Uzumaki Wiki

Uzumaki (Japanese: うずまき?Spiral) is a seinen horror manga series created by Junji Ito. Appearing as a serial in the weekly manga magazine Big Comic Spirits from 1998 to 1999, the chapters were compiled into three tankobon volumes by Shogakukan and published from August 1998 to September 1999. In March 2000, Shogakukan released all three volumes in a complete collection, followed by a second omnibus version in August 2010. In North America, Viz Media serialized an English-language translation of the series in its monthly magazine Pulp from February 2001 to August 2002. Viz Media then published the volumes from October 2001 to October 2002, with a re-release from October 2007 to February 2008, and published a hardcover complete collection in October 2013.

The series tells the story of the citizens of Kurôzu-cho, a fictional city plagued by a supernatural curse involving spirals. The story for Uzumaki spiraled out of the idea that of people living in a long row house, and Ito making the house into a spiral to reach his desired length.

The manga was adapted into two video games for the WonderSwan and a Japanese live-action film directed by Higunchinsky. The manga has received generally positive reviews from English-language critics. It was nominated for an Eisner Award in 2003, and placed in the Young Adult Library Services Association's list of the "Top 10 Graphic Novels for Teens" in 2009.


Uzumaki follows a high-school teenager Kirie Goshima (五島切り絵), her boyfriend Shuichi Saito (佐藤修一), and the citizens of the small, fictional Japanese town of Kurôzu-cho (黒渦町 Black Vortex Town or Closed Town), which is cursed by supernatural events involving spirals. As the story progresses, Kirie and Shuichi witness how the spiral curse affects the people around them, slowly making spirals the center of their lives. As the community begins to break down, Kirie is affected by the curse as well and her hair begins to curl into an unnatural spiral pattern, drains her life energy to hypnotize the citizens, and chokes her whenever she attempts to cut it off. Shuichi is able to cut her hair and save her. The curse continues to plague the town, until a storm conjured by the curse destroys most of its structures. The only remaining buildings are ancient abandoned row houses, which the citizens are forced first to move into, and then begin expanding as they grow more and more crowded.

Kirie and Shuichi are unable to escape Kurôzu-cho, despite their efforts. When they return to the town, they find that time moves faster for the cursed community and that several years have passed. The other citizens have expanded the row houses, creating one massive spiral pattern. Kirie and Shuichi decide to search for Kirie's parents, which brings them to the center of the spiral. At the center, they fall down a pit, within which they discover the corpses of Kirie's parents and an ancient city completely covered with spiral patterns. Shuichi urges Kirie to move forward and find a way to stop the curse, but she replies that she does not have the strength and wishes to stay with him. The two embrace each other as their bodies twist and wrap together as a result of the curse. As they lie together, Kirie notes that the curse ended at the same time it began, and concludes that the curse is eternal, and all the events will repeat when a new Kurôzu-cho is built where the previous one laid.



Uzumaki was written and illustrated by mangaka Junji Ito. The story comes from Ito's experience of living in an older row house as a child. While trying to find a way to exaggerate the length of such a long building, Ito was inspired by the shape of a mosquito coil and decided to turn the structure into a spiral. Ito has noted that the spiral is a "mysterious pattern" and described writing Uzumaki as an attempt to learn the secrets of the spiral. Ito sought inspiration by methods such as staring at spirals, researching spirals, creating spiral patterns by draining water from bathtubs, eating foods with spiral patterns, and raising snails. Looking back on the series in 2006, Ito stated that while he was still uncertain what the spiral stood for, he thought it might be representative of infinity.

Ito intended for Uzumaki to subvert the positive depictions of spirals in media, stating, "Usually spiral patterns mark character’s cheeks in Japanese comedy cartoons, representing an effect of warmth. However, I thought it could be used in horror if I drew it a different way." Ito also took inspiration from H.P. Lovecraft's works when creating Uzumaki's atmosphere, sense of dread, and cosmic horror elements.

Related media[]

Video games[]

Two video games were developed and published by Omega Micott for the Bandai WonderSwan. The first, Uzumaki: Denshi Kaiki Hen (うずまき 〜電視怪奇篇〜 Spiral -Power Vision Strange Edition-), was released on February 3, 2000 and is a visual novel retelling the events of the manga. Kirie Goshima's actor, Eriko Hatsune makes a special appearance. The second game, titled Uzumaki: Noroi Simulation (うずまき 〜呪いシミュレーション〜 Spiral -Curse Simulation-), was released on March 4, 2000 and is a simulation game, where players must spread the spiral curse. The objective is to spread the curse across the town and find hidden objects to gain more "Spiral Power" and progress the story. This game also has a mini-game centering on the snail-human hybrids.

Live-action film[]

In 2000, a live-action adaptation of Uzumaki premiered in Japan. Directed by Higunchinsky, it featured Eriko Hatsune as Kirie Goshima, Shin Eun-kyung as Chie Maruyama, Fhi Fan as Shuichi Saito, Keiko Takahashi as Yukie Saito, Ren Osugi as Toshio Saito, and Hinako Saeki as Kyoko Sekino. The film consists of four parts ("A Premonition", "Erosion", "Visitation", and "Transmigration"), and diverges from the manga as production began before the manga's conclusion. The film received a 54 percent approval rating on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, with the general consensus that "Uzumaki uses its creepy, David Lynch-inspired atmospherics to effectively build a sense of dread, but ultimately fails to do anything with it."


Uzumaki was nominated for an Eisner Award in the category of "Best U.S. Edition of Foreign Material" in 2003. The Young Adult Library Services Association chose the first volume for its list of the "Top 10 Great Graphic Novels for Teens" in 2009. The manga was also included on its list of the 53 "Great Graphic Novels for Teens". Viz Media's Deluxe edition ranked #172 in Diamond's Top 300 Graphic Novels on October 2013 with a total of 784 copies sold. IGN placed Uzumaki at #2 under their "Top 10 Horror/Thriller Manga" list.'s Deb Aoki placed Uzumaki in her list of recommended horror manga, describing it as a classic of the genre. Uzumaki appeared in1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die (2011), and the reviewer wrote that it reminded him of the works of H.P. Lovecraft. MyM magazine praised the manga, calling it "one of the scariest manga series around."

In Manga: The Complete Guide (2007), Jason Thompson gave Uzumaki three and a half stars, and wrote that, taken as a whole, the manga succeeds as "an elegant and sometimes blackly humorous story of dreamlike logic and nihilism." Thompson featured the manga again in his House of 1000 Manga blog, praising it for its originality, in that it revolved around a "a certain nightmarish, fatalistic way of looking at the world". Comics Alliance author and comic artist, Sara Horrocks, also praised the manga, stating "What makes Uzumaki such a strong work is how precise it is in it’s mechanics. It is meticulous in the way that a curse might be."



  • In the Japanese poster of Uzumaki, if you look closely, there is a portrait of the original Japanese manga cover.
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