Saturday, 14 December 2013

The Ring: A Novel Turned Movie Turned Manga – And I Must Say, Third Time’s a Charm!

A Review By: Amelia
I love ghost stories! I’ve said it in reviews in the past and I’m saying it again in this review–a well thought out ghost story is the best thing to read, and no one country does a good ghost story quite like Japan does. The Ring is one such ghost story. Like Ju-On (also one of my favourite ghost stories!) it features people with regular lives that are suddenly thrust into a horrifying world of vengeful, powerful ghosts.

The story of The Ring (for those that don’t know) is about a cursed video. When a journalist looks into the existence of the supposedly cursed videotape, she unleashes a ghost upon herself that’s bent on revenge. With the video giving little to nothing in way of clues, all seems lost. When her little boy accidentally watches it though, she has just one week to solve the mystery of the cursed video if she wishes to save herself and her child. Although there are some major changes from the book to the manga to the movies (not even including the American remake) this is the plot that drives the terrifying story forward.

Koji Suzuki penned the novel The Ring to which all other Ring stories are based off of, but if you’ve seen the Japanese movie and read the book, they are very, very different. This is down to Hiroshi Takahashi, who adapted the novel to a manga and a screenplay form. Along with the manga artist Misao Inagaki, Takahashi has taken a story that was good and made it great with a deeper look into the mythos of The Ring.
The art style of The Ring is fairly simple compared to what I’ve seen in other mangas. The faces are detailed just enough to show emotion and the locations detailed just enough to show you where the characters are: a forest, a living room, an auditorium–everything is very minimal and features a lot of closes up and a lot of shadows. It’s actually a very striking art style and works well with the horror atmosphere that the plot creates.

The Ring makes a great manga; it makes a better manga than it does a novel or movie! The minimalistic art is striking and doesn’t take away from the story. In fact, it adds to it! By not drawing attention away from the story with showy, over detailed art, the horrifying plot really shines.

My final thoughts on The Ring, as a manga, are that it’s really good. Better than good–it is great! It’s a horror story like no other. It’s an old-fashioned ghost story that is truly unsettling and after so many years of unsatisfying, unintelligent, unscary horror bombarding us from every possible media, The Ring has a manga is a breath of horrifyingly fresh air!

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