"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.
Baleful Polymorph: Some people are turned into snails, while 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, but are very small, and cause no problems, and then disappear completely.
Also played straight with Kirie's burns, which are severe enough to have her hospitalized, 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.
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: Pretty much every character will at some point utter the words "That sound! It just pierces through my ears!"
Chekhov's Gun: In the "Mosquitoes" chapter, Keiko's cloth-wrapped item. It was a hand drill. In the same chapter, Shuichi's bug spray.
Cosmic Horror Story: The town is built on top of an impossible spiral structure, which proceeds to cause increasingly horrible things to happen before absorbing the entire town. It has done so countless times before and will do so countless times again.
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.
Eldritch Abomination: The giant spiral ruins underneath Dragonfly Pond that are turning the town and everyone in it into spirals.
Fate Worse Than Death: The eventual fate of the town, considering Kirie is narrating the story in the past tense.
From Bad to Worse: The first two chapters feature the female lead's boyfriend's parent's 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 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.
Laser-Guided Karma: After a bully, Tsubara, pokes fun at the first snail-person, 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-people.
Lighthouse Point: A lighthouse with a spiral staircase causes problems at one point.
Ludd Was Right: By the last chapters, any semblance of modern society in the village has all but vanished.
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 reasonable human left alive in the village.
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.
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.