Hell Baby - Reviews

Alt title: Gaki Jigoku

Hell Baby
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nathandouglasdavis's avatar
May 4, 2021

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.

2/10 story
2/10 art
1/10 characters
2/10 overall
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ZorroMeisterZ's avatar
Feb 21, 2012

Okay this is one of those creepy stories that turns out to be way sadder than expected. All said it's a good read.

Story/Characters: The only characters that are really fleshed out are the father and the titular character the latter hardly present and the former having no dialogue. That said they both manage to convey a great deal.

Art: It's hard to comment on art in manga, because there's no one way to draw. Each artist has a particular visual style and to critique style is like critiquing some's preference for coca cola as opposed to pepsi. That said the artist's visual style does quite a wonderfully with the story.

Overall: A good read, certainly different. At worst it's above average and can actually be considered good.

7/10 story
7/10 art
8/10 characters
7/10 overall
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