Since October in 2018, I have been reading a manga called A Trail of Blood by Shuzo Oshimi, ever since Super Eyepatch Wolf gave it the number one spot on his or instead Mega Diepatch Wolf’s top 10 Halloween recommendations. And it has been a sobering, addictive, chilling, thriller and with twists and turns that honestly make your stomach drop.
In the past, my only exposure to Oshimi’s work was the first two volumes of Happiness, which I enjoyed quite a bit and will have to get back into again sometime. I was also aware of The Flowers of Evil but only from a few cringy clips of the anime adaptation.
Most recently, Super EyePatch Wolf released a video on some of Oshimi’s work, mostly focusing on A Trail of Blood, and at some point, he mentions the manga Inside Mari, which I had not heard of before. I found his short description of the series intriguing. The video also convinced me that Oshimi had done a lot of work that should be consumed in full. And since I am always catching up to A Trail of Blood’s chapters, I decided that I should start binge-reading all of his work. So I started with Inside Mari.
Last night I completed the series, and it was incredible. It is about a young man who can be described as a hikikomori, and interestingly his name is Isao Komori (not sure if this was intentional). A depressed, pathetic, jobless, college-dropout, video-gaming slob, Isao habitually stalks a teenage girl, and then one day, his mind is now in that girl’s body. It was both fascinating and satisfying seeing how a male perspective could react to being objectified as a woman and how an extremely isolated person could so profoundly respond to human contact.
The series covers things like identity, and how everyone always projects what they want onto this girl supposedly named Mari Yoshizaki. And eventually, the female body-trapped man teams up with the righteously posturing but equally feeble highschool girl Yori Kakiguchi. Together they try to uncover what happened to the ‘real Mari,’ but what they end up finding is that for her entire life, she has been projected onto by others preventing her from truly being understood by her family and peers and that in reality, nobody knows the real her.
To make matters more baffling, one would think that perhaps Mari’s consciousness was transferred to…