8 Books/Manga Like Uzumaki | TheReviewGeek Recommends

8 Books/Manga Like Uzumaki

Uzumaki is one of Junji Ito’s beloved horror manga. It features a gripping narrative filled with bone-chilling imagery and dialogue. It’s something best read in a dark environment to attain a fully immersive experience. This manga was published as a serial in the weekly seinen manga magazine Big Comic Spirits between 1998 to 1999.  Viz Media would later publish a re-release of Ito’s work in volumes from October 2007 to February 2008.

If you’re in the mood for more supernatural horror manga that offers a similar vibe, fear not! We’ve gathered together 8 books/manga to check out when you’ve finished reading Uzumaki. Of course, if you feel we’ve missed any of your favorites, do comment below and let us know!

Gyo – Junji Ito

Similarities – Drama & Horror

Like Ito’s other works, he always manages to convert mundane objects and organisms into something bizarre and horrifying. Like Uzumaki’s spirals, Ito’s Gyo tampers with the notion of having deadly disease-ridden fish frolicking on land to attack people. This series offers a new spin on the zombie formula by mechanizing and reanimating human and aquatic corpses into cold-hearted killers.

This story follows Tadashi and his girlfriend Kaori Sawahara during their trip to Okinawa’s coast. Despite having a strained relationship, they put their bickering aside after witnessing an apocalypse forming before their eyes. Four-legged fish enter their cabin but they murder it. This is only the beginning for our love birds as they’ll realize the many cities are enduring a similar problem.

Despite feeling fearful, we follow our lovebirds on a quest to uncover the reason behind this strange phenomenon. Like Uzumaki, Gyo has incredibly disturbing artwork that’ll send shivers down your spine. The characters receive adequate development, but you’ll find Gyo’s narrative and imagery to be what grabs your attention the most. Give this a read if you need more Ito-written horror in your life.

The Colour Out of Space – Tanabe Gou

Similarities – Mystery & Atmosphere

The Colour Out of Space is a manga adaptation of one of H.P. Lovecraft’s tales. This series contains an ominous atmosphere, chilling imagery, and well-developed characters. It feels like a one-to-one remake of his work, so if you adored the original story, you’ll find Tanabe Gou’s adaptation similarly satisfying.

In it, we follow an unnamed person from Boston who retells the story from the first-person point of view. This person hopes to uncover the secrets behind the “blasted health,” a place shunned by the locales of Arkham. This series will toy with your head with its overabundance of mind-numbing concepts and phenomena.

The story’s mystery elements will keep you invested. Tanabe’s adaptation doesn’t reveal all its cards, allowing fans to speculate with friends about what lies ahead. If you adore stories that make you think, The Colour Out of Space is a fine read.

Goth – Otsuichi

Similarities – Horror & Mystery

Goth is another horror and mystery manga that’ll keep you hooked. It follows Itsuki Kamiyama, a boy whose fascinated with the concept of murder cases and enjoys solving them. While keeping tabs on several cases, Kamiyama learns more about his female classmate Yoru Morino and how much alike they are regarding interests.

However, as he solves each case, he starts unraveling more details about Morino’s horrid past. This manga contains a chilling mystery, dark atmosphere, and explicit imagery that’ll haunt you for a lifetime. It’s a short narrative that doesn’t expand upon Kamiyama or Morino’s characters that much.

That said, it’s important for fans to keep an eye on Morino’s character as her backstory. It can come off as confusing during your first read-throughs.  The story itself offers some satisfying twists that’ll pique your psyche. It leaves many open-ended questions, enticing readers to piece together their own solutions for things.

The Drifting Classroom – Kazuo Umezu

Similarities – Defenseless Humans & Horrifying Worlds

Kazuo Umezu’s The Drifting Classroom offers enough mystery and horror elements that are on par with Junji Ito’s best works. The Drafting Classroom contains ordinary humans struggling to survive and make sense of the strange events occurring around them. It follows a troublemaking sixth grader named Shou Takamatsu.

One day, Shou’s school is sent to a desolate territory after a strange earthquake occurs in the area. Shou and his allies must endure food shortages and other external threats in this newfound land. This series is riddled with an intriguing mystery that’ll keep you guessing and wondering how our characters will escape their entrapment.

Like Uzumaki, fans should expect many horrid situations to befall Shou and his friends. From tragic deaths to constant banter, it’s a series that could possibly drive you mad. Check out The Drifting Classroom is you’re in need of another story centering around defenseless humans dealing with relatable and mind-numbing situations.

Shiki – Fuyumi Ono

Similarities – Mystery & Supernatural

Shiki is an incredible horror manga that’ll challenge fans’ perceptions of good vs evil. It contains likable characters, horrid themes, and some fun action elements to keep readers entertained. This story takes place inside Sotoba Village where strange things start occurring after new residents have a home built atop the village’s iconic hill.

People start dying left and right, terrifying the residents. Enter, Toshio Ozaki, the village doctor who declares that the new residents are responsible for everyone’s deaths. With the help of several others, he plans to bring this bizarre family to justice. Unbeknownst to him, getting involved with this new family will lead him down a spooky supernatural truth.

This series doesn’t hold back from portraying its cast in horrible situations. From torn limbs to getting their heads bashed in, this series’ gore and violence are on par with the disturbing visuals you’d find in Uzumaki. Interestingly enough, Shiki will make readers question humanity’s actions toward the story’s antagonists.

Fans looking for a fun horror manga with philosophical value should give Shiki a shot.

You Will Hear the Voice of the Dead – Sachiko Uguisu

Similarities – Horror, Mystery, & Supernatural

You Will Hear the Voice of the Dead feels like an homage to Junji Ito’s work in many ways. Sachiko Uguisu’s artwork is well-detailed and will give readers a lasting impression. Despite being horror-themed, the manga offers some lighthearted comedy to balance things. The characters aren’t well-rounded but have personalities that will appeal to most audiences.

Our story follows Jun Kishida, a boy who can see dead people. He’s constantly being followed by his childhood friend, Ryouko Hayakawa despite uncovering the truth about her death. Thus our tale highlights Jun’s daily life as he gets into more strange and dangerous mischief involving the undead.

Despite having an abrupt ending, this story strikes an even balance to keep fans hooked. You’ll adore the spotlight given to its side characters while appreciating the detail that goes into their designs. If you’re on the hunt for another supernatural horror manga with a splash of comedy and wholesome moments, check this one out.

I Am a Hero – Kengo Hanazawa

Similarities – Grotesque Visuals & Psychological Narrative

I Am a Hero stands out as one of the better zombie-themed mangas. This series contains a wonderful narrative, nightmarish imagery, and an intriguing protagonist. In it, we follow Hideo Suzuki, a failed mangaka who endures a rough relationship with his girlfriend.  He suspects his girlfriend of cheating on him and confronts her about the affair.

Doing so fills Hideo with guilt. When he revisits her place to apologize, he notices the world changed for the worst. Stuck in a post-apocalyptic town full of undead beings, Hideo must do all he can to survive in this strange predicament. Everything about this manga feels surreal and jarring but in a good way.

For example, many townspeople treat the zombie residents as normal people. The way they interact with these beings feels strange and occasionally disturbing. The level of detail and creativity that went into these beings’ designs matches the tone the series gives off. The ending can leave some feeling underwhelmed as it feels a tad rushed. If you can overlook those issues then you’re in for a swell time with I Am a Hero.

Battle Royale – Koushun Takami

Similarities – Horror & Drama

Battle Royale and Uzumaki give viewers a look at the horrid sides of humanity and demonstrate what horrible things people can do when given a push. This series boasts a fun storyline rich in disturbing gore, and wonderfully developed characters. Granted, some characters in this series don’t get as much spotlight as much.

Nevertheless, Battle Royale contains enough intense moments and emotional turmoil to keep you reading. This manga follows Shuuya Nanahara and his other Shiroiwa Junior High classmates who are chosen to participate in a game called The Program. This game will leave Shuuya and the others quarantined on an island with metal explosive collars attached to their necks.

To obtain freedom, they must murder everyone and become the last person standing to win. Although everyone’s deadset on fulfilling the host’s demands, Shuuya vows to escape the island without laying a finger on any person present. This series wonderfully dives into the psychosis of maddened individuals. The actions these characters display feel realistic and downright horrifying. If you’re looking for a fun battle royale-themed manga with a layer of drama and horror elements, give this one a shot.

So there we have it, our 8 books/manga picks to keep you busy after reading Uzumaki.

What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!

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