Turning Up the Creepy to Eleven in Blood on the Tracks Volume Three
Welcome, weebs, to Animated Observations
Apologies for taking Mother’s Day off, adjusting to my new work schedule has left me a little more tired than usual, so I did not have much energy to write. That being said, today’s volume certainly restored a lot of my blood flow, because my heart was pounding for the majority of it.
While still processing what has happened, Seiichi finishes his summer vacation and returns to school. However, it seems as though his attempts to figure out why his mother would attempt murder have left him quite literally speechless. Eventually, he cannot take it anymore, and, well…now is the time to leave for those who have yet to read it and want to avoid spoilers.
The last two chapters are thus far some of the most emotionally charged manga I have ever read. Horror is historically something that anime as a medium has failed to do a ton of justice. However, with manga, it is a different story. Because there is no set pace, reading manga comes with a degree of control: how fast eyes scan up and down, whether or not fingers decide to pick up the next page. Oshimi draws on this principally brilliantly when writing the scene between Seiichi and Seiko.
The way the darkness of the house builds the atmosphere in otherwise less tense moments before the two start arguing is brilliant. Not a single panel is wasted when it comes to mixing the cocktail of emotions the two of them feel. The character shading also really helps, with some panels even showing the two as almost dark outlines, but still drawn with enough complexity to see what they are going through with little to no visible face.
Another element of this volume that was particularly effective at building the atmosphere was seeing Shigeru again. It is not often that vising someone in a hospital can be as frightening, but again, Oshimi does it well. Seiichi’s cousin is not only immobilized but visibly deformed from the fall. His bloodshot and yet somehow still dead eyes and lack of speech contrast dramatically with his character in the opening chapters.
From volume one onwards, it had yet to be the case Shigeru appeared at all. This helps to build a lot of nervous distraught in Seiichi, who, after seeing him in his horrific state, finally gets the courage to confront his mom.
Minamalism and Atmosphere
Though some of the mangaka’s backgrounds can feel a bit underdone, this is not to say that a lack of linework is necessarily always bad. In fact, there are many points where it arguably adds to the atmosphere. The previously mentioned scene near the end with Seiichi and Seiko is a good example.
Many of the characters in the panels of these chapters can be extremely detailed. However, Oshimi also plays with some elements of minimalism, with the two of them at points looking like rough sketches. This rougher sketch work seems to represent points where the world around them has changed completely. For Seiichi, he is experiencing a whole new person that he does not recognize as his mom. In Seiko’s case, it likely feels like her son has betrayed her for going to see Shigeru in the hospital.
As the world is crashing down around him, it seems likely that Seiichi will be forced to make a choice about how he wants to proceed. My best guess is that more than likely, he will try and get his dad to help him with his mother, and that there will also probably be more attempted murder.
Have you all read Blood on the Tracks? Let me know down in the comments.
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