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!

I read 32 pages and then it ended!! Just as something was coming out the other side of the mountain. What happened ? Where is the rest of the story?
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I thought it was cool, but wanted more explanation as to what was going on. Who put the holes there? Why were people compelled to go in them? For example, what if they turned out to be aliens or changelings who were instinctively drawn to the holes so they could pupate into their true forms?
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People stay alive in there for months with no food or water? Nobody's scared of a rubber man that will just fall over when it comes out of the hole. Good idea, just a lame ending.
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I liked this...less is more on the explination. A lot like old Twilight Zone and Outer Limits shows. Things do not need explaining...it's more about the tension and feelings of those in the story.

I'm not sure of the changeling idea, though possible. I think it's possible they are near dead people mutilated through the experience. The real mystery is how the personalized holes got there and why. But, again the greatness in the story comes from NOT explaining this.
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The last page was unnecessary, but added a "OMG" factor just for the illustration of the guy almost coming out - and alive.

The story is GREAT, and I agree with MidwestMedic. It´s a lot like Twilight Zone stories. No explanation is needed. The "ENIGMA" is all you really want to know about.

I just think the autor kinda spoiled the purposes of the holes on the guy´s dreams. From that, you easily guess what will happen with those poor guys.
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I've been a huge fan of Junji Ito's work ever since I read UZUMAKI... if there are any online postings of stories from MUSEUM OF TERROR that would be great to share those!
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I didn't get the impression that the victims lived for more than a day or so into the holes, rather that some property of the holes pushed the bodies through all the way.
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Junji Ito is great, he is very good with those types of endings. I recommend Uzumaki, as someone else mentioned. An earlier work of his, Kyrie is also good, but not as polished as Uzumaki (it's only three books).
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Loved it! Terrific! I grew up on Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Hitchcock! The ending does not need explaining. But your imagination does need let off it's rein for a bit.

There is no part two....that was the end! Sooooo Good!

Thank you!
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.....okay, I'm actually having the problem that I'm picturing the experience from the first-person view. Damn, this is NOT a good thing. I need a unicorn chaser supreme ASAP. o.o;;;;;
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mmm i liked it, could have been better. So basicly non-magical holes cut out in ancient times by cave people as a punishment for other cave people. The reason dosn't explain why someone would be compelled-beyond-reason to enter.

throw ye ol logical brain factor in, and anyone would come to the conclusion that if you were a chubby person, you'd need only wait till you dropped some weight (provided you had water) to get back out.

Also why would anyone deform themselves. Wouldn't they stop when it started to hurt, and instead start wailing for help?
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I think it worked nicely. Junji Ito manages to combine vertigo and claustrophobia which is an unsettling combination.

I find it interesting that people think the last page is unnecessary as I thought the sequence on page 26 (and the end of 25). The last page worked well, as did the first dream, but the second one possibly provides too much of a hint about the ending - I'd have preferred it to be more misdirection because once you see the oddly shaped holes on the penultimate page it rather spoils the final panel. Also "It's slowly coming this way" rather spoils the sense of imminent dread, as you'd expect a reply like, "well I suppose we should think about getting away in the next day or so!!" That said they are minor niggles in an effective tale.

Those looking for more should read Uzumaki (and watch the film as it works well too) and Gyo. Info:

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Is this a 'pirated' scan of the story or is it done with permission of the author or publisher?

It's a great read, but I'm not a big fan of promoting copyright violation, despite the fact that this scan has exposed a great talent to a lot of of people who might never have otherwise read it.
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Funnier than it is horrifying.

Amusing how some folks want everything explained. Just use your imagination. It's not necessarily a cave-person punishment thing - that was his dream. The dream spoils the ending, by the way. You're not surprised by the last page at all.
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Wow you guys are so over-analyzing this. Maybe the only magical properties of the area is that it can keep people alive for months. Who cares? It's definitely a Twilight Zone thing. I thought it was neat.
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i was thinking of this on the way home tonight, and i think the whole thing about the person shaped holes is an allegory. i think, that we do this to ourselves on an unconcious level throughout our lives.

for instance, you do something wrong, you know it's wrong and you feel guilty about what you've done. you continue to punish yourself (either conciously or not) until the view of yourself becomes grotesque and disfigured. well....something like that. i think you get the gist.

either that or the holes make bananas. i never said it was a good theory. :)
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That was the DUMBEST thing I've ever wasted my time reading.

With such great prose like "We're all looking for our holes" I should have known better to continue reading.
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@carl- agreed.

keep in mind, people, that this is a comic. i haven't read any manga, but this one would definitely make me want to read more. it was interesting and gruesome. just imagine if this actually happened... what would YOU have said if you were on the other side observing the mangled gross bodies coming out? eww.. it's like old chinese feet-binding... slow and painful...
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It had some really good elements, enough to keep me reading to the end. Reminded me of classic comics like Strange Tales, Tales from the Crypt and Strange Worlds... but not as fully developed.
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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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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.

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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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.

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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 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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