Sensor from Junji Ito is a horror/mystery manga that tells the story of a journalist, Wataru Tsuchiyado, who spends years trying to find out what happened to Kyoko Byakuya, the sole survivor of a volcano eruption who mysteriously disappeared shortly afterwards. It’s a story that reaches into the past and is wrapped in a mystery that the single volume story only begins to unfold.
It’s really hard to summarise the plot to this manga without either giving things away or make it sound a little all over the place. The plot is a little messy, with a hell of a lot put into the 230ish pages, but it doesn’t feel like it when your reading it. Each of the seven chapters feel almost like short stories that are telling the overarching story and because of that it does feel like some elements aren’t explored fully. The whole manga is only one volume, but there’s definitely enough here for more. There are a lot of questions left unanswered, even if the main plot gets a decent, but a little abrupt, ending.
I found the first couple of chapters of Sensor really hard to get into. Some of the writing felt a little clunky and off, but that could be a translation issue, and the story didn’t feel very focused. Reading Junju Ito’s mini-essay about the story at the end of the book, he does mention that he didn’t have a concrete plan and the chatacters seemed to do what they wanted, and it does kind of feel like that at firs. The first chapter shows Kyoko walking at the base of the volcano, not really knowing why. The second chapter then moves over to the reporter and slowly over the next couple of chapters the story starts to settle in.
By the time I was hooked I was almost half way through, thankfully some of the best bits are in the second half. There’s an entire chapter featuring suicide bugs, little bugs that jump under people’s feet so they’ll stand on them. It’s gruesome and creepy, especially when its revealed what they represent. I think that chapter is the best in terms of horror, although there’s another chapter where the reporter is being stalked through reflections that is also haunting.
The art in this story is simply brilliant. Ito is a master of drawing horror, and has a very twisted imagination. There are moments in Sensor where he holds absolutely nothing back, with some of the strangest things you can imagine. There are so many moments in the story where you’ll stop reading and study the details on the page.
Sensor is definitely worth reading for any horror fan. It’s filled with interesting and strange ideas, and once the story does get going it is good. It is a shame that it feels a little rushed in places, but the creepiness is still there and there’s enough chills to make this a fun read.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed my review, and until next time,