Monday, July 16, 2007

Museum of Terror

It seems that seinen, or manga for men, isn't selling well, leading to comments about how men aren't buying manga until someome pointed out that josei, or manga for women, isn't selling so well either. Shounen, manga for boys, and shoujo, manga for girls, are both happily making their way onto the USA Today 150 bestsellers list on many weeks. This is something to lament since it's not really the good stuff, but as the readers mature, so will their tastes. It's still very new to a lot of them.

Not exactly in honor of the whole "men aren't buying manga!" dust-up, I picked up the first volume of Museum of Terror (Tomie 1) by Junji Ito. I actually just happen to think there's some good stuff in the seinen section. Well, if the manga was split up into those sections there would be. This is award winning, but not really something that will change the trends.

Museum of Terror is really, well, a bit of a gore fest. It's no Berserk where the artist seems fascinated with the idea of cramming as much intestine onto every page as possible while still allowing some room to tell the story, but it is definitely trying to gross out the reader. It's also not a psychological piece in any way, which seems to be the horror I'm most likely to like. There's no 6th Sense twist coming here.

The book seems a little heavy handed in telling the story of a girl who cannot die. The action is often motivated by the characters' mysterious desires upon meeting her that even they don't know where are coming from, which adds up to unmotivated in my book. Even the bits that are supposed to be shockingly gross just don't have that touch of possible reality that makes things actually gross. They just can't happen. (In the way that two atoms can't occupy the same space, not in the way zombies aren't real.)

To be fair, I did suspect this book would be "too gross for me" when I picked it up, but I found it rather tamer than expected. I also expected it to be a little more than a zombie flick with a gimmick, but that's approximately what it is.

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