My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I thought this would be a meaty introduction to the work of horror manga master Hideshi Hino. Turns out it is a slender tome, mostly full-page color variations on his manga images with three stories added at the back. I discovered Hideshi through his Theater of Horror short films available through Netflix. I was surprised by the tepid to negative viewer reviews. I found them genuinely creepy and oddly touching, either very original in content or inventive re-workings of familiar themes.. His drawings here show his fascination with corrupting corpses, maggots, and other images with a high yuck factor. I suppose they thrill and gross out Japanese 12-year-olds. But the stories in the back are excellent. They have the feel of Japanese folk tales with a J-horror edge, a genre Hideshi had made his own a decade or more before films like The Ring and Ju-on hit the market and defined a genre. I now have 11 of his manga collections from the library, and yes, the woman who usually checks me out looked at me funny when I came to pick them up.
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