The Enigma of Amigara Fault is the first horror manga I ever read, recommended by a friend at work. Like with almost all of his stories, Junji Ito left me slightly haunted and disturbed when I finished this one.
What is The Enigma of Amigara Fault about?
It tells the story of two young people who meet as they climb up the Amigara mountain to see a recently opened fault line. On arrival they discover many other people who have had the same idea. They have all come to see the curious human-shaped holes in the recently-revealed rock face.
As the story moves forward, people start to find the holes that they believe have been specifically created for them. With each moment that passes, the inexplicable force that pulls them to their holes becomes too overwhelming. Those people are never seen again after entering their hole. At least not until a later discovery finds them as changed people at the end of their horrific destiny.
The horror is in the psychology of people
I believe that this story explores something that classical Freudian psychoanalytic theory refers to as the Death Drive. Simply put, this is a person’s unconscious desire towards self-destruction and death. Junji Ito, in his unique way, explores this through his characters being drawn towards their holes by their own curiosity. Their conscious minds will know that certain death will await them if they enter, but they do it any way.
Like with all of his work that I’ve seen, the art style is great and the stories have a dark Lovecraftian flavour to them. This story only takes about five to ten minutes to read, but is sure to leave a lasting mark on you.
Where you can read it
The Enigma of Amigara Fault was released as one of two extra stories in the Gyo collection, which I definitely recommend you buying. Not only will you be supporting the artist, but you will also get to read even more of his dark works.