town that has been cursed with the "spiral," a force of unknown origin that twists every aspect of the residents' lives into unrecognizable horrors. The primary characters, Kirie and her worrisome boyfriend Shuichi, attempt to ignore the progressively stranger occurrences until the power of the spiral becomes unavoidable in the form of slug-people, tornado gangs, and sentient human-hair monsters among other odd mutations. Mysteriously unable to leave the town, the situation devolves as Kirie and Shuichi struggle to survive the chaos, resulting in a consistently tense narrative pacing. The unnerving visuals that are a staple of the body-horror genre highlight the growing sense of dread that keeps the reader alongside Kirie, desperately grasping for any way out. Somehow, Ito manages to turn the grotesque into something beautiful with an innovative use of the spiral pattern and dedication to its theme in both the narrative and the visual aesthetic. Over the course of the story the spiral begins to elicit a Pavlovian response of unease in the reader, and as the world of Uzumaki descends into the whirlpool we cannot help but wonder what lies at the bottom.
Collects the complete story of Shuichi Saito, who believes that his town is haunted by the uzumaki, a spiral, hypnotic secret shape of the world that manifests itself in various ways and causes madness among the inhabitants.