Ring by Koji Suzuki 

I'm up to the point where the main character has watched the tape. One thing that's stuck out to me is the apparent contrast between the young, modern and Western and the old, traditional and Japanese. There's a lot of mention of Japanese-style rooms and Western-style rooms.

Ring by Koji Suzuki 

This is presumably a translation of more ordinary terms in Japanese that don't stand out as much, so they're probably don't make themselves felt as much in the original text, but they are used a lot and I feel like there's deliberate contrasts. One of the girls who died after watching the tape has a Western-style bedroom, her parents have a Japanese-style one. She also died while drinking Coke.

Ring by Koji Suzuki 

The schoolkids who died watched the tape at a cabin in a brand new holiday resort where they rent tapes to guests, pretty much all of them American sci-fi or horror movies. These kinds of contrasts definitely stand out to me in a story that's about a piece of modern technology (VHS tapes, it was written in 1990) becoming the means of transmitting a curse. I wonder when Sadako comes more into the plot if her life reflect this theme as well.

Ring by Koji Suzuki 

Other thoughts: The main character, Asakawa, a journalist who's a little bit more inclined to believe in the occult than his editor is, makes some strange leaps in logic. His attempt at a scientific explanation of how four teenagers simultaneously died of a heart attack is that they all contracted a brand new type of virus. That arrived on Earth by meteor impact.

Ring by Koji Suzuki 

He thinks people are scared of things either by evolutionary response or they're taught to be afraid of them. His small daughter was not frightened of seeing a Godzilla statue but was scared of a demon mask. Therefore there must be an evolutionary reason to be afraid of demons.

Ring by Koji Suzuki 

One bit I liked was that when he was driving out to the cabin where the kids watched the tape he was imagining some old, run-down scene out of Friday the 13th (Friday the 13th gets mentioned a few times) but the place is brand new, built less than a year ago, full of modcons.

Ring by Koji Suzuki 

Also, unlike the more famous adaptations, there's a bit at the end of the tape stating that there is a way to avoid dying of the curse as long as you follow the following instructions. The teenagers who watched the tape before have taped over the instructions with an advert.

Ring by Koji Suzuki 

That tension between the old and new doesn't become too central to the plot but I feel it never fully goes away either. Sadako is from Izu Oshima island and spends her life between there and the mainland in Toyko, which never treats her well. Her mother is from there as well and had her own psychic powers, which seemed to manifest after she restored a Buddhist shrine that was desecrated by occupying American troops after the Second World War.

Ring by Koji Suzuki 

The central idea of the book is strong: The curse as a memetic virus, carried by the tape that doesn't just want to kill, but to spread. Ideas are compared to something something half alive, like a virus, and the theory of viruses as rogue, broken pieces of DNA is brought up.

Ring by Koji Suzuki 

The word meme is never used but it's absence is felt. It also sticks the landing very well. Strong ending. Same fake-out happy ending as the films, with only two short chapters at the end where everything unravels and the main character realises what was really happening.

Ring by Koji Suzuki 

The last scene is not him but actually making the new copies of of the tape with his family, but driving out to them, weighing the consequences of doing so. If he spreads the tape he expects the consequences to be nothing short of apocalyptic. All he has to do to stop it is destroy both copies of the tape and let his wife and daughter die, which he is not going to do. The climax is almost entirely mental which a novel allows you to do more easily than a film.

Ring by Koji Suzuki 

That bad part is mostly Ryuji Takayama, a complete stupid edgelord who is a pain to have to read about constantly. I can express how much of a worthless character he is and adaptations generally (correctly) leave out the stuff about him that makes him unbearable.

Ring by Koji Suzuki 

I thought there was going to be more hunting down the victims of the tape involved but within in the plot the Asakawa is only the fifth person to have ever seen it. I guess that's to keep his final choice more meaningful. He is completely capable of stopping any further spread.

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Ring by Koji Suzuki 

Also Cinnabar Island is based on Izu Oshima so Sadako Yamamura and Mewtwo are from the same place.

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Ring by Koji Suzuki 

@cailleach well, that's an ending to this thread I definitely didn't see coming

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