Spooktober, Day 17: The Enigma of Amigara Fault, by Junji Ito

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Alright: Let’s talk about comics.

Junji Ito is recognised as the doyen of modern horror manga. Is artwork is by turns beautiful and freakish (often at the same time), and he has a fertile imagination for unknown and unknowable monstrosities. And while Uzumaki and Tomie are both excellent examples of his longer volumes, I can’t think of a better introduction to his work than his short piece, The Enigma of Amigara Fault.

It starts with an earthquake that opens a fault in Japan, where scientists make a remarkable discovery: innumerable holes in the mountainside, all shaped like the human body. No one knows where they came from, or why they are there, but it is soon revealed that the holes in the mountain are calling to people, that visitors to the site are drawn to find the hole that fits them and go inside. What happens to them in there? How far does the hole go? What’s on the other side? You’ll have to read it to find out…

There’s not much else to say about the story that doesn’t spoil it. Suffice to say that Ito preys on some fundamental human fears of claustrophobia and the irrational drive towards self-destruction. Ito gives the reader just enough explanation, so the mystery makes sense instinctively while leaving enough unsaid to leave them stumbling in the dark. Ito’s also the master of the horrific reveal, or visual jump-scares, using each turn of the page to rachet up the horror. The Enigma of Amigara Fault is a quick, easy read for anyone new to Ito, or to manga in general, and I thoroughly recommend checking it out.

Read The Enigma of Amigara Fault here.

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