Scary Books Vol. #02 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Release Date: Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Translated by:Kumar Sivasubramanian
What They Say
Kazuo Umezu returns with the second frightening volume of his Scary Book anthology series. In "Butterfly Grave," a book-length feature story, ever since the mysterious and untimely death of her mother when she was still an infant, Megumi has had an inexplicable, devastating phobia of butterflies.
Upon visiting her mother's grave years after her death, Megumi begins being haunted by a black butterfly that only she can see and which seemingly causes waves of destruction and misery to Megumi's family and friends wherever it appears. But when Megumi's father decides to remarry, Megumi begins to fear that her new mother is turning into the very thing she dreads most.
The main character is a wealthy girl who is so afraid of butterflies that she literally goes to the brink of self-destruction whenever they are near regardless of whether or not her classmates at school or whoever else is watching. This strange habit is definitely amplified when a black butterfly that noone else can see begins showing up and acting as a portent to dark things. At the height of her mania, her father has an accident and his new wife turns out to be a rather sinister woman that seems to be torturing Megumi in only ways that she will notice. Plus, Megumi suspects that she also may be a butterfly.
Only one story this time around, but I liked it much better than either of the stories in the first volume. As Umezu mentions in the afterward, a phobia about butterflies is quite unique, and makes for a very unusual story. It's slightly and unintentionally comical the way the heroine is screaming and raving about butterflies most of the way through, and some of her actions don't help her case much when people start to declare her insane, but it's quite a compelling read. The story twists away from the supernatural and into the realm of well-grounded mystery by the end, and I also really liked that.
The volume's presentation is very nice, with the front cover treated the same way as the first with tinted black and white artwork from the inside, but it has very few extras within. In fact, outside a black and white reproduction of a color cover page, the only extra is a paragraph afterward from Umezu, which is very nice since it does shed light on some parts of the story and its historical context.
Overall I liked this story a lot. Again, my preference is more for physical horror and Umezu's stories tend to be psychological horror, but they're twisted all the same and I really liked the unique phobia take and the fact that I never quite knew where this story was going. I'm quite looking forward to the next Scary Book.
Mania Grade: A
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A
Text/Translatin Rating: A
Age Rating: 18 & Up
Released By: Dark Horse
Orientation: Right to Left