In 2002, the American remake of the Japanese horror film Ring splashed onto the large screen to some great acclaim. The story of an infamous video tape that would kill upon viewing stemmed subsequent sequals and were all based on a trilogy of books by author Koji Suzuki. There are four books in the Ring Cycle, Ringu (Ring), Razen (Spirals), Rupu (Loop), and Basudei (Birthday). To tell this story, I explored a fixed media medium to create an audio story. The cycle is divided into 16 parts. A synopsis of the four books are below.
Reporter Asakawa Kazuyuki has uncovered a videotape that has led to the death of four high school students via heart attack. Finding the video at an isolated resort, Asakawa watches the tape. A charm is seen at the end warning the viewer that imminent death will occur at this exact time one week from now. The instruction to alter the video’s curse is recorded over with a commercial. Asakawa enlists the help of an acquaintance, Takayama Ryuji to investigate the video’s origin. Believing the treat as truth, Asakawa is torn when his wife and child accidentally watch the tape. The investigation leads Asakawa and Takayama to Yamamura Sadako. As they uncover Yamamura’s convoluted history, both hurry to find her remains in hope it will save their lives and the lives of Asakawa’s family. Yamamura’s remains are found in time and her bones returned to her relatives. Asakawa and Takayama believe they have solved the curse as Asakawa’s deadline has since passed. Both return to their normal lives when Takayama suddenly dies from heart attack. Asakawa, distraught at not knowing what he did to save his life, realizes that making a copy of the video and showing it to someone else is the only thing Takayama did not do.
Ando Mitsuo is a mortician and the body of Takayama Ruyiji has become his next job. Ando is a man plagued by the drowning of his son years ago. Takano Mai, a student of Takayama and possible lover, finds his body after receiving a freighting phone call. Takano and Ando begin to take interest in each other as the death of Takayama has brought them together. Takano stumbles upon the video at Takayama’s apartment. She watches it and vanishes. Ando worries about Takano and begins his own investigation, which leads to someone named Asakawa. Ando unveils that Asakawa’s wife and child had been killed in a car accident. Ando begins to make connections to a videotape. He recovers a floppy disk from Asakawa’s brother. On the disk are Asakawa’s accounts of his investigation into Sadako Yamamura and a videotape. Ando visits Takano’s apartment, whose been missing for two weeks. Ando searches her apartment but Takano is nowhere to be found, he senses an ominous presence and quickly vacates. Ando again attempts to search her apartment but is dumbfounded when he spots a girl exiting the apartment. She is not Mai, she claims to be Mai’s sister Masako. Ando and Masako soon find each other in bed. Ando returns home from work to find Masako in the shower. A colleague has faxed Ando an old photo of Sadako Yamamura. As the fax completes, Ando notices an advertisement on new books. He sees that a book called Ring by Asakawa’s brother is scheduled to debut next week. The fax completes; Ando looks at the picture and is terrified. Masako looks at the photo and sees herself. Masako confesses that she is Sadako Yamamura. Although she is not aware why she is reborn, she does know that watching the video impregnated Mai. Sadako continues to have her powers and is able to kill with thought. Sadako has no desire to harm Ando, in exchange for his life he must agree to allow publication of the Ring book. In return, Ando will be able to resurrect his lost son just as Sadako has been reborn. The final scene shows the world infiltrated with the Ring virus. The Ring book has been printed and translated into many languages. A movie adaptation is scheduled for release. Yamamura Sadako is reborn over and over again.
A cancer-like virus known as the Metastatic Human Virus is spreading around the planet. Millions are dying and have died. There is no cure. Kaoru Futami, a medical student, has seen his father die slowly by the disease. At the hospital, he meets Sugiura Reiko. Her son Ryuji, is suffering from MHV. Futami is drawn to the Sugiura and soon both are love-making in her son’s hospital room as her son undergoes a type of chemotherapy. One day, Futami hears a rush of footsteps running down the halls. Joining the commotion, Futami sees Sugiura at front. He hurries over to see the situation. Near a ledge, Futami spots Sugiura’ son. He jumps to his death. Believing that he is the reason for the suicide, Futami, also responsible for impregnating Sugiura, promises to find a cure to save his family and the new life he’s responsible for. Futami learns of a special Loop project. The loop, an artificial simulation of the real world, was a Japanese-American operation to study the evolution of human interaction and consequently the place where the events of Ringu and Razen occur. Futami experiences the loop first through the eyes of an American Indian and finally is revealed to be the real world incarnation of Takayama. In order to allow scientist to find a cure for the virus, Futami volunteers to re-enter the loop thereby destroying his physical body.
Basudei: Coffin in the Sky
Mai Takano awakes to find her self trapped in a ventilation shaft. Her belly is bulging.
Basudei: Lemon Heart
Sadako Yamamura is a rising actress. She has fallen in love with the sound engineer of her theatre production. A recording of her engaging in sexual acts is played for all of her cast members. Sadako disappears. Many years later, the man she loved thinks Sadako is across the street. He runs to find her but is struck to the ground from a heart attack.
Basudei: Happy Birthday
Reiko Sugiura finds out the truth about the loop. She watches Futami online until his death. Reiko gives birth to Futami son. She says Happy Birthday.