Sensor is an horror manga made by Junji It published between 2018 and 2019 in Nemuki+ a shjo magazine focusing on horror mystery and fantasy. Initially published under the title Muma no kik in the magazine the manga was finally titled as Sensor as a tankbon volume due to some changes of the plot. It tells the story of a cult in the mountains of Gunma prefecture centering on the strange girl called Kyko Byakuya. I generally dont like much Junji Its works but I actually enjoyed that one despite the presence of some of the authors usual pitfalls. Context Junji It is one of the famous horror mangaka and is arguably the most well known one outside of Japan. He started his career in 1987 with Tomie a manga published in Halloween a shjo magazine specialized in horror manga. He mostly contributed to Halloween and then its spinoff Nemuki+ after the former being discontinued. Fan of both Kazuo Umezz and Shinichi Koga he creates kyfu manga a type of horror pioneered by Umezz and portraying the ugliness of human psyche featuring things like psychological horror and urban legends rather than ghosts ykai and such. In addition to that and this is important for Sensor It is also fan of Howard Phillips Lovecraft and his cosmic horror novels. 400 His works are often centered on the figure of the Yamato Yadeshiko the personification of an idealized Japanese woman for quoting Wikipedia. They are often set in a rural environment and his visual style is famous for featuring twisted human bodies an element nearly lacking in Sensor. In that regard Sensor is a very canonical Junji Its manga: a kyfu/cosmic horror story set in the rural Gunma and with a beautiful young woman as the protagonist. Now like I said in the introduction the manga changed its name due to some digression of the plot from what the author explains in the postface of the book he initially planed to do a work similar to the famous Kazuo Umezz Orochi an episodic series where a mysterious girl with some supernatural powers travels all around Japan witnessing numerous occult phenomenons. But during the first chapter Kyko Byakuyas character became alive on her own and from that point onward the story deviated into an obscure cults plot. 400 The manga As noted above I dont really like the few Junji Its works that I tried so far: be it Tomie Uzumaki or Jigokusei Remina they are for my taste far too absurd stupid and incoherent for me to be taken seriously and thus they fail in their main purpose: to makes me feel at least somewhat uneasy. Sichi no noroi nikki being about shamanic urban legends was the only welcomed exception. 400 Ironically Sensor also mostly failed as an horror manga in my eyes but for once I got into the plot quite well and enjoyed it thoroughly: Wataru Tsuchiyado is a freelance journalist investigating Kyko Byakuya a young woman who survived a volcanic eruption which destroyed a remote village full of cultists of some weird Christian tradition from the Edo period. This was 60 years ago and Byakuya is still young and beautiful but is also tracked down by a an anthroposophic cult. This cult pretends to search the access to the Akashic records and its members are creeps who will terrorize the Tkys population. This is the good part of the manga its full of esoteric and urban legends with the elements interlocking neatly into each other little by little. I particularly enjoyed the character of Beniko Yamaoka one of those creepy cultists and the only source of some slight unease for me. Fortunately this is the main part of the manga and thank to it the manga as a whole is enjoyable. 400 But this manga also contains cosmic horror elements: be it the weird Christian cult the anthroposophic cult and the strange condition of Kyko Byakuya they all originate from some cosmic entities across the stars. The influence of Lovecraft is quite obvious here: Lovecraft is one of my reading pillars during my teenage I greatly enjoy his manga adaptations by G Tanabe but sadly with Sensor I cant buy it. If I try to understand why I think it would be because everything is so worldly and the cosmic entities are not menacing in any way nor they are really mysterious. Lastly as It is famous for his gore and twisted human bodies there is only one scene like that in the whole manga. As I have next to no interest for them it is fine by me but it might be a letdown to some people. Conclusion This short manga 240 pages is in my eyes a nice delving into the occult world with for once a story that more or less makes sense and is intriguing. But its cosmic horror part flatly fails. Thus even if the manga is in theory an horror story for me it is more a creepy mystery one and works well like that. For people who dont enjoy the absurdity of most Its works like me you might try this one maybe.
75 /100
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