A Fresh Look at ‘Gannibal’ by Masaaki Ninomiya

Author: Greg Lozano

I long for entertainment to grasp me and sink its teeth in me until I realize that this is all I will see for my remaining moments. Unfortunately, this leaves me quite a solid cynic for most media, as most producers are afraid to be the first to define or redefine a genre, which is why so much of the same material works its way to the public.

I cannot say that is the case with Masaaki Ninomiya’s Gannibal. From the moment I started reading, I knew it would be more effort to put it down, so I allowed myself to bask in these beautifully haunting illustrations and see where the horror took me. Before I knew it, I had finished volume one and was already yearning for the next volume, which thankfully will be released this year. 

The story follows the life of a police officer bound to discover the whereabouts of his missing predecessor by taking the role of the town’s newest officer. In his role of uncovering potential leads, he notices some strange activity from a rather hostile town that does not take kindly to new people moving in, especially ones whose duty is to point their noses into their business.

I’m not going into spoiler territory, but the tension and discoveries really got me to turn these pages as quickly as possible while taking the time to admire how detailed each panel was. 

Gannibal was a change from my usual horror mangas. I will admit that the only author who captured my attention in this genre before reading anything by Ninomiya was none other than Junji Ito, and he mastered the art of horror when it came to manga.

I anticipated so many of Ito’s stylistic choices when coming to some pivotal moments, only to not get them when expected, but rather several pages later, which made me happy. These choices by Ninomiya allowed his art to feel unique, and admittedly, they also ushered the drive to turn more pages and see these moments from the character’s perspective. 

The art of Gannibal isn’t just there to chill the spine; it invites us to appreciate the sheer effort and creativity poured into each panel. It’s more than transient scares—it’s an opportunity to connect with the artist’s craft on a deeper level, turning fleeting frights into enduring admiration for the meticulous artwork that brings the story to life.

There was something special about getting to read this. It felt grounded, more real than other horror I’ve read, and rather frightening when putting oneself in the characters’ situation.

Gannibal reminded me of why I and many others find such a thrill in horror. There’s something uniquely cathartic about this genre. It allows us to confront our darkest fears in a setting where we control the lights and can close the book at any moment. This safe exploration of fear entertains and helps us process emotions we’re often encouraged to suppress or ignore daily.

If you are a horror fan, this is worth reading and spending time on. 

If this review stirs your curiosity, please pick up Gannibal and experience its unique blend of horror and artistry. Feel free to share your thoughts and reactions in the comments below—how did the story make you feel? What thoughts did Ninomiya’s artistic choices provoke in you compared to other horror creators like Ito?

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