Spiral (Suzuki novel)
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Cover of the first American print edition by Vertical, Inc.
|Original title||Spiral (らせん? Rasen)|
|Cover artist||Chip Kidd|
|Publisher||Kadokawa Shoten, Vertical, Inc.|
Published in English
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
Spiral (らせん? Rasen) is a 1995 Japanese novel, a part of author Koji Suzuki's Ring series. It is the second in the Ring series, and a film based on the book, Rasen was released in 1998. The English translation of the book was published by Vertical Press in the United States and by Harper Collins in Britain.
The events in the story occur a day after the events of the first book. It introduces Ando Mitsuo, a coroner still struggling with his son's death, being assigned to do the autopsy of his old classmate, Ryūji Takayama. He and his colleague, Miyashita, find a tumor in Ryūji's heart, which is believed to be his cause of death. Puzzled as the tumor appears similar to smallpox (which was eradicated 30 years ago), Ando completes the autopsy and, upon finding newspaper poking through a suture, is reminded of Ryūji's cryptography hobby. Finding the newspaper numbers interesting, he decodes them and finds they spell "RING", perplexing Ando.
In search for the message's meaning, Ando soon meets Ryūji's assistant and lover, Mai Takano. Mentioning a videotape Ryūji watched before dying, Mai believes it is connected to his death through a curse. Learning of Kazuyuki Asakawa, Ryūji's friend and the protagonist of Ring, Ando considers speaking to him, only to learn Asakawa and his family were involved in a car accident. Finding Asakawa is the sole survivor and catatonic, Ando investigates relevant evidence and learns Asakawa's wife and child were dead well before the car crashed, and that a tape recorder and word processor were in the vehicle.
Trying to reach Mai, Ando finds her missing and investigates her seemingly abandoned condo; he finds what he believes to be a copy of the supposedly cursed videotape, albeit almost entirely recorded over, and believes an unknown entity is hiding somewhere in the condo. Learning Asakawa's tape deck and word processor went to his next of kin, Ando retrieves the word processor from his brother and copies the files.
Finding a document about the videotape, Ando reads that the curse spreads through a tape and can only be stopped by copying and sharing it with someone else; despite disputing the files as pseudoscientific, Ando and Miyashita continue reading into the file, and discover that the Ring Virus started with the murder of psychic Sadako Yamamura. Additionally, Miyashita soon discovers a virus connects all the victims and comes in two forms: a ring shaped virus which kills the host, and a broken version of the same virus (similar to a sperm cell) which is dormant.
A week after Mai's disappearance, her corpse is found in the ventilation shaft of a barely used office building. Additionally, despite having given no physical indication that she was pregnant, Mai's corpse shows signs she gave birth prior to her death. Upon visiting the crime scene, Ando meets a beautiful woman named Masako who introduces herself as Mai's older sister. After having sex with Masako, Ando later receives a fax containing information on Sadako from Miyashita, only to realize Masako is identical to Sadako.
Believing that Masako is Sadako reborn, Ando receives a note from her explaining that Mai Takano was infected with the second "sperm" ring virus which targeted her womb; this allowed Sadako to conceive herself within Mai and control her, before birthing herself within a week and disposing of Mai's corpse. Also revealing the Ring Virus can also spread through literary descriptions, Sadako has ensured Asakawa's brother is able to publish a book on Kazuyuki's files, allowing the virus to spread internationally. She then concludes that Ando is infected with the dormant virus and, should he interfere in any way, she will activate it and kill him; conversely, in exchange for Ando's co-operation, Sadako will resurrect Ando's dead son, Takanori.
Finally learning Ryūji worked with Sadako to ensure her resurrection, Ando realizes Ryūji deliberately influenced himself and Mai Takano. By supernaturally causing the paper code to appear to Ando and making Mai watch the tape when she was most fertile, Ryūji was the mastermind behind the plan, doing so to be spared and revived by Sadako. An epilogue shows Ando playing with his son, Takanori, on the beach, whereupon Ryūji arrives and implies he acted for the greater good.
A movie adaptation was released in 1998 called Rasen which was based on the book (Not to be mistaken with Ring 2). It was poorly received and later another sequel to Ring was made, Ring 2. A 13 episode TV drama was broadcast in 1999 on Fuji Television.