The Enigma of Amigara Fault is a short manga by Junji Ito
. It was published along with the second volume of Gyo
, but has nothing to do with the story from that manga. The entire tale is shorter than the length of the average manga chapter, but Ito's masterful touch with horror is just as evident here as in full stories like Uzumaki
or Gyo. The characters undergo a Lovecraftian
sense of being inexorably drawn to their doom due to curiosity of the mystical and otherworldly. Like fellow manga artist Shintaro Kago
, Junji Ito's work is concerned with confronting and destroying the sacredness of the body, with bone-chilling effectiveness.
The story begins with two young hikers named Owaki and Yoshida who meet on Amigara Mountain. They had both seen the mountain featured on the news, and wanted to investigate the story for themselves. Recently, an earthquake had split the mountain and raised a large cliff face from the rocks. Dug into the cliff face, apparently naturally, are thousands of deep holes shaped like life-sized human silhouettes. The phenomenon, as Owaki and Yoshida discuss, has been the focus of international attention since it was discovered.
The two reach the fault, and find a large crowd of people gathered there. Scientists examine the holes and decide that they could not have occurred naturally, but cannot figure out where they came from. The human-shaped tunnels extend far into the mountain.
Owaki notices Yoshida looking for something, and she tells Owaki about how she had seen a hole on TV that was shaped exactly like her. A man named Nakagaki overhears, and tells the same story. He has already found his hole, and as the two teenagers watch, he strips off his clothes and slips inside. The hole is angled slightly downwards, and Nakagaki slides deep into the mountain as the crowd watches in horror. A rescue squad attempts to go in after him, but the hole only fits him perfectly, and no one else.
The sense that someone has prepared something just for them
is what attracted these people to the fault. They want to find their own hole, and when they do, they cannot resist entering it. What drives them is the intimacy; they fit their corresponding hole better than anyone. The visitors seek a confirmation of their uniqueness, and once they have it, their curiousity overwhelms them.
Owaki pitches a tent and sleeps on the mountain, but has nightmares about Nakagaki. When he wakes up, he finds Yoshida, who has found her own hole. Suddenly, there is a commotion. Another man has climbed up the wall in his underwear, and is clinging to a hole shaped like him. The crowd yells at him to get down, but he cries out, "this is my hole! It was made for me!" More people start entering their holes, and Yoshida becomes frantic. She's convinced the hole is calling out to her, so she and Owaki fill it with small rocks. They then go to sleep in his tent.
That night, Owaki has another nightmare. He dreams he is a criminal in some ancient time, and his punishment is to enter a hole shaped like him. As he moves down the tunnel, the shapes in the rock for his neck and limbs begin to stretch, and his body deforms along with it. Soon his entire body is long and thin, and his limbs look unsettlingly like earthworms. His head is a few feet long, and yet he remains alive.
The next day, Owaki discovers Yoshida has removed the rocks from her hole and entered it. He calls for her, but there is no response. Saddened and confused, he sees his own hole, and fits himself into it.
Several months later, another cliff face is discovered on the other side of the mountain, parallel to the first one. This one has holes as well, but not the perfect human silhouettes that the other cliff had. They are vaguely human, but the limbs are so thin and stretched out that they resemble worms rather than arms or legs. One worker shines his flashlight into one of the holes.
He sees something alive coming down the tunnel, its face twisted and squashed against the rock, its arms extended to unnatural lengths and curved like spaghetti. It makes a sound: "drr...drr...drr..."
The Enigma of Amigara Fault is a fairly well-known Ito work, and is the source of an old 4chan meme, specifically the line, "this hole, it was made for me." The meme also includes the DRR DRR DRR sound in the final panel of the comic, though opportunities to actually use the meme are rare. The only case in which it makes sense is if the discussion touches on someone's sense of entitlement regarding something. Then somebody may say, "this ____, it was made for me." The meme is fairly old and doesn't get used often. Many 4chan users may not even know the source of the DRR DRR DRR picture.
The manga story is a short one, and as such is probably not worth the price of the second volume of Gyo. However, Gyo itself is a fine manga, and if you are interested in that story, then you will be quite happy with the bonus chapter of Amigara Fault.