Enigma of the Amigara Fault

The Enigma of Amigara Fault is a bonus story in Junji Ito's [wiki] 2003 horror manga Gyo. In the story, an earthquake revealed a mysterious wall with thousands of deep, human-shaped holes - each hole is a perfect shape for someone. When a person finds his "hole," he is compelled to enter ... but the hole is such that he can't turn around or go back. What happened to those who walk into their holes?

In about a page or two, I was hooked. Find out how this creepy story ends: Link (It's a manga, so read from right to left) - Thanks Chad!


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I loved everything about it. It creeped the hell out of me. However I do think that the bit with the caveman people using it as a form of punishment was unecessary, and repetitive. Other than that, Ito is a genius.
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I think this manga played to our most basic of narcissisms, and the fact that we all want somewhere to belong. The fact that it destroyed them was in the writers dark point of view.

For those of you wondering about the people reaction inside the tunnels. The tunnels were at an angle sloping down inside the mountain. So no matter how hard you struggled you had no choice but to move forward. Also the extremely tight fit, combined with your inability to control your movement would trigger your bodies survival instincts of intense fear and loss of all logic.

I still understand that the premise of this story makes little or no sense, but I'm trying to explain that the reactions once inside the tunnel are quite realistic. But there is no way you could ever get me inside one of those things, regardless of how much it looked like me.
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I'm not sure if the body pictured in the last panel was meant to be dead or alive... "DRR DRR DRR" could've just been the noise of its flesh scraping against the cave walls.

Actually, I'm not sure which is creepier. Trapped in a deforming hole for months (but somehow alive at the end), or dying trapped in there and your deformed corpse emerges.

And as for the dream, it did kind of spoil it - it made the end just a "shock horror image" rather than an expected "twist" (excuse the pun). Perhaps if in the dream, the holes remained in shape and you eventually emerged fine; but due to the effects of the quake, the holes (and its travellers) ended up as something else entirely.

In any case, I still found it amusing/creepy. And I'd probably default towards assuming they're still alive, simply because "DRR DRR DRR" is a very funny sound for any living thing to make. Go ahead, say it.

DRR DRR DRR
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Yeah the dream totally spoils it, even if it might have been misdirection. I doubt that the author intended that - if he misdirected, it should have been how they arrived in some kind of good place and the holes were there because they had been selected to form a perfect society or something.
I found it pretty funny though. Dance Dance Revolution.

@kid_icarus
Yes, in addtion to that, just entering the holes could represent how we sometimes do bad things or surrender ourselves to a "destiny" that we don't want but become fixated on.
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Keep in mind that this is a translation, so you should be a little forgiving of the prose. Translating from Japanese is very difficult.

For another good short, read his short story, "The Central Pillar". It's a great allegory on the stress placed on the breadwinner by Japanese society.

All of Ito's work that I know of has been listed here except for Tomie, which is about an immortal girl that is repeatedly killed by men she has driven insane.
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