Okay, the entire time, the story is set up as Kirie telling her tale to... someone, but in the end, she ends up trapped with everyone else in the spiral ruins. So was she just Breaking the Fourth Wall this whole time... or is something stranger going on here? If she is genuinely telling her tale to someone... or something other than the reader, who or what is it, and how is she doing it?
Oh Jesus I do not want to know what she was talking to...OH DAMMIT, MY MIND IS ALREADY TRYING TO DO IT!
My little sister had a particularly interesting idea about this strange phenomenon. She believes what the readers see in the beginning of the manga is in fact not truly Kirie herself, but some kind of mental echo of her, caused by the time spiral that surround the area. It's all pretty freakish, but something like this might actually work, I think.
Personally, this troper always assumed that she remained fully aware after being turned to stone, which probably eroded her sanity over time; in order to cope with the horror of what had become of her I always assumed that she escaped into her own mind and what we see at the beginning is actually all a fantasy that she had concocted due to having lost her mind or as a coping mechanism.
Okay, the story was actually okay. It kept me hooked to the end and temporarily disturbed my sanity like it was supposed to. What's bothering me is the fact that much of the plot depended on Kirie holding the Idiot Ball. At the beginning it's justifiable since, well, the curse hasn't really manifested and Shuichi would have seemed crazy to anyone else in the story. But how do you justify not believing someone telling you about something such as a curse after so many other things have gone terribly wrong and said someone was right the previous other times??
I think the town itself has a numbing effect on people living in it. Shuichi mentions near the beginning that since he has to attend school in another town, he sees firsthand that all the stuff that happens in Kurôzu-cho is impossible in the outside world. The people living there 24 hours a day, including Kirie, have been so immersed in it for so long that even things that set off huge alarm bells for the reader are barely registering as "slightly odd" for them. Since Shuichi is away enough for the town to lose its grip on him, he's our perspective and reaction to how oblivious they're all being.
That, and that the ruins themselves possibly enforce an Extra-Strength Masquerade through some kind of mental influence. Shuichi being out of town more regularly probably lessened its hold on him.
The spiral curse has an influence on the minds of people. Over the course of the story, things get worse and worse until everyone is dead, just like a spiral, where you keep getting closer to the center. There are a few chapters that develop a parallel between seeking attention and the spiral curse. So it very much implied that the Idiot Ball exists as a result of the curse.
Shouldn't they have taken the pair of scissors out of Shuichi's mother's room? I mean, she is a mental patient and have been prone to self harming. It must be safer without such tools around.
Actually, what is a sharp pair of scissors doing in a mental ward in the first place? It seems like a really bad idea to have anything that you wouldn't let a kindergartner or preschooler handle where a mental patient can get at it, if nothing else because you can't trust that those patients who are personally safe handling them know not to give them to patients who, well, aren't...
As a former mental patient, that bothered me, too. We weren't even allowed to have shoelaces or outside shampoo, nevermind SCISSORS...
The whole Snail People phenomenon revamp towards the end still doesn't sit well here. First, because the more disturbing implication that it was a karmic punishment was dropped... why? It's not like there wasn't plenty of karmic punishment to be dished out, what with people cooking snail people alive and all! Secondly, the explanation(granted, it was given by Shuichi) that it gets the slower people... but didn't people get slower because they were turning into snails? It also doesn't make much sense that Mitsuo go it, since earlier we see Kirie prompting him to slow down so he won't create whirlwinds. And, more important... what did those eggs hatch into?
There is no karmic reasoning behind it. There's no reasoning behind any of it. Reality is warping in the town and chaos is everywhere.
Which is why the tornadoes showed up. People can't go too fast or too slow, and because of the crazies stirring up storms the only shelter were the row houses that everyone began to cram into. Eventually there was no escape.
At the beginning the spiral's influence was tailored to each individual, thus the karmic effects. After the hurricanes passed the spiral changed the way it operated. There came rules which applied equally to everyone. Thus, the snail transformations came back with a new mode of operation.
What happened to the mosquito women at the hospital. Did they join the rest of the townspeople? Were they destroyed by the tornados? Did they all have their babies reinserted into them?
We never find out, because Kirie never goes back. If there were more doctors, assuming they weren't eaten, the other women probably had their babies put back in them. From there, they probably stayed inside as much as they could. Given how little control Keiko seemed to have when her baby was put back in her, this troper wouldn't be surprised if, between them all, the women killed everyone in the hospital and ended up attacking and killing off each other for food. Chances are they weren't still around after the hurricane season (or at least found shelter elsewhere), since the hurricanes destroyed pretty much every building but the row houses and no one says anything about having to be careful of blood-sucking pregnant women.
A meta-question: what does Uzumaki have to do with "The Shadow Over Innsmouth"? I keep hearing the two compared but they seem to have nothing in common other than one is by Lovecraft and the other has Lovecraftian influences.