Sadako-san and Sadako-chan is a comedy manga starring the ghost from the popular horror franchise, The Ring, and a little girl she intended to curse, but winds up befriending instead.
Apparently, this manga by Aya Tsutsumi was created to be a promotional tie-in to the 2019 film, Sadako, which dealt with the aftermath of Sadako’s cursed video being uploaded to the internet.
Sadako is a vengeful ghost who kills people using a videotape, which curses anyone who watches it to die within seven days. With the advent of streaming, however, finding people with a VHS player to curse is becoming increasingly difficult. So, when Sadako happens to meet a young psychic girl – who also happens to be quite tech savvy – she agrees to her suggestion to become online video creators together. Turns out, Sadako’s powers don’t seem to work the same way over the internet that they do with classic VHS and television technology, but she’s having so much fun creating online videos with her new friend that she doesn’t care!
Sadako is ready to take the internet world by storm, hoping to extend the reach of her curse and kill even more people!
Except, this is a comedy manga, so things don’t go quite to plan. It just doesn’t feel right to Sadako if she isn’t crawling out of a CRT TV. A computer or smart phone screen isn’t going to cut it for her.
So her scheme to extract vengeance on the world for her violent and untimely demise winds up being put on the backburner. Instead, she and her young friend pal-around making weird videos that are more cute than scary.
I get the impression that there might be some humor in this title that went over my head, as I haven’t seen the movie this was meant to be a tie-in to. Also, I’m actually only aware of the plot of The Ring film through cultural osmosis, having not seen any of the Japanese films or the Hollywood remake.
But, even with only a passing familiarity with the character of Sadako, I was able to enjoy this manga and its fun and silly take on the normally terrifying villain of the Ring films.
Sadako’s struggles with modern technology were humorous and the little girl – dubbed Sadako-chan, due to her resemblance to Sadako – is so level-headed and nonplussed by the ghost’s presence, that she winds up playing the straight-man to the obsessive Sadako-san. They make for an amusing pair, and it’s no surprise to me that they become internet sensations. They even start getting ad revenue when Sadako-san befriends another video streamer, Akikawa Kazuma, who’s more then happy to help her sort out some of the ins-and-outs of being a video creator – but he just can’t seem to get ahold of a CRT TV for Sadako-san to use to curse him properly, much to her annoyance.
All and all, this is a pretty light-hearted manga, but, being a tie-in to a horror film, it’s not without some darker elements. Little Sadako-chan is kept locked in a closet by her mother, who fears her psychic abilities. Sadako-chan believes that her mother is doing this to protect her, but it’s clear that her mother is actually abusive. We don’t see her mother at any point during the book, only getting a sense of her presence from the random noises that Sadako-chan hears while trying to interact with her through the closet door. This lead me to wonder if anyone is actually there, at all. Perhaps Sadako-chan has been entirely abandoned or died from neglect and is a ghost, as well. Either way, the tragedy of this girl’s situation adds an undercurrent of melancholy to the story, but it also makes her friendship with Sadako-san even more touching.
Sadako-san has a tragic past of her own, so she clearly empathizes with her young friend, and she starts doing things to try and lift her spirits, while also trying to protect her from the reality of her mother’s rejection. Their relationship winds up being quite sweet and heart-warming, though the lack of any real resolution to Sadako-chan’s current circumstances prevents Sadako-san and Sadako-chan from being an entirely feel-good manga.
This is probably the cutest story starring a horror villain in existence. I found the humor accessible, even though I only knew basic information about the character of Sadako. If you are a Sadako fan, I imagine you’ll get even more of a kick out of this unique take on the vengeful spirit, so be sure to give it a try!
Final Score: 7 out of 10.
For more information on this manga, visit Seven Seas Entertainment’s website.
What did you think of this manga? If you are a fan of the Ring franchise, are there are any inside jokes you think I might have missed? Let me know in the comments!
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