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Friday, September 6, 2019

Selah's Manga Mania Reviews: Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection

Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection
by Junji Ito
October 16, 2018
408 pages
Genre: horror manga
The master of horror manga brings the world's greatest horror novel—Frankenstein—back to life.

Junji Ito meets Mary Shelley! The master of horror manga bends all his skill into bringing the anguished and solitary monster—and the fouler beast who created him—to life with the brilliantly detailed chiaroscuro he is known for.

Also included are six tales of Oshikiri—a high school student who lives in a decaying mansion connected to a haunted parallel world. Uncanny doppelgangers, unfortunately murdered friends, and a whole lot more are in store for him.


Bonus: The Ito family dog! Thrill to the adventures of Non-non Ito, an adorable Maltese!

We all love classic scary stories, but sometimes it's nice to have a new or even slightly different take. So what happens when you take a horror classic like Frankenstein and give it to someone like Junji Ito? Let's find out.

First off, this is actually more of a collection than a single book. Frankenstein takes up part of the book, and the rest are shorts chronicling a boy named Oshikiri and his descent into paranoia and madness thanks to his house and multiple dimensions.



The good: I was a little concerned with how Ito's art and approach would mesh with a more restrained title like Frankenstein, but they complement each other rather well. He does adjust the story a little, which is fine, because it does give a different sort of view on the story. There's an interesting undercurrent on how Frankenstein views women as a default good vs his own monstrous activities as well as those of his creature. It never goes off the rails crazy, but there is a nice undercurrent of tension and disgust throughout. Visually, it's a great contrast to the pristine timeframe, so in that aspect I think visually this is bang on.
The Oshikiri stories come as a welcome catharsis, though, and honestly they felt much more Ito, because duh, it's his original work. It was a little hard to figure out how they relate to each other at first given how the first story opens, but once the alternate dimensions come into play, it all makes sense. Oshikiri becoming paranoid and having to confront doppelgangers and different versions of his friends in horrific situations is a wild ride, and the art really goes all-out to express all the craziness he's trying to combat. Ito's fantastic at character reactions, and as Oshikiri becomes more unnerved and unhinged and has to take a proactive approach, it becomes a great set of horror stories.

The bad: I wouldn't call it bad, but the first part of the book was definitely harder to get through than the first. It wasn't boring, but I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop because of who was doing the storytelling. It also feels like Frankenstein's monster was made more evil and the doctor a bit more of a hero (Kinda. It doesn't shy away from the grave robbing or playing God.), which for me dilutes the point of the story. My only issue with the Oshikiri bits is that they seem to contradict each other until you keep reading, so you have to read all six to appreciate the full effect of those, which is fine.

The ick: The body horror Ito is known for doesn't really kick into high gear until after Frankenstein, so you could feasibly read the first half and stop if that sort of thing bothers you.
Overall, I liked this one, and I don't think Ito could put out bad work if he tried, but it isn't quite as punchy as titles like Uzumaki or Tomie. It's an interesting idea and take on a classic story, but I'd say I enjoyed his original stories more than i did his re-interpretation.

4 alternate dimension sheep






About the Reviewer
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Selah Janel is a writer who is trying to start doing that again instead of reading manga all the time.







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