Fuan no Tane: When creepy eyeballs ATTACK!
Admittedly the title there is a little bit misleading. Not all of the eyeballs beneath the cut actually "attack," though some of them do. I suppose you could say that this particular post is dedicated to creepy-eyed creatures that actually do things besides stare at you creepily... but that doesn't exactly have the same ring, now does it?
Also, as a completely non-eye-related bonus: the story of the Ear-Slashing Monk!
For our first story, a timeless classic: the Eyes that Seek.
What's this? Is the road somehow developing pimples or chicken pox? No! We are witnessing the arrival of a sinister army of ghostly eyeballs, invading this peaceful city by cover of night!
Look at them there... whispering, scheming and plotting! What makes it truly terrifying, of course, is knowing that the good people of Japan are completely defenseless against this paranormal threat. After all, what power on earth could possibly stop this balefully staring horde of--
Oh yeah. Cars! That would do it, I guess.
Of course, the invincible eyeball army will not accept defeat so easily. Behold!
Man, I sure do feel sorry for the driver of that car! When those evil little buggers catch up with him, they're gonna...
Alright, so there's nothing a bunch of easily-squished slithering eyeballs could do to us that wouldn't hurt them more. That doesn't change the fact that creepy eyes are scary. SCARY, I say! Especially when the eyeballs actually have a body of some sort attached. Because then they can do horrible, horrible things to us!
...Or they could, I guess, if we would please be so kind as to let them into our bedrooms.
"Whaddaya mean, you're not going to open it!? Whatever, kid, I can stay here yelling at you all night. Hey, what are you doing with that broom? Ow! OW! Stop poking me, dammit!"
Of course I'm being a little unfair, here, since not all creepy-eyeball critters actually want to hurt us. Some of them... well, let's just say their motives are a little bit harder to pin down. Here's another perennial Fuan no Tane favorite: "Takahashi's Explanation." This one has all the elements of a really great horror story, combined with some of the oddball crack that one expects from Fuan no Tane.
And so after three pages of build up, we begin to get to the source of Takahashi's fright: Funny eyes! Man, is there anyone those things don't terrify?
Hum. Well, so far I don't see any "funny eyes." What a rip. What a complete and total--
OH GOD OH GOD GET IT AWAY!
You've got to admit, that's insanely creepy. More on the creature's behavior later.
Last panel: I have it on good authority that the Japanese sound effects here can be translated as "Hump, hump, hump."
Okay no not really.
Urgh, an upsettingly graphic strangling scene. I told you Masaaki Nakamura can do scary when he wants to.
God, creepier and creepier. Again, more on that later.
But what's this about the fifth floor?
And hello again, bizarre anticlimax. Don't know about you, but I can almost hear (cartoon-like) a comic riff from a horn: "Hwaa, hwaa, hwaa, hwaaaaaaaaaa!"
Now in some ways, this is a deeply disturbing and very creepy story. Sure, the weird lady looks kind of like Gollum in that last panel there, but in most of her appearances she looks and acts extremely freaky. The staring... the demented grimacing... the scuttling and leaping around like an animal... the crazed muttering to herself. She's like some crazy vagrant you might find muttering to herself out there on the street, only with eerie paranormal powers. With most Fuan no Tane creatures, you at least have some sort of interior logic to their actions, but with Funny Eyes there's really no telling what she might do. To me that makes her extra scary.
But then we run into a weird little plot hole. Remember that Takahashi is telling his story out of order. The first time Takahashi met this girl she nearly strangled him to death. And yet, when he's walking home late at night, and he runs into a muttering female figure who bears a strong resemblance to his almost-murderer, what does he do? He approaches and asks if anything is the matter. Okay, so maybe he didn't recognize her in the dark. But when he sees, point blank, that it's Funny Eyes, he still acts more bewildered than frightened, despite her nearly killing him before. I guess maybe he figures that she wouldn't actually hurt him, since she spared his life the first time around? Or is he simply mystified that, after nearly killing him the first time around, she's begging him not to kill her?
Yeah, I can't help but feel that's a bit of a plot hole, there. Or perhaps there was a mistake in the translation in the narration box that indicated the "don't kill me" scene happened "yeaterday." I think the story would make more sense if the first encounter Takahashi describes actually did happen first, and the near-murder was the more recent encounter. Still and all, though, it's a very creepy and mysterious little story, like all the best in Fuan no Tane. It makes me wonder whether there really is some Takahashi look alike out there trying to kill Funny Eyes, or if she's just that crazy.
Another mystery: what the hell is Funny Eyes doing outside the window? Is she just too polite to come in and bother him at his workplace? I just can't help but find that page more amusing than frightening, especially since Takahashi just seems so resigned about her being out there.
"There certainly isn't anything that I or anyone can do to get rid of her. Well, guess I'll just stay at work forever, then! And I'll leave the window uncovered so that the sight of Funny Eyes' creepy staring face will serve as a constant reminder of exactly why I don't want to go home."
And finally, on a somewhat more horrific note, it's the terrifying tale of the Ear-Slashing Monk!
(Seriously, this story is hardcore. Don't read before bedtime.)
Admittedly, these kids are made of tougher stuff than me. If I saw this guy following me I wouldn't be quizzing my sister about who or what he was. I'd be running like hell.
Yep, now they've got the right idea. Only...
Oh god of god OH GOD
Now THAT is a story than never fails to make me shudder. Usually has me flinching uncontrollably in my seat, too.
Also, isn't it a little weird how the Ear-Slashing Monk just disappears like that? I mean, despite having a bloody sack which he presumably uses for storing severed ears, he doesn't even bother to stick around and pick the ear up. Maybe he figures he'll come back for it later?
He's screwed if the little girls have the presence of mind to pack the ear in snow and take it to the doctor in hope of having it sewed back on.
Next time... the LAST and FINAL Fuan no Tane post EVAR! In all seriousness, I have now posted all but one of my own favorite stories, and all that's really left is a couple of odds and ends and the request for the one story with the stretchy kid. Also, I'm about to bump up against the new page limits, since I have already posted very nearly a third of volume one and at least one quarter each of two and three.
So what I'm saying is, if there are any last minute surprise requests, make them now or be disappointed forever!