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File:Uzumak coveri.jpg

  "This is Kurôzu-cho, where I grew up. I would like to share with you... the strange events that took place here."

Kurôzu-cho, a small Japanese seaside village, is plagued by mysterious happenings. A man commits suicide in his own bathtub. A student's scar becomes a black hole. People start transforming into giant snails.

What do all these events have in common? The spiral. The suicidal man's body was contorted into a spiral. The student's scar became a spiral in its transformation into a black hole. The "snail people" are marked by their spiral-shaped birthmarks, which slowly transform into shells. To make matters worse, the small island town is completely cut off from the rest of the world; all ships are sunk by whirlpools, while the tunnel that leads to the outside world becomes an endless trip.

So begins the terrifying three-volume manga by Junji Ito (creator of The Enigma of Amigara Fault), centering upon a supposed curse placed upon the town.

Not to be confused, in any way, with the main character of Naruto. Or Spiral Energy.

A live action film adaptation exists that has a large portion of the story left out, although this is partly due to the manga still being incomplete when the movie was made.


Tropes associated with Uzumaki:

  • Alien Geometries: Of a decidedly spirally sort.
  • And I Must Scream: Kirie is telling the story as a memory, which implies she is still conscious... Even though she was turned to stone.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Kirie keeps narrating even after she's frozen in time/turned to stone
    • The scroll found hidden in the wall of the row house may also have been one of these.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Honestly, given what some people witness directly, their refusal to accept the possibility of later events is Dying Like Animals - Bats/Ostriches version.
  • Attention Whore: Sekino from "Medusa".
  • Baleful Polymorph: Some people are turned into snails...others turn into much worse things.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Kirie was also infected with the godawful, demonic spiral warts later in the story. They're on her feet, very small, caused no problems, we didn't get to see them anyway, and then disappeared completely.
    • Also played straight with Kirie's burns, which are severe enough to have her hospitalised, yet mostly miss her face and heal without leaving scars.
    • Likewise, we only hear about her eating the flesh of the snail-people in vague narration, while everyone else is depicted in full, disgusting detail.
  • Beneath the Earth: The final chapter.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Star-Crossed Lovers chapter. It says a lot that this is considered the high point of the manga.
  • Body Horror: Like you wouldn't believe -- particularly freaky are the human hedgerows inside the houses after the town succumbs to the curse.
  • Campbell Country: Kurôzu-cho is an isolated village by the sea.
  • The Cassandra: Shuichi. The problem is that he mostly only talks to Kirie.
    • Also, Kirie, when she's trying to alert everyone about the bloodsucking mothers.
  • Catch Phrase: Shuichi. Cryptic words with "mad" on them.
    • Pretty much every character will at some point utter the words "That sound! It just pierces through my ears!"
  • Chekhov's Gun: In "Mosquitoes", Keiko's cloth-wrapped item. It was a hand drill. In the same chapter, Shuichi's bug spray.
  • Cosmic Horror Story
  • Deus Ex Machina: This is how Kirie escapes a few dangers--for instance, random passersby walk in and distract the monster in chapter 11, and a storm blows a branch that impales her assailant in chapter 13.
  • Downer Ending: It gets worse if you remember from the beginning of the series that the narration in the first few pages, seen at the top of the page, talks about the events that occur during the series in the past tense and spend the entire series positive that no matter how bad it gets at least the main character's going to get out of Kurôzu-cho to tell her tale. She doesn't.
  • Eat the Dog
  • Eldritch Abomination: The giant spiral ruins underneath Dragonfly Pond that are turning the town and everyone in it into spirals.
  • Eldritch Location: The entire town.
  • Enfant Terrible: The babies born to the bloodsucking pregnant women. They have some terrible tricks of their own.
    • Also, the nasty children from the latter chapters. According to citizens, half of the structural damage is due to their pranks, exploiting the wind phenomenon.
  • Eternal Recurrence
  • Everything's Better With Spinni--NO, IT ISN'T.
  • Eyes Are Unbreakable: Averted in The Movie.
  • Face Heel Turn: Tanizaki's party.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: The eventual fate of the entire town, considering Kirie is narrating the story in the past tense
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: In Chapter 13, the local Peeping Tom grows giant horns all over his body.
  • Gonk: The original snail-man. Even before his transformation.
  • Grotesque Gallery
  • Heroic BSOD: Shuichi, very gradually. He never recovered.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Jack-in-the-Box's stuntman skills. It didn't work.
  • Idiot Ball: Even on a normal level, Kirie. A lot. Why would anyone bring their boyfriend anywhere near a girl who is known for seducing frickin' everyone?
    • To be fair, Kirie was hesitant to and Shuichi was NOT charmed by the other girl.
    • On a more idiot level, Okada from chapter 3. What would you do when you see a girl with a gigantic spiral hole in her face, grinning maniacally at you? Why, try to touch the spiral of course. ("I-is that... bone?") Granted, she was previously established as being supernaturally attractive.
  • Important Haircut: Kirie is short-haired for more than half the tale after the chapter that shows the first time the spirals affected her directly, turning her from The Scully into a believer.
  • It Got Worse: The first two chapters feature the female lead's boyfriend's parents deaths. The father becomes obsessed with spirals, killing himself by turning into a giant spiral. The mother by contrast, becomes deathly afraid of spirals, hallucinating her husband's body is in each one, and cutting off her own fingers tips, to get rid of the spirals. Then she finds out about the spiral in the inner ear... When they're cremated, their ashes turn into spirals with an image of their screaming face. It STILL gets worse. Much worse.
  • Karmic Transformation: Tsubara in the "Snail" chapter.
  • Kill'Em All
  • Killed Off for Real: Chie
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After a bully, Tsubara, pokes fun at (figuratively and literally) the first Mollusk Person/Snail Man, he ends up becoming one himself. Later, the teacher of the class destroys a 'nest' of their eggs and suffers the same fate. Needless to say, it's probably apparent that nobody else in the class did anything to the Snail Men.
  • Live Action Adaptation: A live-action movie was made in 2000.
  • Ludd Was Right: By the last chapters, any semblance of modern society in the village has all but vanished.
  • Monster Clown: Jack-in-the-Box's gift.
  • Non Actor Vehicle: Fhi Fan, who played Shuichi in the movie, was a Thai model who never acted before or ever again after this part.
  • Oh Crap: Chie, upon realizing that she's trapped inside the spiral building.
  • Only Sane Man: Shuichi, which quickly reaches the point of absurdity.
    • Then again, he along with a few other people had every single opportunity to just get out of town before things really started going to hell. By the time he actually decides to do it, it's already too late.
    • Tanizaki as well in the end. By willingly cooperating with the curse, he ultimately becomes the last sane, reasonable human left alive in the village.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: After getting bitten by mosquitoes, pregnant women start sucking people's blood. Drills are utilized.
    • Jack-in-the-box's corpse brings hopping vampires to mind.
  • Prehensile Hair: Kirie's hair becomes this in the Medusa chapter. Overlaps with:
    • Idiot Hair: They try to comb it down at first - it doesn't stick.
    • Blessed with Suck: It has a mind of its own and very much wants to live. Also, it drains the life of the user.
    • Empathic Weapon: Kinda. See above.
    • Charm Person: Has a hypnotic effect.
    • Important Haircut: Shuichi nearly dies from the attempt, and Kirie keeps her hair short from that point onwards (see pic above). Sadly the other victim isn't that lucky.
    • Mythology Gag: Medusa has some similarities to the Hair chapter from Junji Ito's Tomie.
  • Psychological Horror
  • Remix Comic: A fan edit of the first two chapters, entitled Gorgo the Slum Queen, was recently released on 4chan. It turns the nightmarish atmosphere into Nightmare Retardant. Can be found here.
  • Room Full of Crazy: The collection of spirals in the first chapter.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog
  • Stalker with a Crush: A typhoon and a Jack In The Box. And Wakabayashi, however briefly.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: The two kids in the Twisted Souls chapter.
  • Stupidity-Inducing Attack: It's strongly implied that the town is exerting a certain measure of mental influence on its inhabitants in order to make them easier prey, which would certainly explain many of the more... questionable decisions that crop up throughout the story.
  • Surreal Horror
  • Too Dumb to Live: All the named characters stay in town way past the point it's clear they should leave. It's mentioned that a few people bugged out when the first inexplicable deaths occurred, leaving empty houses for those remaining whose homes have been smashed.
    • Kirie deserves a special mention. Maybe it was the Spirals' hypnotizing power, but she seems to forget all the crazy shit that happens each subsequent chapter. She fails to not only heed Shuichi's warnings every time he appears, but she writes him off each time as "acting strange lately".
      • It's WORSE than that. In later chapters she thinks that 'maybe this is because of the Spiral...' but doesn't do a thing about it!
      • Consider, however, that when people were cremated in other towns had their ashes sucked into the Dragonfly pond...escaping might not have been an option. Especially considering the Year Inside, Hour Outside nature of the place in later chapters (see below).
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Does it ever.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: How does Kirie survive the rabid mob of drill-wielding bloodthirsty women? Bugspray. Not lit like a blowtorch, just bugspray).
  • Wham! Episode: "The House". Stories in the first two volumes are terrifying, yes, but still within a somewhat Magical Realism setup. Starting from "the House" it's post-apocalyptic Survival Horror. With twister-riding super-power delinquents.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The Snail People, milked for every bit of Squick possible.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The Dragonfly Gang.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Rescue boats are sunk by sudden whirlpools.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Kirie and the others spend an unknown number of days wandering the hills trying to escape, but when they give up and go back to town, an unknown number of years have passed within it.
  • Your Head Asplode: At the end of the lost chapter "Galaxies," the astronomer Torino receives an overabundance of galactic radio waves, causing his head to grossly enlarge until it explodes "like an egg in a microwave," according to Kirie. It then shoots into the night sky to exist as its own galaxy.
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