During October I did a little event called TAYlloween where I reviewed horror themed mangas. While, I covered a good amount of interesting manga, I also had some other contenders that I wanted to cover during October. Today, I'm going to cover a small manga with some horror elements that I wanted to talk about in October, The Voynich Hotel.
*Warning. This manga contains mature content that ranges from full frontal nudity to drug use. You have been warned*
The Voynich Hotel roughly follows Kuzuki Taizo, a seemingly normal Japanese tourist as he checks into the Voynich Hotel. During his stay, Kuzuki meets the quirky inhabitants of the hotel who are all trying to have a good time while on vacation. Though everyone is trying to have a good time, each person's past slowly pull them out of their vacation where they might be pulled into conflict with the other inhabitants of the island.
The art of this series is stylized to a heavy extent, which creates a rich atmosphere, but at times the art can be inconsistent. Early in the manga, the art isn't the best because it there are quite a few character proportions that are off between scenes. Also, the art in the first few chapters felt very barren with quite a few panels that had a large amount of white space without much to offset it. Later on in the manga, many of these problems get either fixed or appear less often, which allows it's unique art style to shine through.
The art in this manga is incredibly pointy. Specifically, the characters art has a lot of points to them, which makes them seem more dangerous of aggressive. This aspect of the art creates a dissonance between what is happening in the manga and the visuals of the manga. This aspect of the art serves to present the two faceness of the world in a visual form, which is immersive because it makes each character feel more human. Though the art of the manga is inconsistent early on, it gets better and the style of the art works in tandem with the other elements of the manga.
Despite the large amount of violence and death in the series, the manga still feels like being on vacation and it incorporates these facts into its atmosphere. There's just a lighthearted tone to everything that happens in the series whether it be investigating a crime scene to having writer's block before a major deadline. So when a character is killed or goes missing, nothing really changes because those kinds of events are normal on Blefuscu Isle (where the Voynich Hotel is located). By making these events feel normal, it allows the characters to make dark events seem more fun than they actually are. By making the events in the manga feel lighthearted, it's easy to get swept up in the laid back and fun attitude each character has in the manga.
Every character in this series is two faced in that there is much more to them than meets the eye. Specifically, there is a dissonance between who each character is and how they act. For example, though Kuzuki seems like an ordinary Japanese tourist, he is actually a former yukuza who ran off with his clan's money after it was destroyed. By giving each character in this manga a darker side to their personalities, it gives a secondary meaning to each character's action. The dual nature of each character in this series adds depth to each character and each action a character takes.
Writing That Would Make Suda 51 Proud
This series is just plain quirky. It juxtaposes mature topics with lighthearted topics without batting an eye on many occasions. For example, Snark (the serial killer in this series) wishes to bring back her last victim from the dead with her last wish from her contract with a devil. The then devil reminds her that she's a psychotic killer and reviving her last victim wouldn't bring her happiness, to which she immediately agrees and then wishes for big boobs. This manga's ability to switch between serious and silly topics so quickly without breaking immersion is simply fantastic because it's able to cover serious topics while also being incredibly funny.
The Voynich Hotel is a quirky series that I enjoyed very much. The writing of the series was incredibly fun because it presented serious topics in silly ways. Just the absurdity of some of the events in the manga was great to witness because of the unique ways they were presented. Also, I liked that most of the characters and the setting had some depth to them because it was much easier to get invested in the setting of the manga since I was able to relate to some of the character/able to understand why they took certain actions. Though the art of the series wasn't the best, especially at the beginning of the series, the way the art was used to create a creepy yet comforting atmosphere drew me into the setting and events of the manga extremely well. If you're looking for something you haven't seen before in a manga, I highly recommend checking out The Voynich Hotel.
All images were taken from bato.to. I do not own any of these images.
You can find The Voynich Hotel here.
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