There’s nothing quite like a horror manga you can’t stop thinking about. Those scenes that replay in your mind as you try to fall asleep and questions that you mull over again and again. There’s something strangely tantalising about finding your next big scare. I’ve read supernatural horror and I’ve read gory horror, and for a majority of it, it just gets filed away once the book is closed. But there’s some series that remind you of exactly why you love horror so much. For this week’s post I want to share horror manga that got me flinching, squirming and squealing (all in good fun of course!).
Zashiki Onna – Mochizuki Minetaro
Published back in 1993, the manga still holds up because it twists and hones in on very primal, psychological terrors. One day, university student Hiroshi meets a strange woman banging on his neighbour’s door. The next night she’s banging on his, demanding to be let inside. When Hiroshi opens his door to her, she sets her sights on him as a new target for her obsession. The idea of someone so completely invading and attempting to take control of every aspect of your life, is truly unsettling. The ‘stalker woman’ has remained with me as a real figure of fear. There’s no rhyme or reason to her actions besides pure obsession, which just makes her seem all the more dangerous. Perhaps what really struck me about this manga is also how it’s based in reality. It could honestly happen to anyone.
Franken Fran – Kigitsu Katsuhisa
Franken Fran is probably one of the most eccentric manga I’ve ever read. The story follows a strange girl named Fran Madaraki, who is a genius surgeon. She’s got a heart of gold and believes she can fix just about any problem with her scalpel, although her solutions are quite imaginative and don’t always leave her clients happy. The series is filled with gore and body horror but surprisingly it wasn’t those elements that stuck with me. But rather the utter helplessness she often leaves her victims, I mean, clients in. It reminds me a lot of the ending to I have no mouth and I must scream. For example in one chapter, Fran hooks up twenty-four conscious minds to one body. The body cannot move unless they’re all in agreement. Just that lingering image of despair was enough to give me the heebie jeebies.
Glyceride – Junji Ito
There’s so many creepy and haunting Ito stories, for fans of his this might seem an odd choice for this list. But Glyceride has stuck with me because it’s the first manga (or one shot chapter in this case) that has made me physically gag. The story focuses on a family that own, and live above, a BBQ restaurant. As the years go by, their home becomes completely drenched in the oil the restaurant uses to cook. It becomes unbearable for the daughter, but the brother revels in it taking to drinking litres of oil each day. Reading the one shot you can almost feel how slick with oil the family home has become. But the part that really got me was when the eldest brother, his face a mess of pimples, holds his sister down and squirts the pimple puss into her face. Now, I’m a big Dr Pimple Popper fan but this was too much for me. Cue gag reflex.
Hiki – Nangoku Banana
A group of friends come across an old abandoned wardrobe in the middle of a forrest. One of them, Rin, decides to open it looking for left over goods but instead he awakens a sealed entity who begins haunting him. For people who have read Hiki you’re probably scratching your heads and wondering if I’ve lost my marbles. Hiki is a really poorly constructed manga, the characters are bland and the story borders on nonsensical. But the art is probably the creepiest I’ve ever seen. I can’t put my finger on why it freaks me out so much but it really unnerves me. I still remember the first time I saw the image I included above. I flicked the page and almost jumped out of my skin!
So there we have it, four horror manga that somehow managed to freak this horror fan out. Actually, to be fair, that’s probably not too hard to do (haha!). For any newbie or long time horror readers out there, I hope this list has provided you with something to get your heart racing. If you know of any of horror manga I should check out make sure to leave a recommendation down in the comments!
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