Review: Remina by Junji Ito

cover of Remina by Junji Ito

Remina by Junji Ito
VIZ Media (December 15, 2020)
256 pages; $19.99 hardcover, $15.99 ebook
Reviewed by Danica Davidson

At first it looks as if everything is working out for 16-year-old Remina. Her father, a scientist, won the Nobel Prize for discovering a wormhole. When an unknown planet from a different dimension comes through the wormhole, it makes her father even more famous and celebrated, and he names the planet Remina after his daughter. Buoyed by this fame, Remina the girl uses it to get into the entertainment industry and became a celebrity in her own right.

But then the planet Remina keeps heading toward earth, moving faster than should be possible. Moving faster than the speed of light, even. As it goes, it destroys the planets on its path. It appears to have eyes that look out, and giant tongues that can attack planets. It doesn’t take people long to figure that the planet Remina will destroy earth as well.

At first Remina looks to be a science fiction read with all of its talk about planets, and there’s definitely a science fiction aspect to it. But Remina’s creator, Junji Ito, is one of Japan’s masters of horror manga, and he still brings plenty of horror to the game. This really starts happening when people come up with an idea that Remina and her father are somehow in charge of the planet Remina. In the mass hysteria, some people become convinced that the only way to save earth is to murder Remina and her father, because of their alleged connection to the planet’s demonic abilities.

Men in masks become the leaders of this crazed moment, which is determined to not only kill Remina and her father, but to do it brutally. This leads to images of torture and crucifixion, as the mob sets up crosses to tie Remina and her father to. The horror is in the devices used against two innocent people, but the horror is also the madness that turns the mobs against innocent people in the first place. And during the midst of all the evil humans are able to accomplish, there is still the threat of the destroying planet . . .

Remina was originally published in Japan in 2005, and the translation is just making its way over to America now. This happens as Junji Ito makes more of push into American readership. His two best-known manga are Tomie and Uzumaki, and Uzumaki is being turned into an animated miniseries by Adult Swim to air next year. (It was supposed to air this year, but got postponed because of COVID.)

Remina is one of Ito’s lesser known titles, but it’s still a great read for fans of his work, and anyone new to him can check out the interesting way he blends horror and science fiction. Ito’s art is masterfully done, whether he’s drawing something beautiful or something ugly (and he draws quite a bit of both). He knows how to create atmosphere and leave readers squirming. While some manga spawn off into series, Remina is a stand-alone volume.

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