Spiral by Drake

Japanese Title: Rasen
Genre: Horror
Length: 1 Volume
Allegiance: Kadokawa Shoten Publishing/Dark Horse Comics
Mangaka: Mizuki Sakura, Suzuki Koji
Vintage: 1999

Intelligence Agency Report by: I

Surgeon Ando Mitsuo is drawn into the mysterious events surrounding his old friend Takayama Ryuji’s gruesome death when he finds a slip of paper with numbers written on it lodged inside Ryuji’s stomach during his autopsy. Using the code they created in college, the numbers on the paper spells out “RING.E As Mitsuo looks into the details of Ryuji’s untimely demise, he finds a connection to the famous urban legend about a video that causes people to die seven days after they’ve watched it. Now he’s compelled to discover the mystery surrounding the video and the real reason that it leads its viewers to such horrible deaths.

Research Agent Report by: Drake 
Overall 4.50
(not an average)
I’ve never seen the Ring movies, nor do I have much if any knowledge whatsoever on the series, other than the fact that it is a series of Japanese horror movies. Nonetheless, on one of my numerous trips to Barnes and Nobles, I picked up a copy of Spiral and began thumbing the pages to get an idea of the manga. After being initially quite disturbed by one particular scene of a man in a bathtub with his guts spilling out of his open stomach. I gathered up my wits, and began reading.

After reading through the entire manga, I was pretty confused by some of what happened, partly because I just tried to read it as a stand alone. After seeing the American version of The Ring, it became clear that Spiral was nothing but a manga used to explain the nature of what the curse is and what its purpose is. Great for Ring fans right? Wrong, for after talking to a fan of the movies, I discovered some of the elements, namely the last few pages, made little to no sense to them and virtually none to me. This is due in part to the way the characters are just thrown into the story with no explanation of who they are and how they are very poorly developed.

In my experiences with past anime or manga, I’ve noticed if the plot and characters are not very strong, then the artwork is, or vice versa. I’m sorry to say this is not true for Spiral. If anything, the art failed to help a reader along with the story, and made it thoroughly difficult to distinguish one character from another.

Overall, if you want a good horror story to captivate your attention, you should look elsewhere. However, if you’re a hardcore fan of the movies, or just someone who is trying to comprehend the minor details behind a film that he/she loves, then you’re not going to stay away from this title regardless of my opinion. However, I myself will stay away from this manga, thank you very much.