Here comes another cycle of sleepless nights and nightmares. Junji Ito comes out with a rather bizarre way of basing a story of horror around the preface of a failed suicide. Black Paradox seems to be a bit more polarizing than his previous works, namely The Liminal Zone, Hellstar Remina, Shiver and Deserter.
Some readers consider Remina to be his best work of all time. But Black Paradox is a tad bit different as it deals with sensitive issues like suicide and anxiety apart from supernatural, body horror, and sci-fi.
With the grim purpose to end their lives as it lacks meaning, four people travel to nowhere until something beyond normal changes everything. So what awaits the group with their discovery of a bizarre stone which sets off a series of events and seals their fates? Here is my take on this Ito’s manga Black Paradox.
The story begins with four individuals traveling in a car to end their lives. Taburo, Pii-tan, Baracchii, and Maruso, wander in search of the “perfect” death. They fatefully opened a door that changed their lives forever… What changed their life? A stone called Paradonite.
What makes Black Paradox unique or worth a read:
Black Paradox was written by Junji Ito, a master of horror and grotesque in the manga comic industry. Known for its outlandish storytelling and unsettling imagery, the manga offers readers a twisted dark narrative that scrutinizes the human psyche and supernatural phenomena.
Junji Ito’s signature art style is perhaps one of the aspects that stands out in Black Paradox. The detailed and intricate visuals aptly capture the unsettling, grotesque, and inherent nature of the story. The weird atmosphere that he weaves through the imagery adds an extra layer of disgust and dread to the narrative. It takes talent to show both physical and psychological horror at the same time which leaves readers feeling uncomfortable yet wanting to read ahead and finish the comic.
Another aspect of Ito’s interesting storytelling is his mastery of pacing and suspense. The readers go through a spine-chilling journey with every unsettling event that unfolds, gradually revealing the secrets hidden within chapters. No one does it better than Ito at creating a foreboding atmosphere, keeping readers glued to the mange in the eerily unsettling world he crafted.
It is worth noting that Black Paradox has played around with sensitive subjects like psychological health, suicide and manipulation very subtly. These elements can be intense and may not be suitable for the weak-hearted. A positive aspect about this is that he didn’t go overboard concentrating on these subjects that could’ve led to people of certain communities being offended.
The story is interesting with a lot of bizarre incidents, paradoxes, and unpredictable twists. Black Paradox revolves around Paradonite which contains souls from an afterworld. The gateways to this afterworld turned up to be in places nobody could think of. There is no guarantee of a person returning from that other world in one piece. In short, it is a solid piece of work by Ito.
If you enjoy dark and unsettling narratives, “Black Paradox” is definitely worth exploring. Black Paradox is a disturbing manga that shows Ito’s craftsmanship in telling tales of horror. The manga blurs the line between nightmare and reality. So make sure you don’t read it before you go to sleep.
It was quite a different manga reading experience as Black Paradox isn’t mainstream manga according to me. Not meant for everyone. There are six chapters to this manga and a bonus story.
Each chapter in Black Paradox has a supernatural or macabre element that kept all members of the group from pulling off the final act, i.e., suicide. The last scene of the manga where the four characters are ready to dive into the afterworld taking it to be a one-way ticket is quite iconic. To me, Black Paradox was not as dark as I read it felt to other reviewers.
But what I found boring at the same time was the usage of the idea that human greed leads to the downfall of humanity. However, the supernatural element and traveling through portals and worlds make up for the boredom.
I am a huge fan of Netflix TV shows like Black Mirror and Love, Death, and Robots. Reading Black Paradox vibe similarly to that. If you are someone who has watched these shows or is a fan of other series like Supernatural, Stranger Things, or the X-Files, this book is a treat.