Illustrated by Álvaro Martínez Bueno, colored by Jordie Bellaire
A group loose associates find themselves in a large, extravagant house on a beautiful lake, seemingly without other people or houses around them. They all discover they know Walter - some grew up with him, some crossed paths with him only a few months ago - but he was always heavily invested in them, someone who was right there at the right time and maybe faded away since. Then, Walter appears in the house and explains his intentions. He reveals he is part of an alien race, and his people intend to destroy the Earth, but he was tasked with picking the best of humanity to be saved. They will all be safe from the coming apocalypse in this lake house, where they will also have all their needs provided for, but everyone else they know and love will be horrifically killed. And they’re supposed to be thankful. But not all of them can sit idly by and enjoy the bounty of their sanctuary. Some of them start exploring their idilic prison and discover what was probably meant to be hidden from them forever.
Hideo is dissatisfied with his life as a manga assistant. He used to have a running serial, called Uncut Penis, but it got cancelled after only a few issues. He has his share of eccentricities and probably several social anxieties. He thinks he can see evil spirits in his apartment and often talks to one of them. The only way to get rid of them is to form a prayer circle with wholesome manga and textbooks around him. Hideo's girlfriend will cook delicious food for him and be intimate with him. She gets bit by a little kid on the way home from work and no one thinks anything of it. When Hideo comes to her apartment the next day, he can’t believe she’s been turned into a creature. He’s pretty sure it’s because he had to pull an all nighter at the manga job, not that there are actually zombies trying to eat him. The whole building might be scary zombies, or they might be figments of his imagination.
There are some pretty big spoilers ahead, so be warned!
At the end of volume one, Shinji's parents go away on a vacation that Migi hypothesizes would be safe. A disturbing phone call from Shinji's father has him on edge, just in time for his mother to come home, who has been posessed by a parasite! She stabs him through the heart and leaves him for dead, but Migi uses his abilities to send bits of himself to Shinji's heart for repair. This disperses little bits of Migi all over Shinji's body, which gives him some extraordinary abilities, but may be infecting his basic humanity and ability to empathize with others! Shinji goes to the remote village of his parent's vacation, where is dad is hospitalized, and vows to protect his father from the parasite coming back to finish the job. While on guard duty, Shinji meets another like him, where the parasite didn't make it all the way to the brain. The man and parasite share custody of the mouth and nose, and they all decide to team up against parasites who are hell-bent on destroying other humans.
Miku suddenly starts seeing really gruesome evil spirits. Instead of reacting to them, she’s convinced that if she pretends she can’t see anything, they’ll go away. It works for the most part, but it doesn’t stop Miku from feeling terrified every time one of them shows up. Miku and her friend try to live normal lives — getting tea, going shopping, but Miku’s constant moments of fear start to freak everyone else out. Miku buys some prayer beads to hopefully keep the spirits away from her, but every strand she puts on breaks and scatters beads everywhere. A vendor and spiritually powerful fortune teller gives Miku her best set of prayer beads, which also breaks, forcing the fortune teller into retirement in disgrace. All the fun and games are pushed aside when Miku comes down for breakfast, and finds much more than a terrifying spirit in her kitchen.
Nanako and Mao continue to battle some evil deeds that are coming out of a local shrine. The priestess is able to predict the deaths of villagers, with amazing accuracy. However, there is some Tom-foolery at play, and the curses are not what they seem. Mao is able to release the demonic spirit that has been harnessed to carry out the curses, and the spirit rebounds upon the caster. On her way to jail, the priestess predicts the end of the world: fireballs engulfing the town while a huge earthquake rips open the streets. Nanako goes back to her time to research what this event could be, and finds it coincides with a terrible earthquake that does much of what the priestess said. She goes back to Mao’s time to try and prevent or at least save some of the townsfolk, but like everything in Mao’s time, the historical record of what happens isn’t as accurate as the truth, especially when more evil spirits — and possibly Byouki — are involved.
Humans are destroying the planet and putting a strain on natural resources. Perhaps in answer to that, strange, parasitic alien lifeforms begin a slow invasion to infect Earth lifeforms and bring down the population. Some infect human hosts, others infect animal hosts. One attacks high schooler Izumi, but he manages to keep it inside his arm rather than let it worm its way into his brain. The parasite completely devours and replaces Izumi‘s right arm and becomes sentient. It feeds off of Izumi’s systems and protects him out of self-preservation. The parasite, who Izumi starts calling “Migi”, which means “right”, can sense others of his kind, and they are mostly not in favor of allowing Izumi and Migi to continue their symbiotic relationship.
Adapted by Naoshi Arakawa
After the strange disappearance of Mitsuru and an ominous trail of blood where he was, the seven remaining students try to solve the mystery of their situation with some heightened anxiety. Shimizu theorizes that this situation is like the Langoliers Incident, and they’ve been pulled into the subconscious of the person who committed suicide. The others reject her notion as foolish and too much like a Stephen King novel. Shimizu finds Takano alone in the hallway, trying to figure out who committed suicide. Shimizu recounts her friendship with Takano, their friendly rivalry, and ultimately her plans for her future, but soon realizes that this isn’t Takano. Later, then real Takano and Akihito discuss the premise of this predicament: maybe they’re being punished by the person who committed suicide because they didn't do enough to save their classmate.
Illustrated by Trish Forstner
Sophie is a nervous dog who classically can’t remember much after it happens to her. She’s introduced to a group of dogs in a new house, and they terrify her. The nicest of the bunch, Rusty, recognizes her fears and protects Sophie. He gives her a tour of the home, including the room they’re not allowed to go into. Snippets of traumatic memories start coming back to Sophie, prompting other dogs to also remember some of their pasts, with owners who were not their current master, who all happen to be female and usually alone. Through this, the dogs discover their happy home with plenty of food and treats is not a safe place to be, for animals or humans.
A collection of short stories by the famed horror mangaka, which include: a creepy recording of a singer from beyond the grave; a curse that causes many small holes to open up on the skin; an alien-looking model cast in an independent film to the detriment of cast and crew; giant replicas of people's faces chase them and try to hang them; a mansion with a family strung up like marionettes; a man with a nighttime dream that gets progressively longer; a girl who experienced trauma that left her mind shattered is coaxed into marrying and procreating to continue a family line; a residence above a barbecue restaurant drips with oil, and the proprietor may be using that to season his family members; and a bonus revisiting to the alien model storyline with a girl who is afraid cropped photos of her will result in her limbs being severed.
I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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