There’s an urban legend that says late at night, sometimes a young girl dressed in Gothic Lolita clothing will appear by garbage dumps to ask a question. Any who answer will, without fail, die a twisted death. And tonight, another young boy will find himself enveloped by this horror…
Title: Ibitsu | Author: Haruto Ryo | Publisher: Yen Press | Pub. Date: 07/24/2018 | Pages: 416 | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: self-harm, torture | Rating: 5 out of 5 | Source: Self-purchased
I started reading this very late at night and holy hell. I literally could not put it down. I was flipping pages like no tomorrow. The story sucked me in from the start and even when I knew things were getting dark I still had to see where it was going.
Ibitsu is set up in chapters with two short stories added. One near the middle and one at the end. I’ll cover Ibitsu first, then the shorter stories as they’re not really connected to the main plot of Ibitsu. Ibitsu centers around the eponymous girl/demon who hangs out in garbage pick-ups to find their next “older brother”. This could be interpreted as sexual, especially with the Gothic Lolita aesthetic but it’s not. It’s really, really not. If the unfortunate teen in question is asked “Would you have a little sister?” no matter what he answers he’s screwed. To the core. If he does not have one, Ibitsu inserts herself into his life as his ‘new’ little sister. If he says “No, I have a sister“, well, let’s just say that Ibitsu will find ways to become that little sister regardless. It never ends well.
There were a few unbelievable moments such as after Kazuki and Hikari are attacked by Ibitsu the first time. They go to the police and the police brush it off as “When guys want to break up with women they call them stalkers. Can’t you break up with someone like a grown man?” Kazuki then takes the police to his home to show them the wreckage of the attack but it’s all cleaned up. To which the police officer says “Why would an attacker clean up after themselves?” Umm, maybe to not leave evidence? Just possibly? However, this is fairly common with teen-oriented fiction. So it wasn’t a huge deal-breaker.
Things just get worse from there. I don’t want to spoil anything. If you are sensitive to brutal images then I would pass this up. There is a few pages that make you a bit sympathetic towards Ibitsu and it was handled in an interesting way. It is also hard to get a read on whether she is a real girl or demon. It plays with both interpretations but there are a few things that point directly at her being a demon. Phones don’t work around her and she always seems able to find someone. No matter what.
Short Story One: Hall of Dolls – That’s right. They had to add creepy, creepy dolls. And it’s done soooo well. It actually made my scalp prickle. There is some sexual content in this section. But it’s brief and the teens involved look very much like older teens. If they had been very loli looking I doubt I would have given it as high of a score as I did. But I loved this short. It was a nice, creepy interlude with a heavy urban legend feel to it.
Short Story Two: The Curious Case of the Editor – This story would not have been out of place in a Tales from the Darkside episode or one of the darker Twilight Zones. An animator isn’t having the best of luck. His series got cancelled and the bills are piling up. A strange girl claiming to be an editor at a magazine hires him to bring her fantasy boy to life. As you can imagine, this doesn’t end well.
All in all, it was a very good and kept me so interested I finished it in one night. The illustrations were very well done as well. I liked them a lot. There were no punches pulled and some of the images were a bit disturbing. There is also some light nudity. I’m just starting to dip my toes into horror/fantasy manga world but I’m hoping to find more to dive right in. I’m always open to suggestions as my local bookstore is heavy on the more popular mangas but kind of light on the horror genre.
GracieKat was the first co-host of Sci-Fi & Scary, Lilyn’s partner-in-crime, and sub-head of the Kali Krew. She reviews horror books, movies, and games for the site. She also does a weekly Focus on the Frightful feature, and is the site list-maker. She is also in control of the Sci-Fi & Scary podcast which will relaunch soon.
This looks awesome! I’ll have to add it to my TBR 🙂
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