Cover Image: Black Paradox

Black Paradox

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Junji Ito's stories have always been a mixed bag for me, but I liked Black Paradox. The characters are written fairly flatly, but Ito weaved enough of a compelling mystery to make me want to finish the story. It's definitely something I'd recommend to Ito fans, and it wasn't too complex nor too simple of a narrative to serve as a recommendation for a wider audience of horror and suspense fans.
Was this review helpful?
This manga was so weird! But like in a good way and it forces you to think about this idea of what it means to be human. It also forces the reader to confront the unknown and the limit for human greed,

Ito's art style is fascinating - simple pen strokes that cultivate the horror and agony of knowing the end - whether it's yours or someone you know- and how much anxiety can honestly affect a person.

I'm super late on actually reading this and I've already purchased it for my library's graphic novel collection but...

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the digital ARC!
Was this review helpful?
Love what Junji Ito does.  Honestly, the willingness to take risks and just push boundaries doesn’t always work, but the fact that he tries is all that matters. Ito is an inspiration to storytellers. He makes seemingly ridiculous connections totally work. Can’t wait to see what they bring the the US next. I am here for it.
Was this review helpful?
Four strangers meet through a website called Black Paradox, matching up those who want to commit suicide together. But as they drive to their chosen location, and they reveal the reasons why they've chosen this, three of the four talk about doppelgangers, and Maruso realizes she may have made a terrible mistake. 

As per usual with a Junji Ito story, this goes from zero to sixty in about two seconds flat. One character has a robot doppelganger, another's doppelganger is her own mirror image. After some of the doppelgangers are destroyed, the group again tries to off themselves, but only one of them goes through with it, to the point where he sees a brilliant light and then starts vomiting up glowing gems.  And from there things get even weirder! The story is more cohesive than most of Ito's multi-chapter stories, although the ending leaves something to be desired.  The bonus short story doesn't feel quite complete, either - but both stories are fun to read if you are able to suspend your disbelief.

Content advisory: Attempted suicide, images of a nude male robot.
Was this review helpful?
I absolutely loved this! What a fun, unique story with some really gross elements. I think this is one of my favorite Junji Ito pieces (though I feel like I've said that about the last few of his books I reviewed!). The characters are three-dimensional, the twists are exciting, and the whole plot is that perfect blend of bizarre and delightful that Junji Ito is so well-known for. I highly recommend this for any horror manga lovers!
Was this review helpful?
BLACK PARADOX focuses on a group of 4 people who have decided that they are done with life. Even though they decide to end their lives, fate has a different idea of what will happen to them. In usual Ito fashion, the story takes twists and turns that you won't expect, and ends in a way that will stick with you for a long time.
Not one of my favorites but still worth reading if you’re an Ito fan! He still draws me into his weird and bazaar worlds!!
Was this review helpful?
Not my cup of tea. The first chapter was intriguing and interesting, and then the story went haywire. It was surreal, meandering, and repetitive. I kept putting it down and having to struggle to return to it. The only reason I finished it was because I got a free ARC from NetGalley and felt obligated to complete it and write a review.
Was this review helpful?
From the master of horror manga, Junji Ito, comes another gem of the genre.  The story is disturbing, as expected, and the art is beautiful, as always.  Four strangers meet online and agree to die together through suicide.  Their plan to die, however, is put on hold as they accidentally create a gateway to the other side.  The events that follow will change not only their lives, but the lives of all humanity.
Was this review helpful?
I've read quite a lot of Junji Ito's work over the past few years and this one is definitely one of the weirder ones! Full of the trademark Ito art style and with some truly despicable characters as always, the story itself is quite strong, which I appreciated. With each chapter, the plot gets bigger in scale and more and more strange so we move from a subtle beginning dealing with doppelgangers and suicide and end up in a place so far removed from that, while still dealing with the base issues of human nature and greed. Overall I really enjoyed this one and I'm glad it has been translated into English finally,
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Junji Ito does it again with another great addition to his body of work. Black Paradox is chilling, complex and original.
Was this review helpful?
Maruso, Taburo, Pii-tan, and Baracchi come together after meeting on a suicide website called Black Paradox. While each person searches for death, what they find is wholly unsettling. Ito never shies away from disturbing scenarios and Black Paradox definitely fits neatly into his overall collection of work.
Was this review helpful?
This was so weird but in the best way. We follow four people who met on a suicide website called Black Paradox and they've all met up to commit suicide together. While they are trying to do this they realize that there are others of them - a mirror person, a robot, and a doppelganger. As they come to terms with these others, they open up a door that leads them down a dark path. Overall, this was fantastic and I loved every minute of it. The artwork was perfectly creepy and detailed as anything by Junji Ito always is. Can't wait to read whatever he comes out with next.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you NetGalley and Viz Media for allowing me the opportunity to give an honest review of Junji Ito's "Black Paradox."

Four strangers form a suicide pact, meeting through the website Black Paradox. Their attempt gets interrupted, though, upon the accidental discovery of Paradonite, an unstable natural resource capable of both furthering… and destroying… humanity.

Like Junji Ito's other works, "Black Paradox" contains the characteristic gorey illustrations combined with a bizarre plot line and tormented characters readers come to expect. This is an unsettling sci-fi thriller complete with a suicidal robot, alternate dimensions and a mad doctor. 

Themes of suicide, greed, self-preservation, and, consequently, self-destruction frequent this twisted narrative. Despite the greed that motivates the characters, I found myself empathizing with them as a reader and even rooting for them to continue living, given their reasons for coming together in the first chapter and the series of unfortunate sufferings that continue to ensue, moving the plot line forward.

"Black Paradox" prompts reflection on suicide, body image, and the human condition. Loyal readers of Junji Ito as well as those just being introduced to the author will appreciate the body horror as well as the science fiction elements within this tumultuous tale.
Was this review helpful?
3.5, rounded up. It's fun to read another Junji Ito work that's one coherent thread instead of multiple short stories. Even though it lacks some of the punch of his other books, I felt like I was able to go on a more gentle, in-depth ride into this strange world where people vomit the souls of other beings trapped in harder-than-diamond, extremely valuable stones. Ito explores the ethics of such an endeavor in a sardonic, nasty way.
Was this review helpful?
This stand-alone from horror manga great Junji Ito centers on four strangers who plan a group suicide only to discover a cosmic phenomenon. I was glad to be able to fit this into my spooky season Ito binge read but this will definitely appeal most to those who gravitate more towards Ito's cosmic horror work.
Was this review helpful?
Black Paradox is a six-chapter horror manga that tells a tale of the lengths people will go to because of greed.

Black Paradox
Written by: Junji Ito
Publisher: Shogakukan
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: October 25, 2022

The story opens with four strangers who have interacted online on a suicide site called Black Paradox: Taburo, Pii-tan, Baracchi, and Maruso. They’re meeting up in person in order to commit suicide together.

As they travel to their destination, they talk about their reasons for wanting to die. Maruso feels that a series of disasters lies in her future and she can’t bear it. Taburo says he’s seen his doppelganger and he cites the belief that if you see your doppelganger, you’re going to die soon. He has decided to kill himself first before death comes for him. Pii-tan explains that he specialized in robotics at his university, and they wanted to build the world’s most advanced humanoid. It was decided to model the humanoid after Pii-tan, and he came to believe his mechanical twin was superior to him. An announcement will be made to the media soon, and Pii-tan wants to disappear before then. Baracchi has a disfiguring birthmark on one side of her face, and she feels the reflection of her in the mirror is telling her to die. It’s interesting to note that Maruso is the only one who doesn’t have a reason to die that involves another version of herself. After realizing this, I thought that this fact would have to be important for the story.

After this conversation, Maruso sees a car pass by, with three occupants who look exactly like her traveling companions. Maruso then notices something about Baracchi that makes her think there’s something off. After they stop, Maruso and Taburo realize that every time Pii-tan moves, they can hear the sound of motors. The two of them try to flee but are chased by the other two. But it turns out that the Taburo that is with Maruso isn’t what he seems, either, when the robotic Pii-tan attacks him.

Maruso flees, and she ends up finding the vehicle that passed them. It turns out this was the group she was supposed to meet with, but she encountered the other versions of them instead. In the wake of what happened, this group decides to hold off on their suicide until another time. However, after what happened the previous time, most of the group doesn’t trust each other and pretend to swallow pills. However, Pii-tan went through with it… but he doesn’t stay dead. Instead, he comes back to life and vomits up a glowing stone. When Pii-tan is able to speak, he says that while he was dead, he saw a dazzling world full of light.

Baracchi used to work in jewelry, and she wants to have a friend examine the strange stone. It turns out to be a strange new mineral that’s extremely valuable. It’s also revealed that Pii-tan’s stomach is a doorway between this world and the afterlife, and that inside the stone is a soul. Pii-tan keeps vomiting up the stones, and Baracchi and Taburo decide to live in order to make money off of these mysterious stones.

If the setup for this story seems strange enough, the story only gets stranger from here. Which is reasonable, since this is a horror story after all. As I stated in the introduction to this review, this story does touch on the greed of humans and the lengths that they will go to in order to achieve their goals. And as you can imagine, no one has a happy ending by the end of this story.

After reading Black Paradox, I can say that this is the type of story I’ve come to expect from Junji Ito. Maybe it’s because I’m not an avid consumer of horror, but to me, at least, it felt like most of the twists and turns that appeared in this story weren’t predictable. The one twist I felt was on the predictable side happened early on, when Maruso sees the other car go by with the three people who look exactly like her traveling companions.

When I saw the initial setup for Black Paradox, with the four people meeting up from the suicide site, it made me think of an episode of the Paranoia Agent anime. However, the tone of that episode and this manga are completely different. But were suicide sites and people meeting up to die together something that was a thing in Japan in the mid-to-late 2000’s, or was Ito inspired by that episode of Paranoia Agent?

There’s a very short story at the end of this volume titled, “Strange Pavilion.” It’s four pages long, and it takes place at the World Fair in 2105. A woman goes to an exhibit and something surprising happens. To be honest, I was kind of “meh” about this short story. After reading a story like Black Paradox, this short just felt a little flat.

To be honest, Black Paradox is one of the stronger Junji Ito works I’ve read for a while. Admittedly, I’d been a little underwhelmed with some of the Junji Ito works I’ve reviewed over the past year, so this was a nice change of pace. Unfortunately, one thing I do have to point out is that Maruso’s character design just looks too similar to some of the female characters from his other works. Taburo has a similar look to some of the male characters in Ito’s other works, but his design was tweaked just enough to not look as noticeably close.

If you’re a fan of Junji Ito or of horror manga, then you’ll likely appreciate Black Paradox. This manga might also work as a title to introduce readers to Junji Ito and his work, but I think that titles like Venus in the Blind Spot or Remina might work better for this purpose.
Was this review helpful?
Black Paradox contains the classical elements used in a Junji Ito story with different twists and turns to show how the situation becomes significantly worse for the characters involved. Ito's commentary on society rings frightfully true in terms of how they would deal with something leaning towards finite power from the souls of humans, with very little morality shown.
Was this review helpful?
Four oddballs meet on a website called Black Paradox to plan for their mass suicide. When that doesn’t work out for them, the comedic horror turns into a bat poop crazy science fiction plot. It’s definitely not a boring twist, but not entirely comprehensible either.

I think Black Paradox would better suit gonzo science fiction fans than horror lovers. Still, impressive artwork of incredibly gory scenes keeps my rating at 4 stars!

Thanks to Viz Media and NetGalley for a digital review copy of the book.
Was this review helpful?
What on Earth did I just read??

Ito really does not miss. Every single detail of this new horror story was thought out. I can stair at these images all day and find more and more details, but I don’t want to because they’re already haunting my mind. 

This book is perfect for spooky season. If you love twisted, dark tales that are bound to make you squirm, make sure to get your hands on a copy!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for sending me a copy.
Was this review helpful?
This really has the high quality of a "good old" Junji Ito's book. I had found newer works to be a bit milder, which my stomach appreciated if I'm being honest, but this was halfway between the more "classic" Junji Ito's and his new stories. Therefore I think it will reach a very broad audience. I liked the characters and found them a lot more fleshed out then usual ! The story changed direction a couple time, but stayed interesting. I think it's one of my favorites !
Was this review helpful?