Scary Books Vol. #03 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A+

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Dark Horse
  • MSRP: 13.95
  • Pages: 229
  • ISBN: 1593074875
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Scary Book

Scary Books Vol. #03

By Josephine Fortune     January 22, 2008
Release Date: August 23, 2006

Scary Books Vol.#03
© Dark Horse

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Kazuo Umezu
Translated by:Kumar Sivasubramanian
Adapted by:

What They Say
In "Fear," Aiko is always ignored and neglected when compared to her beautiful older sister, Momoko. But when Momoko is horribly disfigured in an accident and goes mad, it's up to Aiko to bring home young girls her sister can use... to make a new face!

And in "The Coincidental Letter," a young girl named Yoko, in a fit of mischief, sends an insulting letter to a made-up girl at a made-up address warning her of a horrible fate. However, by incredible coincidence, both the girl and the address are real, and everything in the letter starts coming true!

The Review
Man, I really loved this volume. There are two stories, and while the first story is quite good, the second story is what won me over. The first, while I can't cite any specific examples of a similar story being used, seems very much like a classic horror story, but it is a classic horror story done right. It's got many elements like the once beautiful girl becoming horribly scarred and the angry recluse locked up with a sibling taking care of them that just sound like they should be in a horror story. These things may sound familiar, but this story is good because it's got a fabulous twist ending. If you know there's a twist ending coming, you may be able to figure out what's going to happen since it's not totally out of left field, but I didn't see it coming and thought it was pretty good.

The second story is about a girl who, after being ridiculed by her teacher Miss Style, goes home and writes an angry letter to vent her frustrations. Since this is a little girl, this letter is full of petty personal attacks and false claims which, while kind of awesome in a horrible way, are obviously not true. She makes up an address and a recipient name (presumably so the letter won't be traced back to Miss Style's class) and mails her letter. This makes her feel much better about her day, and it actually seems like good advice for a little kid to follow. The next day, it turns out that the address she made up is a real address, and the name she made up is a person who lives there. The personal attacks are mostly true of this person, and the things the girl wishes on her nasty teacher wind up happening to this random person. The girl finds out about these things because the random person's plight is followed by the television news throughout the rest of the story.

This plot is just such an unbelievably good premise for a horror story, and it plays out perfectly. There's nothing particularly exciting or out of place that happens along the way (other than some of the bizarre things that happen to the made-up girl), and as I said, I'm a bigger fan of gore horror than psychological horror, but this totally convinced me that Kazuo Umezu is likely the rightful king of horror manga in Japan. I still think I like Junji Ito better, but the Kazz has certainly earned my respect. This was literally one of the best manga short stories I've ever read.

I'm sad that Dark Horse ended this series early and we don't get any more of Umezu's stories, but I'm glad that this one was released before the suspension. It was definitely my favorite of the Scary Books, and even beats out most of the stories I've read by Junji Ito and the shorter stories of Hideshi Hino. I just really, really liked this one.


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