Saturday, September 10, 2011


Title: Portus
Writer: Jun Abe
Art Work: Jun Abe
Publisher: VIZ Media LLC
Portus is a horror graphic novel that involves a mysterious video game that kills people.  The reason I first picked it up was because of the front cover, it had all the elements of a scary movie with a floating eye, torn paper, and blood.  I was very interested in reading it because I had never read horror manga, and was curious to see how it would be.  I’ll be the first to admit it I love graphic violent scenes that the Japanese love to create.  Another thing I like to do when picking up a manga novel is to look at the back (or in this case the front), and checking to see if the story ends in this book.  Luckily this story did end in this book.
The story revolves around Asami Kawakami (an art student), Keigo Sawa (her teacher), and Mayumi Yamashita (another teacher).  In the beginning Asamai is worried about her friend Chiharu, who’s been ditching school for a few days because she’s been playing a video game called Portus.  Later on, Chiharu commits suicide and Asamai starts to question the motives for her suicide.  She then decides to play the game Portus to see what could have caused her friend’s death.  Along the way Keigo and Mayumi also try to figure out why this game is so deadly.  What they discover is a danger that must be stopped in order to save the life of Asamai.
This graphic novel is rated mature, and is justified in doing so because it contains many violent scenes in it.  The characters are very much a cookie-cutter pattern of what is popular in manga; high school students, and trendy teachers (Keigo smokes in class).  Regardless of this, it’s used because it’s a working formula that can get into a storyline without having to explain each and every character’s individuality.  As for the story, I found it to be exciting at first and then it just moved over to a more horror story that became less realistic for me.  I guess I should have expected this from a horror genre because it asks you to suspend your disbelief, and I suck at that.  Either way anyone that loves horror and especially appreciates it’s unrealistic ideas will like this novel.

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