Sensor by author and illustrator Junji Ito
Junji Ito is the master of horror manga. I read any of the books that he puts out. Sensor is a recent addition to his library and it’s an unfortunately mediocre one. It has all of his style but falls flat on the story and meaning. I think sometimes his stories would work better as a collection of shorts, which he also does frequently release. I’m sure at this point he has publishing demands that need to be made in order for him to continue making a living.
The basic premise of Sensor is that a young woman is drawn into a mysterious town that has some sort of hair curse on it. The town has been completely covered in golden hair that has mystical powers. Everyone who resides in the town is affected and changed by this cursed or blessed hair. The protagonist only knows that she must go there, drawn in by the magic.
A dark hair cult develops to counter this golden hair town. They desire to unlock the knowledge of the universe by gaining access to the power of the golden hair. How any of this is done or would be done is largely left to our imaginations. This is a story about magic hair, don’t expect it to be scientific.
Ito is not known for providing in depth explanations of his supernatural horror elements. It’s not really necessary. The reader just needs to accept that this hair has powers and people are drawn to that. Makes about as much sense as anything else.
The oddest part about Sensor is how religious it gets by the end. Specifically, with Christian mythology. That was a bit unexpected for me and I didn’t much care for it. I’m not sure if I’ve seen this kind of mythos in Junji Ito’s works before and it caught me off guard.
Additionally, in an epilogue, Ito explains that the characters of this manga, Sensor, refused to go along with the story he originally had in mind and that this is the result of what the characters were willing to do. Now, I don’t write fiction, I’m not sure if this is a common problem for writers. But it was fascinating for me to think about these characters disagreeing with the author. This published edition is apparently not what the author wanted but he didn’t have a choice.
Ito is a strange character himself and I will continue to read anything that is translated to english from him. Not all of these manga are instant classics but they always have something worth reading.
3/5 long hairs 💇♀️💇♀️💇♀️
For more Junji Ito check out Remina
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Buy it here: Sensor (Junji Ito)