I read a manga!

I’ve said this before— the clearest line of distinction between people who are very late Gen Xers and people who are very old Millennials is Pokémon. If Pokémon played a role in your childhood (or a role in the childhoods of people your age) chances are you’re a Millennial. If you made it to college without ever having heard of Pikachu, you’re Gen X. Along with this comes the idea of being into manga. I can assure you that I was into every nerdy hobby available in the Midwest in the 1990s and I never even heard the word “manga” despite being deeply into Western comic books. It just wasn’t a thing over here yet. Anime, much the same. And while I’ve had plenty of opportunities, I’ve never really gotten into either. Something about the style of most anime (and the weirdly wordy way Japanese seems to translate into English a lot of the time) has always just sort of repelled me, and I’ve never had a good explanation for why I don’t like the stuff, I just don’t.

I bought the collected edition of Junji Ito’s Uzumaki earlier this week for no clear reason– like, I learned it existed and that it was “horror manga” and I bought it, and I’m not sure why– and I seem to have broken that streak finally, to the point where last night I ordered the collected editions of this dude’s other two series. Or, at least, two of his other series? I’m not sure how much he’s actually done. Uzumaki is kinda random and goofy in parts but it’s creepy as hell throughout, and it reminds me of Scary Stories to Read in the Dark in the absolute best way possible and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The idea– and this is kind of a “roll with it” scenario– is that a town is cursed, and the curse manifests itself in spirals. The first eight or ten chapters are all standalone, where some character or another is affected by the spiral psychosis in some way, and then everything knits itself together very satisfyingly over the last several chapters. The whole thing is six hundred pages plus, so it’s pretty beefy, and it’s big enough that the art has space to shine and for all that it’s a quick read anyway. If you’re a manga person you’ve probably already encountered this, but if you’re not and you want an entry point in the genre, this one roped me in, so give it a look.


I didn’t post yesterday, breaking a 200-plus day streak. Why? No good reason, I just didn’t feel like it, and after a while I get tired of the ceaseless WordPress notifications that I’ve blogged X days in a row. My cold isn’t quite gone yet although today was better, so hopefully this will be gone in the next day or two. We’ll see.

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Luther M. Siler

The author of SKYLIGHTS, THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES and several other books.

One thought on “I read a manga!

  1. Wow, first anime and now manga! The mangas I used to read maybe 20 years ago had translation notes in them, which I always appreciated, but I don’t see that often anymore.
    Also, you know I have to give you some recommendations. Did you ever watch Demon Slayer? I just read the manga and really enjoyed it. My favorite authors are a group called CLAMP, they do a wide variety of genres but usually with a bit of SF/F thrown in there.

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