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Frankenstein by Itou Junji

Mangaka Itou Junji's horror masterpieces dwell deep beyond flesh and bone (pun absolutely intended). The stories mostly require a considerably strong immune system to process and digest (either that or you might just upset your own appetite). Also, the aftertaste pretty much seeps right into the mind, which could jolly well be the catalyst for countless recollections. While I can't say that there is a definite kick in much of that stuff, there is to some extent a positive trigger behind them. However, Itou-sensei's work would still command a certain degree of thought in order to grasp the gist of those deeper ends. He does have the occasional 'mild' piece or two included in his anthologies though. Anyway, this article will continue to pay tribute to Itou-sensei's work. Speaking of tributes, apparently Itou-sensei also does that to others in his own ways. I was pleasantly surprised to discover his interpretation of a well-known literary classic - Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

I've got to confess that up till the time of preparing for this piece, I thought that Frankenstein was the name of that famed horrible monster. I reckon that a lot of people would have had thought the same too. It can't be helped though, because in many popular publications and such Frankenstein would be printed in striking colours across the materials with the creature usually staring menacingly from the backdrop. Today I shall stand corrected - Frankenstein isn't and will never be the name of that monster. Poor monster has to 'live' through a hundred over years without a proper name.

As expected from Itou-sensei, the cover for his adaptation of Frankenstein quickly brings out the grotesque, unsettling characteristics that are identifiable in much of his other illustrations. Well, the good (?) thing about his cover is that the actual Frankenstein shares the space with his horrifying creation which is heavily bandaged from the head down except for part of its face where a pair of piercing eyes (sorry I've got no idea what colour they are) stare at the readers. Hmm, even the abandoned building behind the graveyard feels eerie!

Itou-sensei's interpretation begins with a quick scene at the room where Victor Frankenstein, the protagonist, stays attentively by his creation awaiting the greatest miracle to happen on a stormy night. After a brief glimpse at the creature opening its eyes, the frame cuts to a sailing ship with the secondary character Captain Robert Walton embarking on a journey up north with his crew. The poor weather makes their travelling difficult and eventually brings the ship to a still. Then, in the midst of the fog one of the crew members discovers a gigantic presence whizzing past the thick chunks of ice on a sled. Walton is in awe of the sight.

The next day sees Walton's crew demanding a battered man to get on board the ship as the weather is turning worse. The ship has been affected by the surrounding ice as well. The man requests to join them after finding out their destination. Due to the man's ill state of health, he falls into a deep sleep over the next couple of days. Over time, Walton bonds with the man who eventually introduces himself as Victor Frankenstein. Walton slowly understands the reasons behind Frankenstein's pursuit in such brutal conditions.  

Frankenstein may be a horror story, but the course of development is largely humanistic especially towards Frankenstein's blind ambition to challenge scientific norms and such. The tragic plight of the monster is also reflective of what a lot of people have at different stages of their lives been through. Itou-sensei has brilliantly brought out the intricate parts and fused them together with much conviction. Frankenstein leads us to an inevitable tragedy which is widely understood, unlike some of Itou-sensei's stories where the endings could be rather abstract. I've very much enjoyed Itou-sensei's adaptation.

Do you like Frankenstein? I kind of like Geneva. Then again, I must have been thinking of chocolates.

Eccentrically Yours.

Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪

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