18 Dec / Black Paradox by Junji Ito, translated by Jocelyne Allen [in Booklist]
Four strangers – Taburo, Pii-tan, Baracchi, Maruso – gather for the first time and embark on their “journey to paradise”: “We met on the suicide site Black Paradox, and now we’re each other’s final companions.”
The quartet’s reasons for seeking death suggest strange parallels: “So the theme of our suicide is … ‘another me.’” Taburo wants to escape his doppelgänger; Pii-tan his “mechanical twin”; and Baracchi her own reflection. Only Maburo seems “real.” Two attempts fail, but then Pii-tan vomits a mysterious orb of perfection that inspires the foursome to live – at least until they get some answers about the stone’s promise of a “dazzling world full of light.”
Originally published in 2009, Japanese horror master Junji Ito’s latest – as with most of his U.S. released titles – is again smoothly brought to English speakers by prodigious translator Jocelyne Allen.
Once more, Ito presents humanity’s most disturbing traits, including unbridled greed swaying even the most trenchant death wish. His deft show-don’t-tell, crisply black-and-white exposition ensures a creepy single-sitting read, likely with repeats to follow. The ending, unrelated bonus story, “Strange Pavilion,” appears in full color for a vivid, final “EEE . . . EEEEEEE!!”
Published: 2009 (Japan), 2022 (United States)