The Liminal Zone

Viz Media. Jul. 2022. 216p. tr. from Japanese by Jocelyne Allen. ISBN 9781974726448. $19.99. GRAPHIC NOVELS
Internationally renowned master of horror Ito (Deserter) returns with a collection of four new stories. In “Weeping Woman Way,” a soon-to-be-married couple touring the countryside stumble across a village inhabited by women who believe it is their duty to weep uncontrollably at all times in order to help the recently deceased find peace in the afterlife. In “Madonna,” students at an elite girls’ Christian boarding school discover a disturbing connection between their stern headmaster’s eerily intense wife and the strange rock formations decorating campus. A terminally ill man visits Mount Fuji’s Sea of Trees determined to end his life on his own terms, only to be bizarrely transformed after encountering the local phenomena known as “The Spirit Flow of Aokigahara.” “Slumber,” the best and most viscerally disturbing story in this collection, features a young law student who comes to believe he is responsible for committing a series of gruesome murders in his sleep.
VERDICT While this latest collection never quite manages to evoke the berserk emotional intensity of his best work, Ito’s knack for crafting psychologically complex tales that veer between creeping dread and surrealistic body horror remains unparalleled.
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