Kijin Gahou is not for the faint of heart, but it is brilliant in its grotesquerie

This manga is not for the faint of heart.

Kijin Gahou is a long and twisted slope into the abyss of darkness. It is wicked, gory, and perverse in nature. It is ero-guro, first and foremost, a label that is not exactly in the norm. It is not a genre that can be enjoyed in the traditional sense; the initial barrier of disgust will turn many readers away and rightfully so. However, if you are able to stomach in your desire to look away, then there is a lot to appreciate from this. Shintaro Kago’s penchant for visualising guro through his art shines completely as he is able to create unique and refreshing, and equally disgusting, pieces of fiction that tackle themes grounded in our reality.

Kijin Gahou is an anthology, containing various stories ranging from sexual desires turned rotten to peer pressure being envisioned through the slicing of your stomach. It is a lot to take in, especially with the second story being hard to read for various reasons that will not be spoiled, and, if you get shivers by looking at insects, the last story is extremely hard to get through. This is not just a creative outlet for drawing horrifying imagery, however, as Kago manages to insert wicked humour that criticises society’s issues, commenting on topics such as peer pressure, abortion, and religion. They are rather simple themes, but they are manifested in creative ways, and Kago uses his guro style of artwork with these themes to create ridiculous yet captivating stories.

The artwork is raw and ugly; characters are not exactly “pretty” or pleasing to the eyes. Of course the gory and disgusting imagery are not nice to look at either. This works entirely in Kijin Gahou’s favor, however, as it is a collection of guro stories, but Kago never aims to fetishise his art nor does he work to create meaningless depictions of the grotesque. His artwork mixes entirely well with the nature of his wicked stories, and it keeps to a consistent sense of dirtiness and rawness.

Some of the stories present really are just exhibitions of Kago’s style of art and do not contain anything beyond being concepts for Kago’s creativity to shine, but they are still imbued with his signature wicked style of humour. The dark kind of humour that is absurd enough for the reader to revel in despite the disturbing content, and it is crazy enough to work in the confines of this assortment of guro stories.

Kijin Gahou is not for the faint of heart, and it is easy for one to avoid it from glancing at its first few pages. With that in mind, it does a lot for the genre and beyond it, incorporating a wicked sense of humour which fits in line with the absurd stories and containing a style of art that Kago knows exactly how to use in his favor. Shintaro Kago knows exactly what he wants out of his creations, and he communicates it to us directly with a dark collection of disturbing guro stories that do its job to horrify and captivate while also commenting on interesting topics surrounding society. It is hard to stomach through, but it sure as hell can get a reader’s attention.

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Consuming and writing

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