Hell Baby

Alt title: Gaki Jigoku

Vol: 1; Ch: 13
3.296 out of 5 from 144 votes
Rank #35,081
Hell Baby

On the eve of his twin girls’ births, a man discovers a terrible secret: one of the two babies is horribly disfigured with fangs and a hideous appearance. He dumps her in a garbage heap to rot, but the girl is brought back to life by a mysterious bolt of lightning; for the next seven years she lives, feeds and challenges the other animals on the heap for dominance. However, as a young girl, she soon finds herself inexplicably drawn into the city, where her destiny awaits...

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I did not find this very entertaining. First of all, it's very short and several of the plot developments involve the rotting child just instinctively being drawn to certain places or people--and that's just not a great way to have things progress. There is a small horror aspect once fe enters the city and does some killing and maiming in order to satisfy feir thirst for blood. And it also aims for the gross-out response by emphasizing the maggots and just generally showing deformities, trash, or rotting corpses. The fireball is presumably the accumulation of resentment against humans for their wasteful culture of disposal--which is the aspect where this manga includes some social commentary. The art is not impressive. There is a lot of black and silhouettes and the girl's face only really works because it's so deformed. The dogs are always drawn from the side. What really bothers me though is how the artist is incapable of differentiating between horror and disgust in the facial expressions. When the father saw the deformed baby, I could understand fem feeling disgust, but the expression of pure terror that fe shows feels entirely out of place as a reaction to what fe's seeing. And the way the people on the street react to the trail of maggots--again, another instance where disgust would be appropriate--presumably with fear and horror just makes the whole scene feel off. It's one thing if the artist wants to overemphasize the emotions for the purpose hammering the reader over the head with them, but at the very least fe should have the characters expressing emotions that actually make sense in the situations.

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