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Headscratchers / Uzumaki

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  • 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?
    • ...did you just make Uzumaki scarier, you bastard?
      • 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.
      • Well, there is always the somewhat comforting possibility that she's not talking to some horrifying inhuman thing, and that the Spiral City is letting her reach out to communicate after years of being basically alone, with only her thoughts, fears, and regrets to keep her company. The city does seem to want attention, after all. There are a lot of parallels between attention seeking and being obsessed with the spiral, and giving it attention is how people invite the spiral into their minds in the first place. People hearing or reading her story would of course develop a minor fascination with spirals and start noticing them more often, which is the first step doing the long, spiraling road to-oh god, this isn't nearly as comforting as I intended.
  • 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.
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    • 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.
  • Adding to the above, I can understand the occasional isolated incident, but when your classmates start turning into slugs, surely you realize there's something seriously not okay with the fabric of reality? It seems like, after the initial shock, everyone went back to taking their situation as normal.
  • 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...
      • I'm pretty sure she hadn't been moved to the mental ward yet, and was still in a general hospital. At the same time, though, they should have probably removed sharp objects from her room after she started cutting off her own fingertips.
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    • As a former mental patient, that bothered me, too. We weren't even allowed to have shoelaces or outside shampoo, nevermind SCISSORS...
      • The scene implies that Mrs. Saito had to do a lot of rummaging around in drawers to find the scissors. They could have been overlooked by careless staff due to either (a) a growing influx of patients, (b) general incompetence, or (c) the Idiot Ball influence mentioned previously.
  • 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.
    • They're both Cosmic Horror stories taking place in a Town with a Dark Secret by the sea. That's all I've got.
    • There are certain commonalities. A small seaside town from which the protagonist cannot escape. As the story progresses, said protagonist witnesses bizarre transformations in the people of the town as it gradually falls to ruins. Said protagonist is gradually, inextricably drawn into the increasing horror and madness around them, eventually accepting their fate and finding what solace they can. I'm not saying that Ito drew inspiration from the Lovecraft story, but there are parallels once you start looking.
  • If all the towns built on the spiral structure keep getting destroyed, why do people keep building more towns there? Shouldn't somebody have noticed? This would make sense if something like this only happened once, but if it's happened multiple times, we do people keep building towns on land that keeps showing itself to be a Death World?
    • I think Shuichi saying hundreds and thousands of years is REALLY misleading— clearly we're working on a bigger scale here. I think what happens is that it's a mystery for a while, but everything is forgotten eventually. If Stonehenge or the Pyramids disappeared overnight, it would be a huge deal. . . But gradually, as time went on, people would forget there was ever anything there, and documents about them would -eventually- be gone as well. Then, someone just has to realize that there's a nice-sized piece of land that nobody's using for some reason, and we're back to square one.
    • Another possibility is that it's another effect of the spiral curse — it's been shown to keep people from reacting sensibly or hide information that should be obvious before. Concealing that a town was there before or making people not care is well in line with that sort of thing.
  • Shuichi was the only character who never got contaminated by the Spiral, and the only character who seemed to be able to interact with the Spiral in any way. This is never explained. It he immune? Psychic? Both?
    • I always assumed that the fact that he knew from the very start of the whole spiral thing that something was really wrong in the town, added to the fact that he left the place from time to time gave him some kind of tolerance and immunity that comes with having an outside perspective. As to why it would interact with him only, I wouldn't be surprised if the Spiral was messing with him For the Evulz exactly because he knew of its evil nature from the beginning, but no one listened to him about it.
  • Wait, so why did the typhoons call Kirie's name? There's no particular reason why whatever is affecting the town would be interested in her more than anyone else (except possibly the fact that she's one of the last two people to be consumed by it). Also, how did no one else notice this rather bizarre weather phenomenon? In Junji Ito's Remina, just having the planet named for her is enough to turn millions of people against the protagonist. How did no one reach the conclusion that they could sacrifice Kirie and everything would go back to normal?
    • Having a planet with millions of people on it named after you is much different than having a typhoon in a small-town calling your name. It's obvious that not everyone in Kurozu-Cho knows who Kirie is, much less knows her name, so there wouldn't be enough of a mob mentality to build up that idea. Alternately, it's possible that only Kirie's immediate family (including Shuichi) heard the typhoon calling her name, as no one else mentions it to her after.
    • My working theory is that Kirie had already been saved from the spiral once before when her hair was contaminated by the spiral then cut off, making it see her as something of a threat, thus targeting her more directly. That, and Shuichi did mention that the typhoon seemed 'attracted' to her, something that might have been a remnant of the attractive powers from the same hair incident.
  • Shuichi's knowledge of what's happening to the town is handwaved at first with "he goes to school outside of town, so he notices things more." But in chapter 6, he actively predicts an event that had literally no warning signs (Kirie's hair being contaminated by the Spiral), and even after that, he always seems to know more about what's happening than even the other characters who come from outside of town (like Tanizaki, and Chie). Coupled with the fact that somebody mentioned a few bullet points ago, the fact that Shuichi is the only character who never becomes contaminated by the Spiral, this whole thing seems to suggest that Shuichi either a) is psychic or b) has some sort of connection to the Spiral. Or both. It gets even weirder when he starts "hypothesizing" about Kurozu-cho's history with the Spiral. We never actually get any sort of real explanation after the "going to school outside of town" excuse stops working.
    • If I remember right, Shuichi is probably an odd sort of genre savvy, as well, he's already seen the weird stuff that what happened with his dad dying (his dad was obsessed with them) before the rest of the weird shit starting happening, so he probably knows from that experience alone and knew it was gonna get worse.


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