Manga Review: Sadako at the End of the World

Sadako at the End of the World is a new, one volume manga series from Yen Press. You might recognize the name of the titular character—yes, it’s Sadako, the creepy girl from from The Ring, and this work introduces the horror icon into a world nearing the end of times. What could go wrong?

Review

Ai and Hii are two little children who have survived the apocalypse. One day, they find a video tape and play it. They had never been able to get them to work before; however, this special tape works. That’s when a young girl, Sadako, walks out of the screen.

Seeing as the girl is Sadako from The Ring series, this isn’t an especially happy event. The moment they play the tape, per the curse of the video, they will die in seven days. However, the children have no idea and, frankly, haven’t seen real people in years. They are just excited to have a new friend!

So, Ai and Hii decide they are going to help Sadako find more people. I mean, why not introduce their new friend to the few other people that are still alive after the apocolypse? The trio go on a journey over the next week to find all the remaining apocalyptic survivors they can to let them meet their new friend Sadako.

As the story progresses, Sadako starts to realize that the curse may end when the last person on Earth dies from it. For that reason, she lets the girls take her around to the last few people standing. The individual people she meets are also individuals in need of something. Love, meaning, friendshipeveryone is in need of something. The girls are there, in many ways, to provide this to them in these last days. However, Sadako is there still to be Sadako and still is continuing her curse.

The two innocent girls are just adorable, and Sadako retains her creep factor— even when she meets a stylist who really shines some life into her hair!

The author/artist, Koma Natsumi, spent time speaking with and reviewing the character with the creator of The Ring series, Koji Suzuki. It shows, as Natsumi truly captures the image and feel of the character throughout. From her tattered dress to her bare feet, Natsumi presents a detailed rendition of Sadako.

An additional interesting choice is how Natsumi delves into of Sadako’s mind. Sadako shows herself as someone who, while ready to be a creep, really just wants it all to end. She  is almost hoping that these two girls are the last two on Earth so that she’ll finally be able to rest.

An interesting decision by Natsumi was to give Sadako a tablet, which allows her to communicate while keeping her mute as she is in the original novel / films. There are subtle choices by translator, Caleb Cook, throughout, as well. One of my favorites is when Sadako tries to explain her name in Japanese, the kids (like me) can’t read it, so she writes it out in English. It retains the novelty of the original.

Overall, I enjoyed this take on the character. It gives us a more human Sadako…or does it? The entire story asks a simple question—can friendship help Sadako and prevent the ending from being tragic? You’ll have to read it yourself to find out.


Overall Rating: A

Art: A — I loved Natsumi’s art. It does a great job of transitioning from the stupidly cute to the morbidly creepy—sometimes shifting on the same page. The shifts were all well done and really helped keep the novelty of this one volume story going.

Characters: A — Ai and Hii are simple and innocent. There’s not much else to them apart from that. They are…well, little kids. Where this story shined was when it humanized Sadako and introduced us to new characters who were looking for something in the apocalypse.

Story: A — Overall, it told a cohesive story and really finished well. I loved the ending and felt it was truly fitting to the overall story.


Staff:

Art/Story: Koma Natsumi

Supervision: Koji Suzuki 

Translator: Caleb Cook

Lettering: Lys Blakeslee


Sadako at the End of the World is available for purchase at Yen Press.

mdmrn

5 thoughts on “Manga Review: Sadako at the End of the World

  1. Could this be the cure for those with w fear of Japanese ghosts? 😮

    Reminds me of a webcomic I recently started reading called “Erma”. It features the titular character Erma, a half-human / ghost girl and her adventures through daily life. It’s adorable and heartwarming.

    1. Maybe. While it has a lot of cute moments, overall Sadako is still Sadako. Not to spoil anything for those who choose to read this, but Sadako is still cursing as she goes along. Just…how she handles the two girls who freed her is a bit different.

  2. I’ve been a long fan of Sadako as a character for a real long time. And that is mostly watching some bad horror movies and trying to rationalize that what I saw was good because I really like the villain.

    But reading this was like, truly good. One of the bests portrayals of the character I ever seen. It was different, more human, but also very consistent with who she is in the movies. But in a melancholic tone.

    A hidden gem this manga is.

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