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Pick of the Week: Halloween!

With Halloween quickly approaching (and a decided lack of new manga to choose from this week), it’s time once again for the Battle Robot to make their picks for the occasion!

SEAN: Generally speaking, I’m not a big horror fan, unless it has a healthy dose of comedy. With that in mind, I’m going with my perennial favorite Higurashi: When They Cry. In between its harem antics, its mystery plotting, and its tragic futility, there’s no end to terrifying images, ranging from Rena’s scratching at imaginary maggots to Keiichi eating a needle hidden in his riceball to… well, the entire epilogue of the Cotton-Drifting Arc. Some truly nightmare-inducing imagery, especially given the cute moe-type heroines.

KATE: My favorite Halloween title? That’s a tough call, but if I had to choose just one—and death was not an option!—my pick would be Rumiko Takahashi’s Mermaid Saga. This four-volume series follows the adventures of Yuta, a fisherman who accidentally ingests mermaid flesh, gaining immortality in the process. Though Yuta is keen to regain his humanity, he crosses paths with people who seek mermaid flesh as a remedy for illness, old age, or the death of a loved one. Say what you will about InuYasha or Rin-ne, when Takahashi is working in short-story form, she’s an undisputed master of horror; her spooky morality plays are a skillful mixture of suspense, humor, and horror, with a generous dose of pathos. Hands-down my favorite Takahashi series.

MELINDA: This particular pick is really difficult for me—not because I’m a big fan of horror comics in particular (I’m not) but because for whatever reason, the spooky comics I do like, I tend to really love. Tempting choices include Setona Mizushiro’s emotionally complex epic After School Nightmare and of course my very favorite CLAMP manga, Tokyo Babylon (due for re-release any day now from Dark Horse Comics!). But I’ll take the opportunity this year to throw my vote to JiUn Yun’s ghost story manhwa, Time and Again. Not only is this series genuinely scary on a regular basis, but it also packs an emotional punch in the very best way possible. In my discussion of its final volume, I said, “Time and Again kicks you in the gut with elegant brutality,” and indeed that is what it does. What more can I ask of a comic, really?

MICHELLE: Having just finished Chika Shiomi’s Canon, a four-volume vampire saga from CMX, I’ll cast my vote in its direction. It has some lovely ’90s art, a strong heroine, some plot surprises, and a snarky talking vampire crow. Though it falters a bit towards the end, it’s still a very good read!

What’s your favorite scary manga?

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  1. I’d have to go with either Uzamaki or Tomie followed by PEt Shop of Horrrors

  2. My favorite scary manga has to be Uzumaki. I kinda don’t look at spirals the same way anymore. You could also just say “most Junji Ito stuff”, Tomie had a mixed bag of weird. Actually, Uzumaki will get second place, the Fault of Amigara probably wins. Not only is there creepy body horror, but the characters feel compelled to enter the clearly bad idea.
    Petshop of Horrors, the first series (Tokyo was far more light hearted) had some really creepy stories too.
    Parasyte has some fun body horror too with all the shape changing death machines. But it’s also how the infected “people” have this uncanny valley look to them, it’s subtle but brilliant!
    Higurashi is another good one, one of those things where you can’t tell if it’s real or the characters are going crazy!
    On the shojo side, I found Arisa to be pretty creepy at times. Probably because the fluffy shojo characters are dead serious about murder.
    For Tezuka, it’s either MW or Book of Human Insects. Probably gonna go with Insects because of the wax statue.


  1. […] Manga Bookshelf team goes with a horror theme for this week’s Pick of the Week, and they also kick off a new roundtable, JManga The Week of 11/1. Plus: Melinda Beasi and Michelle […]

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