Ring Trilogy

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The Ring Trilogy is a series of novels by Koji Suzuki: Ring ("Ring", 1991), Rasen ("Spiral", 1995) and Rupu ("Loop", 1998). Suzuki also wrote a collection of short stories, The Birthday (1999).

It is also sometimes used to refer to the trilogy of films: Ring (1998), Ring 2 (1999), Ring 0: Birthday (2000). This does not include the film Rasen ("Spiral", 1998).

Relationship to films[edit]

  Open book nae 02.svg Ring (1991) →
Suzuki novel Japan
Spiral (1995) →
Suzuki novel Japan
Loop (1998) →
Suzuki novel Japan
Birthday (1999) →
Suzuki stories Japan
S (2012)
Suzuki novel Japan
         
Mplayer.svg The Ring (2002) ←
Verbinski film United States
Ring (1998)
Nakata film Japan
Rasen (1998)
Iida film Japan
    Sadako 3D (2012)
Hanabusa film Japan
   
Rings (2005)
Liebesman film
The Ring Two (2005)
Nakata film United States
Ring 2 (1999)
Nakata film Japan
The Ring Virus (1999)
Kim film South Korea
    Sadako 3D 2 (2013)
Hanabusa film Japan
         
    Ring 0 (2000)
Tsuruta film Japan
     
 

The Rasen (Spiral) film of 1998 was an alternative sequel to Ring, made by a different production company, which moved the story closer to that of the novels.

Plot summaries[edit]

Ring[edit]

Main article: Ring (Suzuki novel)

This story is set in present-day Tokyo. When four teenagers unusually die one night at the same time, Kazuyuki Asakawa, a journalist who is the uncle of one of them, investigates. This leads him to a holiday resort called Hakone Pacific Island. There he watches a videotape left behind in their room which contains a series of abstract and realistic images. At the end of the sequence of images, a warning appears: "You watched the tape. You are destined to die seven days from the hour you watched this tape. To stop this from happening, do everything that is written here. You must—" but the rest is erased by an advertisement. This has a strange mental effect on Kazuyuki and without a second thought, he believes it to be true.

He enlists the help of his best friend, Ryuji Takayama, a philosophy graduate and an admitted rapist. When Ryuji hears Kazuyuki's story, he watches the tape, and asks Kazuyuki to make him a copy for him to study at home. Their investigations lead them to the volcanic island of Oshima. After Kazuyuki's wife and child also watch the tape, Kazuyuki realises he must find the truth and perform the "charm" to prevent the deaths of both his family and his friend.

Then their investigations lead them to search for a person named Yamamura Sadako. Sadako was the daughter of Yamamura Shizuko who was known for her exceptional ESP abilities but later branded as a charlatan. In depression, Shizuko jumped into Mount Mihara's crater. Later they learn that Sadako, who lived 30 years ago, was still missing. The evidence leads them back to Hakone where they find a well. At the bottom lie Sadako's remains; Kazuyuki sets her free by giving her a proper burial. Thinking he has performed the charm, Ryuji and Kazuyuki go home convinced. At Ryuji's deadline, he is watching the videotape. But the space around the TV becomes distorted. He dials Mai Takano, his assistant. The television shows the scene of rolling dice. Ryuji tries to telephone and yells "Get me out of here!" before screaming to his death.

When Kazuyuki realises that the charm was to copy the tape and show it to somebody else, he rushes to his family to save them.

Spiral[edit]

Main article: Spiral (Suzuki novel)

The events in the story occur a day after Ryuji's death. By chance, Ando Mitsuo, Ryuji's former university classmate, is assigned to do the autopsy of Ryuji. He and his colleague, Miyashita, found a benign tumor in Ryuji's throat which is believed to be the cause of his death. They are puzzled because the tumor that they find resembles a smallpox tumor that was eradicated 30 years ago. Ando, along with his colleague, Miyashita, find out that an organism called the Ring Virus causes this tumour. The virus is transferred to the body through the tape and begins to grow into a tumour inside the viewer's throat. When the charm is not performed, the tumor grows till it blocks the airway and kills the person. To stop this, the tape must be copied and shown to another person. Inside his stomach they find the word RING and a series of cryptic messages. This further perplexes Ando.

In search for the cryptic messages meaning, he comes to meet Ryuji's assistant, Mai Takano. Mai, who seems to know something about the videotape, tells Ando about the curse but is unsure how Ryuji died. As a scientist, Ando laughs at Mai's explanation. He goes to talk to Kazuyuki but finds that he and his family were involved in a car accident. It is discovered that Kazuyuki's wife and child were dead before the crash. Kazuyuki is critically wounded and unable to talk. At the accident site there lies a crushed videotape. When Mai suddenly disappears, Ando is further motivated to investigate. He stumbles upon Ryuji's files which contain the title, THE RING. He is uncertain about the discovery because it contains supernatural explanations and contradicts scientific ones.

The virus mutated and uses the report as a medium. After reading the report, Ando has thoughts of Sadako and the well. Through a series of events, he is led to the well in Hakone.

Days after Mai's disappearance, he meets a beautiful woman named Masako who introduced herself as Mai's older sister. He falls in love with her. In doing so, they make love one night and Masako ends up pregnant. Later he finds out that Masako and Sadako are the same. One night he receives a letter from Sadako/Masako stating; "Don't ever disobey me because you don't know who you are dealing with." Ando chooses Sadako and is told to publish Ryuji's files and dominate the world.

Loop[edit]

Main article: Loop (novel)

This story involves a medical student named Kaoru Futami whose father has contracted a deadly disease called Metastatic Human Cancer(MHC), a cancer involving both animals and plants. Then, he discovered that his father was involved a massive supercomputer project named LOOP. The LOOP was a computer simulation on the emergence of life but still unable to simulate such thing. It is known that everyone who was involved in the LOOP have died with the same cancer.

In the course of events, he met a woman named Reiko and he fell in love for her. They slept together and Reiko became pregnant, which made Reiko vulnerable to MHC. Kaoru continued in his investigations which led him to a man (and the last surviving person involved in the LOOP) named Amano. Amano revealed to him that LOOP was a project involving a hundred supercomputers strung together and aimed to recreate life. Amano told Kaoru of a lab in New Mexico where another scientist might be alive. Kaoru ventured only to find the scientist dead. Then, he went in lab and found a pair of virtual reality goggles and gloves. He tried it and minutes later, he is in the LOOP.

In the loop, he saw everything but one event intrigued him, the emergence of Ring Virus. There in the LOOP, he saw complete details of the events in the previous novels in different angles. After some discussion with Amano, he knew that the LOOP's creator wanted to recreate Ryuji's death and by doing that, he could clone him and insert into someone's womb. But what they made was a cloned Ryuji with the Ring Virus in him. When Ryuji was born, the virus escaped and mutated.

Desperate to find a cure for MHC, he ventured only to encounter a storm and leave him dying. Then, he was saved by an old man named Cristoph Eliot, the leader of the LOOP project. After revealing him the truth, it turned out that Kaoru was Ryuji's clone. Because of that, Kaoru has an exceptional gift, immunity to MHC.

In order to know what made Kaoru immune, he had to be analyzed. An analysis machine was created. The bad side, though, was that the analyzed object must be molecularized, meaning that Kaoru could die. As a hero, he agreed.

After that, the old man transferred Kaoru's analyzed molecules in the LOOP. He promised that his wife could see him through the VR Goggles and Reiko won't be alone. In the LOOP, Kaoru is reborn through Sadako as Ryuji. He creates a vaccine for the Ring virus, in which he gives to Ando, reenacting the epilogue of Spiral. The book ends with Kaoru/Ryuji sitting watching the stars, thinking that Reiko is watching over him.

The Birthday[edit]

It is an anthology consisting of stories related to the Ringu novels. It is also the conclusion to the Ring series.

Floating Coffin – This covers the final moments of Mai Takano's life within the premises of Spiral.

It begans when she watches the tape. She starts ovulating then and Sadako's DNA is impregnated into Mai's eggs. After viewing the tape, she feels nausea. Unknown to her, Sadako is being conceived in her womb. Days later, Sadako has total control of Mai, since she lacks the will to resist Sadako. Exactly seven days after viewing the tape, Mai gives birth to a baby Sadako. When Sadako is reborn, she kills Mai with her psychic powers.

Lemonheart – The second story of the anthology, and tells the story of Sadako when she was 19 years old in Tokyo. These events happened 30 years prior to the Ring.

When Sadako graduated from high school, she joined the Hiroshi Acting Troupe as an apprentice. As days go by, she falls in love with Toyama, the soundman. One time, she is caught doing nensha with a turned-off TV. This alienates her from the group. While Sadako and Toyama are intimate, a spiteful member of the troupe records their conversation. When the member plays the recording, everyone who heard it died five days later. Because of these events, Sadako flees to Hakone to her father, who is in the hospital.

While standing at the well, a doctor attempts to rape her but she defends herself, with a psychic attack on the doctor. The doctor retaliates by strangling Sadako, which incapacitates her power. Since she is helpless, she is thrown into well. Before dying, she has a vision of being reborn inside Mai Takano's womb, which occurs in the first story.

Happy Birthday – The final story of the anthology. It further develops the storyline of the last novel, Loop, while incorporating new information disclosed in the previous two short stories. It depicts the last events taking place in the Ring universe chronologically, and is also the conclusion of the series.

At this point, Reiko questions of giving birth to a child if the only world he'll arrive is death, with his son lost and the father of her unborn child still missing. There she goes to a lab and learn the final secrets of the LOOP.

S (エス)[edit]

Main article: S (novel)

S (エス) is a 2012 Koji Suzuki novel and a part of the series.

Derivations[edit]

The cursed videotape and its descendants have become a staple of horror, as have the girl coming out of the television and its descendants.

The 2003 film Scary Movie 3 significantly parodies the American remake film The Ring.

The 2013 season 5 episode of Castle, "Scared to Death", contains a haunted DVD so scary that it kills people 3 days after they watch it.[1][2] The episode makes a direct comparison between the curse and The Ring.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ TV.com, "Scared to Death"
  2. ^ BroadwayWorld.com, "VIDEO: Sneak Peek - 'Scared to Death' On the Next CASTLE", 15 March 2013
  3. ^ Castle episode "Scared to Death", airdate March 18, 2013

External links[edit]

  • (Japanese) Loopkai Project
  • the Ring AREA - Contains the cursed videos of the Ring cycle and their scene-by-scene analyses, as well as lots of other useful information.
  • Vertical Inc. - Publisher of English translations of the Ring novels.