Lullabies from Hell

May 6, 2006

Yay, more Hideshi Hino! I was both elated and disappointed by this release. Elated because it’s more Hino in English, and disappointed because it’s a one-shot volume. But one-shots are better than no-shots, I suppose.

This volume contains four short stories, and I was pumped about it because I was under the impression that they were autobiographical. Only the first one contains “Hideshi Hino,” but it’s just a short story version of Panorama of Hell with some slight alterations. Even his self-portrait here is the same character as “the artist” in the older work. I love his “autobiographies,” but they tend to all be very similar, as he repeats a lot of the same material again in Collection 2 from the Hino Horror series (haven’t read Collection 1).

The second story is about a horror novel writer, not him, and he is the one that imagines his wife birthing a monster, which she then does. It is a reptile, looks a little like an iguana, and does eat puppies and kids. The reasons behind this monster baby are a little sketchy, but the setting and the world events that go on in the story are a pretty awesome scenario.

The third one is also amazing, about three kids who slip into some sort of weird alternate dimension on a train ride back home. There is a man who keeps appearing and disappearing, and their parents, teachers, and classmates do everything in their power to kill them.

The fourth one isn’t as good as the second and third, but it’s still a really great story about a mentally handicapped man who the villiage shuns because of a disease. He is banished to a swamp where his disease festers and the villiage eventually bars his own mother from visits, then goes in to kill him because the smell from his disease is washing over the villiage. I liked the ending a lot, but it’s a bit sappy too.

All in all, AWESOME. MUST BUY.