Viz Media. Aug. 2021. 240p. tr. from Japanese by Jocelyne Allen. ISBN 9781974718900. $19.99. GRAPHIC NOVELS
After finding herself strangely compelled to explore the area around Mount Sengoku, a young woman named Kyoko Byakuya stumbles across a village that’s completely covered with golden strands of volcanic “hair” (the fibrous glass formed by droplets of molten lava). The villagers believe these strands are linked to Father Miguel (a missionary martyred in the area centuries earlier) and that exposure to the hair grants one extra-sensory abilities. An attempt to demonstrate the powers ends in the village being destroyed by the volcano. Kyoko emerges, reborn, from a glistening cocoon, her once jet-black hair turned gold. Sometime later, an unsuccessful reporter named Wataru becomes obsessed with Kyoko and embarks on an investigative quest. He interviews a doctor whose life was forever altered after treating Kyoko; is hounded by a woman from his past; and then is kidnapped by a cult whose members believe that Kyoko holds the key to accessing ultimate knowledge of time and space.
VERDICT Though it lacks the intense, visceral thrill of his best work, the latest manga from prolific creator Ito (Lovesickness) is still a chillingly unpredictable tale of cosmic horror that builds to an apocalyptic, yet strangely hopeful ending.
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