Black Paradox

Viz Media. Oct. 2022. 208p. tr. from Japanese by Jocelyne Allen. ISBN 9781974728633. $19.99. HORROR
A group of strangers brought together on Black Paradox, a social media site for people interested in ending their own lives, travel into the forest determined never to return. En route to their final destination, they reveal why they want to die—Taburo is haunted by visions of a doppelganger, Baracchi is despondent due to a facial disfigurement, Maruso can’t stand living with overwhelming anxiety any longer, and Pii-Tan feels inadequate to a cutting-edge android created in his image. But wait—is it possible this person calling himself Pii-Tan might, in fact, be an android in disguise? The answer to that question is perhaps the easiest twist to predict in this wildly entertaining tale of continuously escalating strangeness. Various attempts to harvest luminous jewels from a dimension that can only be accessed through portals that grow inside the bodies of those who have died and come back to life drive the story; if that summary makes this one sound a little far out, know that it’s more far out than anyone but Ito could possibly imagine.
VERDICT Ito (The Liminal Zone) combines macabre horror and absurd humor in his most successfully disturbing long-form work in recent years.
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