Spoiler free for the most part.
A creation of Hideo Yamamoto, I first began reading homunculus expecting it to be a horror manga (probably something someone said sometime in a video) and instead tripped through a heavily psychological psychological story with some utterly creepy moments.
The main characters are Nakoshi-San and Itoh.
Nakoshi is the protagonist of the story, a man living in his car perpetually parked on the side of a street located between a park filled with homeless people living in tents and a hotel he used to frequent before ending up in his current state.
Itoh is a rather flamboyant med student with a penchant for… well, you’ll see.
After stalking Nakoshi for a while Itoh offers him 700,000 Yen as reward for participating in a “little” experiment.
Trepanation, the act of drilling a hole in the skull, not touching the membrane that protects the brain but altering the pressure on it, used in ancient times as a sort of “exorcism” method and in more recent cases to help with some injuries and grave brain problems, but also because people will think it will grant them a sixth sense.
It is after going through this that the story really begins.
Nakoshi begins seeing people deformed into strange shapes, some appearing very much like monsters to him, and Itoh starts referring to them as homunculi. The little man inside the brain. All these aberrations are in reality reflections of the inner turmoil of people, and a reflection of Nakoshi’s own issues.
Through the experiment and interacting with people and their homunculi Nakoshi starts a journey of reluctant introspection, shattering the lies he had surrounded himself with, those that helped him end up being a “car homeless”.
The manga more than once plays with your expectations but without plot-twists that feel forced or taken out of the author’s ass like can happen sometimes elsewhere.
Do read if you like psychological manga, but if you have an absolute need for your stories to be filled with wish-fulfillment, action and fan service then look elsewhere.
Vagina face says “Reeeaaaaadd, Reeeeeeaaaaaad”