Ibitsu: A Hidden Gem of Manga

25 Oct

When the anime and manga scene for my taste relate further into the hardcore, of Berserk, and Lone Wolf and Cub, Alita, Blade of the Immortal, Neon Genesis, the horror of Junji Ito, and his branch of horror becomes a curious fascination, I picked up Ritsyu (2018) being unknown and unaware of any story related to it. I was taking a risk at Second and Charles, where they order manga most bookstores would never want to hold, but here, the story presented is an oddball choice for me. Published by Yen Press, Ibutsu, is a story of a young demon Lolita who preys on victims asking if her victims would want a “little sister” as it creates a nightmare that would make any reader shit there pants. Most people ignore horror, but it’s where we can unleash all our pain on, and feel great after we are reading. Do you talk to the girl, or just walk by when she says, “do you want a little sister?” But it’s more than just enough for such a scary story to take place. In Salo: 120 of Sodom, based off the notorious Marquis De Sade book, the villain exclaims, “We should feel for both victim and aggressor” which was probably the director, Pasolini’s take on horror, in general.

            What seems as such an innocent perspective turns hostile, as Kazuki Itou has to find a way to calm the Demon Lolita, but with each moment he tries to fight back, her power grows stronger, as he’s held hostage and the world around him crumbles. She kills all who love him, trying to isolate him from his family. Taking away the demon story this would be some strange indie story about a woman taking her abuse out on men while wanting to be loved, but it’s here, we buy this story because the horror genre creates value over these stories. What makes the manga a chilling story is the Demon Lolita chooses indiscriminately, and the world in an unknown town, makes the manga far more terrifying. It’s far worse when the world is simpler and the vision of the manga powerful is the will to punish her victims as she had before. 

            Maybe the demon Lolita is lying, but if she wasn’t, then why would she harbor such hatred on the innocent who did nothing to her? It’s her chilling love that makes her a force to be reckoned with as you go “aww” when you realize the Demon Lolita is only reacting against the innocent as her brother had done to her. But does it make it right?

            What is interesting if you peel away the horror aspect, is a young girl who takes out her aggression on men as she had been done before, but somehow, the simpler meaning can get carried into the manga, and help the horror shape the simpler meaning. It’s a weird little stand-alone book that looks like the same manga, but it’s hard to coincide with many other Manga’s, as I wouldn’t put this in my top ten, it’s a curious little collection that mixes Junji Ito with a grunge romance story that has charm and a bit of a sexual tension to boot. 

            Is it creepy and it will make you gag? Is it Junji Ito, no, but many can agree it served its purpose. Yes. So it’s a winner, in my book. The art is not on Junji Ito or Kentaro Miura, but it’s a nice little collection in a middle of a huge overdeveloped market. What is fascinating is that I had never heard of it before, and however I sit here writing this, it’s like a growing threat. Somewhere out there, there’s a demon Lolita taking her anger out on anyone who would dare love her. 

            It’s not quite a masterpiece but an artist and writer finding his own path out of the world of heavy hitters in the manga world. Ryo is a promising talent among a crop of talented artists in the field.

            Final Rating: 7 out of 10 

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