Spiral by I

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: I
Overall 6.00
(not an average)
Koji, Koji, Koji… you should have known that beating a good idea to death isn’t the way to go. I thought after RingRing 0, and Ring 2 that the series would finally be laid to rest, but then I just had to find out about the seriesE more… ignored spinoff. Being a casual fan of the Ring series despite the fact that it’s being beaten to death with numerous sequels and overseas remakes, I felt I simply needed to get the manga version of the novel that was supposed to shower light on the mystery of Ring. The problem is that the series was far better when its logic was left behind in the dark. 

Spiral serves as a somewhat creative way to make sense of the phenomena present in its predecessors, but it pays the price for its complex explanations. Character development is so abrupt that you never get to know or care about any of the people involved. What few attempts there are to add character development to the story, such as the addition of a tragic family history and hints towards Mitsuo’s cutter tendencies in the beginning of the book, are completely dropped and forgotten the page after its initiation. Even Sadako, horror movie darling of Japan since the start of the Ring series, lacks her usual flair. She is worthy of neither fear nor awe, and instead is involved inEa sex scene. Oooh, scary sexy Sadako! What are you going to do, orgasm Mitsuo to death? 

To add insult to injury, the complex explanation that the manga sacrificed so much character depth for is far from logical and actually ruins what respect I had for the Ring franchise. Perhaps the biggest problem with Spiral is that it tries to explain the mystery surrounding Sadako with biological theories of how she can kill people just by having them watch a videotape. And the true nature of Sadako’s physiology – and how it ties into the explanation of the Ring curse – is too “out thereEto be taken seriously. Once something that outrageous is thrown into the mix, it just cheapens the once good elements of the saga. 

The art wasn’t even good enough to redeem this book’s nature a smidgen. The characters are drawn inconsistently at times and the art style is problematic in that it doesn’t suit the comic at all. Furthermore, the faces of the characters are drawn in such a way that no matter what expression is displayed, you still feel no emotion coming from them. That could possibly be a result of mediocre art clashing with bad character development and a poorly-written plot though. Granted, the art wasn’t atrocious and at times I was satisfied by the detail Mizuki-san put into her inking, but it’s by no means artwork that deserves any sort of admiration. 

Bottom line: don’t bother with this book unless you’re determined to know of every facet of the Ring series and/or observe Sadako in coitus. It’s simply not worth your time or your money if you’re just looking for some good horror.