Usamaru Furuya Garden

Facts
Reviews Views Date product posted
0 2974 10/8/2007
 
Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
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{Please note ~ this is an import comic and is not available in English at the time of this review. It can be purchased with the ISBN number below through Japanese bookstores and amazon.co.jp}

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Publisher: Cue Comics
ISBN: 4-87257-204-1 C0979
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Background

Usamaru Furuya is an amazing artist and an incredibly twisted man. It takes a certain sort of courage just to pick up a title with his name on it: one never really can know exactly what to expect. Chances are it will be offensive, eye-opening and heartrending. This book, like the bulk of his work, is a collection of short stories, and quite possibly his most harrowing to date.

Short Stories Included

The Illusionary Garden - A girl is born from a drop of water into Bosch's Garden of Earthly delights. All of the inhabitants of this garden are naked and encourage her to take off his clothes as well, that she might be "free". Soon after she's snatched away by a giant sparrow who takes her to a garden of a different sort and points out that she is still wearing her flesh and therefore can not truly be naked, or free... (surreal)

Fellatio from an Angel - a hopeless dork is about to score in a church with the hottest girl at school... unfortunately God has different plans for him... (comedy)

Maybe a Dream (Yume Kana) - Yume and Kana are best of friends, or so it appears. In reality, Kana is desperately jealous of Yume and does cruel things to her which Yume accepts out of naevite. When these cruel tricks escalate into the realm of the truly dangeous, Kana realizes that Yume may mean more to her than a rival after all... (psychological, horror)

The Creature from the Sea - a schoolgirl finds a strange shellfish on the shore and brings it home. But there's quite a bit more to the shell than first appears... (surreal, pychological)

Tome of the Moon - a child apprentice lures young girls to his master for human experiments in hopes of attaining the key to eternal youth. When one girl is discovered to be in possession of the key, the master needs to kill her in order to retrieve it. Unfortunately, the boy and girl have bonded... (fantasy, romance, horror)

Emi-chan - a mentally stunted young girl is sent by her parents into the woods only to run across a serial child rapist and murderer. He soon adds Emi to his "collection"... but Emi has been sent with a purpose...

Overall

This particular book centers around sexuality: particularly it's destructive and manipulative power. The theme seems particularly relevant in Japan, where sexual crimes are quite common and often go unreported. Female readers may find the level of violence against women impossible to tolerate, but there is a real palpable fear and connection to the situations that I suspect only a female reader can truly experience.

In spite of women playing the role of victim and Usamaru being, himself, a man, the stories never seem terribly misogynistic. The perpetrators are drawn as miserable human beings and their actions themselves are ugly. In the end, often the predators themselves become the prey. There are no happy endings for anyone down this rabbit-hole.

The final story, "Emi-chan", is the most difficult to read. Making up nearly half of the volume, it details the rape, torture and murder of a girl in the rain. Drawn in nightmarish scribbles, it gets only worse as reality begins to unravel. To read it is to be there in Emi's shoes. It's scary as hell and realistic enough to make you forget that you're reading a book. As the story spirals to it's unexpected and oddly beautiful end, you'll be hard-pressed not to wipe tears from your eyes.

Final Thoughts

In 2005 a train I was riding hit and killed a jumper on the Yamanote line in Tokyo. I watched as the body was taken away. At the end of the day I went back to the stop where it had happened and watched the trains run over the drying pool of blood as though nothing had ever happened at all.
Reading this book was a lot like that day...

It's genuinely hard to recommend an experience so terrible... but it is powerful, nonetheless. That someone can commit something so soul-shaking to paper is proof of incredible talent. There are very few human beings on this planet who I think would ~enjoy~ this book, but I never want to meet them in a dark alley. I do, however, think that there's a story here that needs to be told.

What exactly that story is, that's for you to decide.
The incredibly brave, morbidly curious or those who enjoy being challenged should probably read this... everyone else will want to stay far far away.

NOT recommended to minors, weak-stomachs, people prone to nightmares, unstable serial-killer types, and anyone who lives with their parents or anyone else who might be freaked out by finding a book like this lying around...
Keywords: short stories manga, comics, japanese book collection
Illustrations and Layout Very Good
Entertainment Value Horrible
Replay Value Horrible
Plot Excellent
Genre Horror, Psychological, Guro, Independant
Volumes 1
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