Seeds of Anxiety
A collection of ultra short horror stories by Masaaki Nakayama, Fuan no Tane was... disappointing, to say the least. Seventy two chapters, and there were eleven stories that I thought were either maybe genuinely a bit creepy or amusing in a horror way.
But the majority of Fuan no Tane is just... usually dialogue and then the last page shows you the spooky face or the spooky monster. There's rarely ever any purpose or meaning for it either. It's not like somebody died and like that's their ghost tormenting the people in the chapters... no, it's usually just an outright random spooky face.
As several chapters really are just two pages long, there's just not enough time to even try to put a story or anything resembling atmosphere. I think I really do have no better way to describe this as a manga version of Yami Shibai. It's just like a clipshow of a bunch of creepy faces. Maybe some of them will get you to say "oh that looks creepy" but beyond that there's really... nothing deeper to latch onto.
As a matter of fact, if it weren't for like those eleven stories, I'd maybe go as far to say this borderline bottom of the barrel. Like there's just one chapter that starts with like the giant shadow of a guy, but then the rest of the story is just talking about a warning sign.
I mean if this sign were meant to warn people of spooky ghost activity, then I would think something more than an exclamation point would be needed! Like... what a terrible fucking warning sign! Unless... unless maybe the WARNING SIGN ITSELF IS THE GHOST.
Joking aside, I get that the point of the manga is more about like trying to get the reader to feel anxious. Like the stories are split into different categories and the stories are usually very general. Along the lines of "have you ever seen weird out of the corner of your eye??? Maybe it's ghosts!" but it's just... a lot of it is just lame.
Really, in my opinion, what little fun stuff there is in this manga lie more in the weirder stuff. It's not just a stupid spooky horror face, it's genuinely something weird and it's not even ever necessarily found out by anyone. Or just outright ignored. Like I think my favorite story of Fuan no Tane is the one about an entire hospital's staff outright ignoring the spirit of a baby because it's an ugly baby with a crazy horror mouth, but all it's doing is asking is to be hugged and paid attention to.
Like that's actually genuinely kind of disturbing. And also sad. I guess yeah the argument can be made that it's actually evil and it's lying but what if it really is just the spirit of a deceased baby and this entire hospital's nursing staff has just outright agreed to completely ignore it? Given that the punch of the majority of this manga's stories is "woah that's a spooky face!", I'm probably just putting too much thought into it though...
I feel like I should also clarify that it's not so much that it's overly reliant on the "creepy/spooky faces" method of horror, but that the faces aren't even that good half of the time.
Like one of the only chapters like that which honestly kind of worked for me was like a guy goes to clean up the apartment his brother used to live in and he sees like attached to the ceiling like a bit of cut rope like a noose. He ends up going to sleep in the apartment after a bit of cleaning and what happens?
Whoops, I guess I shouldn't have slept directly underneath where someone hung themselves! Like the idea of waking up to the ghost of someone who hung himself directly over you is indeed creepy. This manga could have used way more of that than oh my god there is a fucking ghost looking into my window at me oh my GOOOOOOOOOOOOOD
No, sorry. It wasn't a ghost. I was just seeing shit out of the corner of my eye.
Oh yeah and it also really doesn't help that 90% of the time it also ends directly after you're shown the spooky face. Rarely ever get to see the character's reactions or them just saying "oh hello" to the horror faces. Again, it's the manga version of Yami Shibai...
To conclude, I'm going to do something I don't do for most of the other things I review and include the numbers of the chapters that I think are genuinely worth reading more than any of the utterly generic spooky ones.
If the collection was of just these stories rather than the full 72, I'd probably give it a way higher score but I guess you can't release like a three volume manga of just like eleven five page long stories.
14, 16, 24, b2, b7, b10, b14, b18, Ω8, Ω17, Ω20
...I'd give the entire collection probably a 4.5 out of 10 or 45 out of 100, though. It's competent, it's a quick read, but there's no real substance and I've already forgotten eighty percent of the stories so...
Nah. If you want creepy faces sure, but deep or lasting horror? Nah.