the Ring Vol. #01 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: C+

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: C-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: All
  • Released By: Dark Horse
  • MSRP: 14.95
  • Pages: 308
  • ISBN: 1-59307-054-3
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

the Ring Vol. #01

By Eduardo M. Chavez     September 02, 2004
Release Date: November 01, 2003

the Ring Vol.#01
© Dark Horse

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Inagaki Misao (based on Takahashi Hiroshi's film the Ring
Translated by:Naomi Kokubo
Adapted by:

What They Say
Everyone knows about urban legends, those stories that seem implausible, like they could never really happen. But what if one of the creepy, seemingly impossible stories was actually to occur? Somewhere in Japan there's a cabin in which you might watch a program that will change your life... in fact, it will take your life. She will take your life. She calls out form the afterlife, from the dark bottom of a forgotten well. And if she calls to you, one week is all you have left to find the answer to her curse.

The Ring has become a worldwide media sensation, having been adapted from its original novel series in Japan into movies, television, and manga. If you've seen the films, you know the creepy horror of The Ring. Lovingly adapted by the author and screenplay writer of the Japanese film series. The Ring manga takes you deeper into this mythos of creepy death.

The Review
The cover is taken from the original version used by Kadokawa Shoten. The image of an eye with the kanji for "Sada" in it is underneath the logo for this series.

Logo Check: The logo has a typewriter type look with all letters in lower case. Shadowing the words "the ring." is the logo in kanji. I like how this was done as it doesn't really take much away from the original cover design (I actually like it better).

Everything is dark and it's really bad on some of the more ominous pages. The producers of this manga also forgot to renumber the pages. The Ring was originally two volumes and DH/DMP have presented it in a wideban, but forgot to change the page numbering. A little confusing and pretty annoying.

Inagaki's art is very typical of women's horror manga. Lines are very thick. Faces do not have much detail and eyes tend to be large and expressive. Screen tone is not used often but there is a lot of ink work used for shading. The layout is really simple and backgrounds are usually dark and gloomy but not very detailed. All these techniques are used to keep the mood dark and to make sure the focus is on the writing. I love it but I have heard some negative reactions to it.

SFX are not translated. I have to admit I feel cheated when this happens, and with a series where the sound and mood is so important to the story translated FX are really missed.

From the looks of things the translation looks pretty good. I haven't read the original but the story moved much like the film of the same name with a few parts of the television series as well. Honorifics are not left in so instead of "-san" and "-kun" we have misters and misses. There are a few spelling mistakes here and there, but nothing serious.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
A week ago a bunch of friends on a trip watched a weird video together. Today, exactly a week later, all of them died. Even though they were not all together autopsies and witnesses confirm that they all died at the same time. There has been a rumor going around of things like this happening before but how can anyone believe urban legends like that?

Asakawa Reiko thinks she believes in this legend. She has family that has passed away after watching this video and there really is no logical reason behind the death. Her journalist's blood has moved her find out more about this strange phenomenon. The more information she gathers the stranger the case becomes. The clues are not making any sense on their own. It is almost as if the only connection possible has to be supernatural. Unless there is something else besides the video causing these deaths, how could any of this be possible? She had to experience it first hand to find out. But, where did it come from?

A little sleuthing takes her the place where her niece saw the video. Originating out where there is little more besides wilderness, how did this video get to harm people in Tokyo? As she kept on searching, she would find the video as if it was waiting for her. And once in her hands, Reiko had to see it and thus began her part in this curse. What she saw was a strange film full of random images and a message at the end: "The person who sees this will die at this time of day. If you don't want to die..." While the images did not make sense at this point, the message was clear - she had to do something if she wanted to survive. Whether the curse is real or not now Reiko had to figure out how to break it.

First step is to get someone to help. Now if people were going to die after watching this video, why would you show it to someone else? Even worse, why would someone else volunteer?

Takamura Ryuji is, well, a little cocky. He has read the papers and heard the details from Reiko, but it doesn't faze. Its all a game to him and seeing his ex-wife come to him for help is a thrill as well. Fortunately, Ryuji is a smart guy and he is very capable of sharing some perspective from his profession. While showing Ryuji was possibly a bad move, together these two will have to figure out who or what is behind this before their time runs out. The game is just starting for Ryuji, but this is one game Reiko really did not want to be a part of.

The symbolism used in the Ring is wonderful. At the same time it can easily be lost for those who are not familiar with Japanese horror manga and films. These stories tend to really on mood and occasionally can appear cheap and cheesy. The art is almost always simple but on the other hand there are usually layers of eerie drama in the writing. The Ring has all of that but at the same time it seems a little flat. If this version were a little longer, maybe fleshed out a bit more this could be just as entertaining as the movie is.

For those looking for a one-shot with some decent horror the Ring is a good start. This is yet another adaptation of Suzuki Koji's original work and while it might be a mishmash of different adaptations it is still an entertaining story on its own. If I were looking for something with a little more depth that is more faithful to the novel, I would pray Dark Horse/Digital Manga would bring out Nagai Koujirou's version, as well. To me the Ring has been done so often it's been played out. I like this version because of how it reminds me of women's horror/scary story manga. With a little more work this title would have been great but overall I felt things were a little rushed and not cheesy enough. Having read the novel and seen the movie, I really wished Inagaki had drawn the novel version instead. There is so much more to the characters in that version and the pacing of that version would have really been expressed well with this style of art.



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