In 2002, The Ring came to American silver screens and brought a whole new style of horror and suspense to the States. Based on a series of novels by Suzuki Koji, The Ring became a media franchise in Japan with its fascinatingly creepy, yet scientific and otherworldly subject matter. Not to mention its very scary "monster," the spirit of a girl whose body was dropped in a well many years past. As you'll find reading through Dark Horse's series of Ring manga, this story is rich with an undergrowth of science and hatred, of strong will behind the murderous ghost of Sadako. Birthday, the fourth in a series of five Ring manga, is a trilogy of stories, each enriching the main storyline of The Ring series. "The Casket Floating in the Sky" centers on Mai Takano, and how she becomes wrapped deeper into Sadako's grasp. "Lemon Heart" tells of one of Sadako's early loves, and eerily wraps itself back into the plotline of Mai Takano. The "Sadako" story goes into the depths of both Sadako's death and her rebirth. Slowly, the details of how The Ring truly works are trickling out into the daylight.
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The Japanese media franchise the Ring reached American shores in 2002 with the hit film based on a series of horror novels by Suzuki. The manga series, recently translated by Dark Horse, explores the Ring universe, deepening readers' knowledge of the characters and histories. The series' central story line follows the vengeful spirit of a girl named Sadako, who was mysteriously killed. This volume is a trilogy of stories, the longest of which, "Sadako," concerns the protagonist's upbringing and the circumstances that led to her death. It offers a fine twist at the end and some eerie moments along the way. Another story, "Lemon Heart," details the later life of one of Sadako's old boyfriends, who now suffers from an unknown ailment. Suzuki's work hinges on building up quiet levels of dread and unease. Adapter Mizuki manages to pace the stories with some success, and there are some moments of genuine suspense and horror, but these scenes are hampered by Meimu's generic drawings. Birthday is really only for serious Ring fans; anyone else will find themselves baffled by its somewhat arcane plots and subplots. (Nov.)
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