Homunculus is a creepy and intriguing manga. The main character, Nakoshi Susumu, is living out of his car and hanging out with a group of homeless people. He tells the homeless people different things about himself, so no one knows when he’s lying or telling the truth. But it does appear that he was a lot better off in the past.
However, when his car is towed and he’s out of money, he has to do something. He remembers a man who showed up, asking to pay him for a medical experiment. Seeming to be out of easy options, Nakoshi ends up agreeing to the experiment.
His experimenter is the 22-year-old Ito Manabu, son of a doctor, and he drills a hole in Nakoshi’s skull. Some people who have this procedure done stay the same afterward. Some people pick up a sixth sense. At first Nakoshi doesn’t seem any different and is skeptical with this whole idea, but then when he covers his right eye (as you can see on the book’s cover) he starts to hallucinate. Some people still look normal, and others might have part of their head missing, or be made of sand, or look like talking trees. What is going on?
Ito has an idea that Nakoshi is seeing homunculi, and this is related to people’s subconscious. The explanation is a little long, but the idea is fascinating, especially with what Nakoshi sees when he looks at Ito.
Homunculus is being published as two-in-one volumes, and the first book offers up plenty of mystery, creepiness and intrigue. The artwork is really good, whether at being very realistic or very grotesque. Because of some of the imagery and themes, Homunculus receives a 17+ rating. While a few parts are slow and a few details are a little odd or cliche, for the most part the two volumes are very fast-paced, unique, and enthralling. This is a great book for fans of horror manga. There is also a live-action adaptation of the manga on Netflix.
Story & Art: Hideo Yamamoto
Publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
Translator: Cerridwyn Graffham
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.