Uzumaki is one of Junji Ito’s best-known works outside of Japan apart from Tomie, the latter of which has a successful film and television franchise in Japan. The story of Uzumaki chronicles the daily life of high school student Kirie Goshima and her boyfriend Shuichi Saito as their lives literally spiral out of control in the cursed sea-side town of Kurouzu-cho (Black Spiral Town). While Uzumaki did receive a live-action film in 2000 starring Eriko Hatsune and Fhi Fan, it was also a loose adaptation that didn't fully capture the spirit of Ito's manga.
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It’s unknown how much of the Uzumaki manga will be adapted into the upcoming four-episode anime adaptation, given that there are 20 chapters worth of story to adapt (19 actual chapters, plus a bonus prequel). While the anime remains a year away -- set to debut in October 2022 -- there are five freaky moments from the manga that need to make it into the anime to fully capture the extent of Kurouzu-cho's horror. These moments range from subtle to absolutely horrifying.
The Girl With The Moon-Shaped Scar
Uzumaki gets off to a terrifying start with Shuichi's parents being driven insane by Kurouzu-cho's spiral curse, but things only get worse from there. One of the freakiest incidents that happens very early in the manga involves Kirie's classmate, Azami Kurotani. Originally from the nearby city of Midoriyama-shi (Green Mountain City) -- which is the polar opposite of Kurouzu-cho in every way -- Azami was in some ways already cursed. With her last name Kurotani meaning "black valley," Azami had a moon-shaped scar on her forehead that took a life on its own.
In the one chapter she appears in, Kirie befriends Azami and quickly learns she's able to effortlessly attract boys. The rumor is that the moon-shaped scar on her forehead has magical properties, but in reality, it has been taken over by the town's spiral curse. When she meets Kirie's boyfriend for the first time, Shuichi immediately recognizes she's been cursed by the spiral and tries to stay away from her. This causes Azami to become obsessed with Shuichi to the point where she manipulates another classmate into drawing him out. While she succeeds in her plan, Azami's scar turns into a spiral that ends up devouring both herself and the classmate she manipulated.
The Large Human Snails
Another way Kurouzu-cho's spiral curse manifests itself in Uzumaki is by random human beings mysteriously turning into snails. This happened to another one of Kirie's classmates -- an obese boy named Katayama -- who was too slow to get to class, leading to him getting bullied by another classmate named Tsumura. As time progressed, Katayama gradually turned into a snail, but the curse didn't end with him. Eventually Tsumura got turned into a snail as well, seemingly as punishment for his bullying.
When Tsumura and Katayama in snail form mate, they lay eggs that their teacher, Mr. Yokota, attempt to destroy. This results in him getting turned into a snail as well. Katayama, Tsumura and Yokota aren't the last people to be turned into snails, however. In the later chapters of Uzumaki, as the town becomes more and more plagued by disasters, more people -- including Kirie's little brother Mitsu -- turn into snails. The human snails later become a source of food for other surviving humans, an incredibly freaky story we want to see in the Uzumaki anime.
The Black Lighthouse
A sea-side town story is never complete without some lighthouse horror, which Ito delivers in Uzumaki Chapter 9 titled "The Black Lighthouse." At some point during Kurouzu-cho's ongoing horror, the town's decommissioned lighthouse starts lighting itself up at dusk. The light that radiates from it is so intense, people start complaining about its brightness. When maintenance men go in to inspect the lighthouse, they never return.
At one point, Kirie's little brother and his friends get curious about the lighthouse and decide to investigate it themselves. Despite Kirie warning her brother and his friends about the lighthouse's danger, curiosity still got the better of them. When Kirie goes in to retrieve her brother, she quickly learns the horrifying fates that befell the maintenance men. While Kirie manages to get her brother and some of his friends out, one of the kids doesn't make it out alive and gets burned by the lighthouse's intense light.
The Mushroom-shaped Placentas
Uzumaki reaches peak horror when Kirie finds herself hospitalized from the lighthouse incident. The hospital she ends up in presents some horrors of its own when pregnant women start murdering other patients with drills for their blood. The phenomenon is linked to the mosquito infestation in the area, which causes the pregnant women to consume human blood in order to sustain their pregnancies. When the babies are born, more horror ensues.
One of the first things that goes wrong with the newborns is their bellies start swelling up, as if they're pregnant themselves. Both male and female babies are affected. This horrifies Kirie, who ends up tripping down some stairs and hurts herself again, causing her to spend more time in the hospital. When she is fed some mushrooms, she notices they taste more like meat than fungi. When Kirie goes to investigate, she quickly learns the mushrooms she ate were placentas that emerged from both the pregnant women and newborn babies. These placentas with their attached umbilical cords took the shape of mushrooms.
The Sentient Typhoons
The last horrifying event in Uzumaki that puts the whole cursed town through a downward spiral of death is the arrival of sentient typhoons -- which we definitely hope to see in the anime adaptation too. The first storm to arrive ends up stalking Kirie when she goes to deliver lunch to her boyfriend, who has since become reclusive. This means that even when Kirie stayed at home, the eye of the storm hovered over her house.
The only way the storm dissipates is after it gets swallowed up by the town's Dragonfly Pond, but things don't end there. More typhoons arrive to finish destroying the town, but they too are consumed. This gets the attention of various reporters outside the town who traveled to investigate the strange weather events. When they get there, however, they quickly discover they can't get out and are trapped in the destroyed town's madness.