21 May / Lovesickness by Junji Ito, translated by Jocelyne Allen [in Booklist]
In the almost-quarter-century since his manga debut, Junji Ito has undoubtedly ascended to world-renown for his prolific tales of horror. Translated into English by Jocelyne Allen, who also translated his Eisner-winning Frankenstein, Ito’s latest imported collection opens with the five-part titular “Lovesickness.” In relentlessly foggy Nazumi, the “strange, ancient Japanese folkway” practice of “crossroads fortunes” involves standing at an intersection and asking the first passing stranger to answer a question about future love. Middle-schooler Ryusuke’s return to Nazumi quickly causes debilitating tension, as he is convinced that his six-year-old self caused a desperate pregnant woman’s death. Eight years later, an irresistible specter in black is inspiring multiplying suicides, and Ryusuke fights for survival.
In the two-part “The Strange Hikizuri Siblings,” a parentless family wreaks supernatural torture on others – and themselves. Three shorts conclude the collection, about a boy whose pain controls the family mansion, the fatal perils of addictive cosmetic surgery, and a fleeting obsession with fake (or not?) feces.
Readers will want to turn pages swiftly, not only to see what happens next; once seen, Ito’s images – startlingly addictive and terrifying both – can’t be unseen.
Readers: Young Adult, Adult