Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Hell Baby

Okay, we're getting onto the good/more bizarre stuff now. ^_^

Hideshi Hino's is one of those artists who you classify as being 'an acquired taste', which makes it quite difficult to describe the appeal of his work. His style is exaggerated, possibly cartoonish for some, ugly for others, but Hell Baby is a good example of Hino at his most stark and dramatic.

Born a hideous deformity and having a taste for blood, an anonymous baby is dumped on the garbage tip and left to rot. Dying, and then mysteriously resurrecting, the girl lives a life of drinking mud and chewing on putrefying animal corpses just in order to maintain her own decomposing body. Anybody still with me? Then I shall continue... After a few years of crawling and grunting about the girl comes to feel a certain absence in its life, and ventures into the city in search for the family that cast her out. So after a cannibalistic killing spree she finds them and is granted the chance to take revenge on them all.

It's hard to say just what kind of message Hino is trying to send, but for me its darkly satirical method and pulpy vibe should be taken only at face value as pure entertainment. It's a wrong'un to be sure, but those made of sterner stuff (and possessing a twisted sense of humour) would do well to chance it.

Converts would do well to venture elsewhere into the Hino Horror series. 14 volumes emerged before it got cancelled, and they vary in quality vastly, but for an artist who's relatively unknown in the western (at least to most manga fans) there's a pretty decent amount of English material out there.

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