There are many ways to start a story, but you’ve got to start with a hook for the most part. Since this story’s title is simply a name, some attachment must be formed between the reader and the name very early on. That’s precisely what Junji Ito does in the first few pages of this sci-fi thriller. Simultaneously, the images are just so wild and extraordinary, and you’re left with no choice but to keep flipping through the pages to figure out what is going on.
A good sci-fi thriller keeps an air of mystery about itself. Throughout the beginning, as we are introduced to the titular character, there’s always an unsettling feeling within the panels of this story that made me sort of anxious for what could happen. It was that anxiety, I think, that kept me dug in until the very end. Remina is the daughter of a famous astronomer who has discovered a peculiar planet traveling through the cosmos. He names the planet after his daughter since the planet arrived in their universe on Remina’s 16th birthday. It is also 16 light-years away from the planet earth. With such a huge discovery, Remina becomes an instant sensation with her own fan club, sponsor, and tv deals. There are many eyes on her for what seems to be an arbitrary reason… nonetheless- the world loves Remina.
It’s that love that drives the story forward and thrusts the innocent young girl into a living nightmare. I mean that in both a literal and figurative sense. I haven’t indulged in much H.P. Lovecraft material but seeing Planet Remina as we progress through the story gave me chills. Also, it honestly made me feel very small- if not helpless. I can only speak for myself in saying that at a certain point, I had to accept that I was a bit uncomfortable with how I was empathizing with the human population in their desperation. Would I act the same way? If I had lost all hope- would my hopelessness turn into vindictive anger? Perhaps, Junji Ito wanted us to ask this question of ourselves- to feel what his fictional world was feeling because even though all the darkness that Remina endures, there are at least a few characters that allow us to see the best in humanity even at its absolute worst. Those little specks of light allowed me to be hopeful and made a race to the conclusion that more important to me and that much more satisfying.
Junji Ito’s illustrations in Remina are incredible and terrifying- The imagination this man possesses and then able to translate that to pen and paper is what really breathes life into an already interesting plot. There are definitely moments where the rough lines and blots of ink make it hard to determine things like perspective and distance. However, overall I think shock value in art weighs more than realism in his work. Scale played a huge part in making this story as convincing as it was. He tells a story from the human perspective, i.e., ground level earth, what is happening outside of earth, and how ground-level earth is affected. It’s a massive undertaking, and as such, it made me step back a couple of times on a panel to take a moment to see what was actually happening.
As much as Remina is a sci-fi thriller, it is very psychological, as with many of his works. Underneath the brutality and Lovecraftian prose and imagery is a quiet, perhaps shy commentary of the human condition. It’s a commentary that speaks to our best selves by showing us our ugliest selves. I encourage others to face this dark tale to see what Remina shows to them. I will say that this single volume is a bit tamer than previous works. There is certainly less gore if any. And while that kind of stuff certainly delivers a strong shock value, there are other ways to accomplish that. Remina is a testament to Junji Ito’s ability to strike fear into his reader’s hearts.
Junji Ito’s Remina Review
Junji Ito's Remina
While that kind of stuff certainly delivers a strong shock value, there are other ways to accomplish that. Remina accomplishes that