Dementia 21 Is Weird, Even For Japan

by Tito W. James

During my Christmas holiday, I managed to sneak away from my family obligations long enough to discover the demented works of Kago Shintaro.

Kago often employs optical illusions and meta narratives to play with readers’ expectations and mess with their heads. This high-brow deconstruction of the medium is often paired with low-brow stories that employ dark humor and taboo topics. Kago’s stories are so bizarre that they defy description. The best way to communicate Kago’s style is to summarize one of his stories.

In Dementia 21, we follow a young woman who works as a caregiver for the elderly. However, each retiree she takes care of has a bizarre, impossible quirk that quickly causes problems.

In one chapter, our heroine must care for an elderly woman with psychic powers and a failing memory. Every time she forgets who someone is, they explode! Each chapter is like this with each elderly person serving as the crux for a darkly comedic adventure.

Kago Shintaro is a visionary quite unlike anyone else. Due to the deranged and often disturbing nature of his stories and art, it is easy to understand why he hasn’t made a big impact outside of niche communities. But if you’re in the mood for something bold and bizarre, then pick up Dementia 21.

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