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Reviews by Contributor: Goto, Hiromi (3)

Time and Mercy

Shadow Life

By Hiromi Goto & Ann Xu  

29 Apr, 2022

Doing the WFC's Homework


Hiromi Goto’s 2021 Shadow Life is a stand-alone modern fantasy graphic novella. Illustrations are by Ann Xu.

Consigned to a retirement home by her well-meaning children, Komiko waits for a suitable moment, then slips away into the night, taking with her only a few reminders of her previous life. Komiko carefully conceals her new home — a bachelor apartment — from her alarmed children. They do not see her as a functioning adult and would only try to place her in another facility. 

As it happens, none of her children are the entity about whom she should be the most worried.

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Living in the Garden of Evil

Darkest Light  (Half World, volume 2)

By Hiromi Goto  

25 Sep, 2020

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do


2012’s Darkest Light is the second book in Hiromi Goto’s Half World series. 

Mr. Glueskin has been vanquished, allowing the age-old cycle of birth, reconciliation, rest, and rebirth to start once more. 

Mr. Glueskin has been reborn as sixteen-year-old Gee, an odd-looking outcast, haunted by a malevolent inner voice. The only person who can stand to be around him is his adopted grandmother Popo. He leads an odd, sad life. But it may be better than what’s coming. 

Mr. Glueskin’s followers cling to their pitiful existence in the Half World, preferring it to re-living past traumas (which is the only way to pass onto the Spirit World, after which one is reborn; lather, rinse, repeat), even though the only means to do so is to consume the souls of the dead Eel-armed Ilanna and bird-headed Karu, decide to drag their former boss back from the living world to glorious, sadistic, anthropophagy. 

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Half World, Complete Horror

Half World

By Hiromi Goto  

14 Dec, 2015

Miscellaneous Reviews


In Hiromi Goto’s 2009 novel Half World, the world is divided between the Realm of Flesh, the Realm of Spirit, and a Half World that bridges them. In ages past, humans cycled through these worlds; people lived and died in the Realm of Flesh and they were reborn in the Half World, where they were purged of their sins and traumas. Once purged, they were reborn in the paradisiacal Spirit World, from which they will fall, to be reborn in the Realm of Flesh. So the cycle began again. It’s basic Buddhist cosmogony at work.

But somehow, nobody is quite sure how, this cycle was shattered. The inhabitants of each realm have been trapped in their realms, reborn over and over into the same circumstances. This is hardest on the Half Worlders, who must relive their traumas over and over. The worlds are stuck in stasis. 


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