Sadako-san and Sadako-chan is a cute horror manga with a similar tone to Sadako at the End of the World. However, both have different authors and publishers. Sadako-san is released by Seven Seas Entertainment, with story and art by Aya Tsutsumi. As they have similar concepts but are separate storylines, there is no chronological order and you can read them in whatever sequence you choose.

While Sadako is going about her rounds to curse victims, she encounters a young girl who is also named Sadako. Sadako-chan is eager to help Sadako-san adapt to the modern era. Why use TV’s when no one watches them anymore? It’s all about online videos! The two of them decide to work together and start a new channel.

Like in Sadako at the End of the World, this story is more substantial and balanced than it initially appears. It could easily have turned into a parody and left it at that, but Sadako-san strives to include the lore and details that Ringu fans appreciate. Many references to the recent Sadako (2019) film are included (which is based on the Tide novel by Koji Suzuki). While not necessary to understand the novel, I felt like having watched that greatly enhanced my enjoyment.

Initially driving Sadako-san’s decisions is the goal to acquire more victims.  With Sadako-chan’s dark past, she’s just happy for a friend and a distraction. The two complement each other effortlessly, with both empathy and a disparate age gap that make for the ideal reverse mentorship.

The comedic tone used throughout is gold.  While not a typical horror manga, it is still rare for one to laugh so often while reading. Yet the way that the humor is used, with such honesty and authenticity, truly works. Would you ever think you’d see Sadako-san attempt the high-energy personality of a youtuber in order to curse more people? It’s absolutely priceless.

Nonetheless, even small acts like that have a balance to them. Sadako-san cannot speak, so she has to use up massive amounts of psychic energy to both imprint her voice telepathically and curse the viewers at the same time, leaving her quickly exhausted. Such rules keep the paradigm of Ringu grounded and reigned in, true to the source material rather than escalated into a true parody. That delicate balance is one of the primary features which has made both manga the most enjoyable for me. They feel like reading something written by nerds for nerds like myself. Every time I think I’m going to catch them, they recover or anticipate it before I can. It is incredibly satisfying.

The artwork is largely simplified, but in a way that leaves room to contrast with higher detail when called for. It is an effective application that enhances the story and scares nicely. Sadako-san still has her long hair and creepy eye, with her signature white dress and damaged fingers. Sadako-chan is a cute young girl, still living. Both are styled accurately and expressively.

Light-hearted and fun, Sadako-san and Sadako-chan is another glimpse into an alternate Ring universe that is sure to be enjoyed by many fans. It adds layers to the existing zeitgeist, while offering a relaxing breath during our current stressful climate. If you’d love to see a modern, hilarious take on Sadako, don’t miss picking this one up from Seven Seas Entertainment.

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