Things that go bump in the night. The shadow that you see in the corner of your eye. The person standing by the corner of the street who just doesn't seem quite right. Are these just tricks of the mind or is there something supernatural happening around you?
From the author of Fuan no Tane and Fuan no Tane Plus, Nakayama Masaaki, brings us yet another series focusing on the unnerving nature of urban legends and ghost stories! With an episodic structure, these short stories focus on simply taking us to unusual and creepy territories. Exploring Japanese urban legend culture, Kouishou Radio tells a series of little stories. Some tell of unusual occurrences while others are just there to leave you feeling slightly unsettled.
To say that the story is not good would be unfair. In fact to truly judge this series based on storyline is not a reasonable. There is no overarching plot line, though some stories do follow up with one another. Rather, the charm of Kouishou Radio is its episodic nature. Stories that often last only a few pages long tell stories of love, death, haunting, or even merely the bizarre. Though there is no long story line, that is not to say that some of the tales presented aren't intriguing in their own way, sometimes even meaningful.
The art is very nice and crisp when it comes to the characters. Their expressions always succeed in conveying the feelings of their emotions. Not only that, Nakayama has a true gift when it comes to drawing the spooky creatures featured in his mangas. Their strangely absent gazes and exaggerated facial structures really leaves the reader with a feeling of unease. If uncanny faces are what you'd like to mire over in the dead of night, this is definitely bedtime reading material. The reason the art did not receive a higher score is due simply to the fact that the author often doesn't draw his own backgrounds, instead using edited photos. But they do their job well in setting up the scene and really aren't worth complaining about.
Again, due to the episodic structure of the manga, do not expect any real character development. The main presentation of the manga are its eerie stories. While the human characters do have their own personalities, it is really the ghosts that are the star of the stories. Some of them have interesting backstories while others are just so out of this world that you'd hope to never meet them.
As an enthusiast of creepy stories, especially those hailing from Asia, I found this to be an exceptionally entertaining read. Easy to pick up and easy to put down, it is something nice to pass the time with.
Unlike Western horror, some of the threats are less direct and more subtle. In contrast to a tangible monster coming after you with violent intents that you could fight off, sometimes its creepier just to know that something is there watching you. Especially if that thing is a malevolent being beyond your abilities to combat. Not knowing its intents just makes it harder to stomach. If you are a fan of urban legend and campfire ghost stories, this is the manga for you.
If you were to disappear tomorrow, would the world miss you? Are there people who need you? Or are you inconsequential? Strange as it may be, Scumbag Loser is a manga that takes a fresh approach in narrating a tale of psychological horror and supernatural mystery.
Scumbag Loser, or as it is known in Japanese Saiteihen no Otoko, is a 2011 manga by Yamaguchi Mikoto. The manga follows the terrifying events surrounding the lead character Murai Masahiko, who is for all intents and purposes considered a "Loser Scumbag" in popular Japanese culture. Masahiko is an otaku who is awkward, overweight, unattractive, and has weird hobbies. His life takes a sudden and horrifying dive for the strange when a beautiful girl named Misuzawa Haruka appears and decides to enter a relationship with him. But things are not all they seem when it comes to Haruka, and with her comes a very dark turn of events.
This series is definitely not your everyday manga. Very often does the story enter into uncanny and even uncomfortable territories, yet in all this there is a very sensual and even heavy message to be told. In some ways it conveys a commentary on the way we as a society and as individuals view ourselves and others. The way the author narrates the story itself is very engaging, and always keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. The storytelling is definitely fluid and always sets itself up for the next chapter. Though some parts may slow down, it is overall a story that is both interesting and full of impact. Though some may argue that the ending could have been stronger, it is sufficient in wrapping up the twisted tale of Murai Masahiko.
The art style is definitely unique and high quality. It is consistent and clean, with nice scene compositions. The main character's design however is especially noteworthy as he is of a much more heavier build than your average anime/manga protagonist. The way the author has pulled off the look of overweight characters is realistic and dynamic. Overall Yamaguchi has nice character designs and definitely brings many memorable scenes to the manga.
There isn't too much to write about the characters as the manga itself is only three volumes long. Most of the side characters appear briefly and illustrate a certain archetype or persona, but the main character does go through quite a bit of development. The reader is able to relate to much of the feelings he experiences over the course of the story, as well as see the changes that take place internally. The antagonistic presence featured in the manga is also interesting. Always shrouded in mystery and utterly unsettling.
Overall I enjoyed this as a horror manga. It is not very long and is sure to offer you a few hours of interesting read. Though it can be awkward because of how completely out there some of the concepts and executions are, it has left quite the impact. For fans of disturbing horror mangas such as the works by Junji Ito or Parasyte, this is a hidden gem that I would definitely recommend.