No matter how many of his stories turn out to be metaphysical or strangely absurd, many of them hit a little too close to home for the viewer. The extreme horrors that Junji inflicts on his often innocent or only slightly worthy characters can be traced and serve as startlingly shocking metaphors for the struggles , fears and phenomena in real life.
Like the majority of Junji’s stories, all of the entries on this list are taken from his shorter, separate stories, as opposed to Junji’s numerous adventures with established characters. His more famous names include girly Tomie, delinquent Souichi and world-hopping Oshikiri. . Likewise, each of them has received an anime adaptation in Crunchyroll’s Junji Ito Collection or Netflix’s Junji Ito Maniac: Japan Tales of the Macabre.
10 “Hanging Balloons”
Living in Japan, it is understandable and expected that Junji Ito would feel compelled to satirize or manipulate the real-life social structures and belief systems of his homeland. Some of his stories seem to deal with inherent traditions and value systems that even Westerners are aware of, such as “Honored Ancestors” and “A Gentle Goodbye” explores the extent to which deceased family members are honored in Japanese culture.
While the latter is strangely more moving, the obvious pain and guilt associated with the themes that “Hanging Balloons” naturally tackles increases the overall impact on the viewer. It’s also easier to understand because unfortunately every culture touches on the episode’s theme. Apparently based on Junji’s dream as a child, its depiction seems satirical about how these and other tragedies are almost glorified, they cannot escape and will eventually rob taking people’s lives, as well as the alarming frequency with which they appear to be happening. happens everywhere you look.
9 “The Boy at the Crossroads”
Although this story is clearly a retelling of the macabre Japanese game Tsuji-Ura, the episode’s implied allegory turns its exploration of Japanese folklore into a more universal warning about human nature. An alarming number of people bet too much on the fortune telling of strangers to leave everything to fate or to justify their deepest desires. Incorporating the vain expression of “Handsome Guy” is just an embellishment to confuse the real lesson that seeking answers from people who don’t know you can lead to disastrous results.
8 “Town of Tombs”
This story has many similarities to one of the most recognizable horror stories, Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart,” which explores a phenomenon in which a murderer can be chained about mental aspect to the murder victim to the point where they can turn themselves in after being inside. clarity. “Tomb Town” turns the auditory illusion of the “beating heart” in Poe’s story into a literal phenomenon, manifesting in the physical world so profoundly that it is impossible to miss. Junji’s ostensible reinterpretation of “The Tell-Tale Heart” creates the image that some murders are so clear that they can take the form of giant graves right where the victims died.
The main plot in this short focuses on the discomfort and paranoia involved in leaving one’s home in the care of someone you don’t trust, but the eponymous stereotype and its effects on the characters Different objects can represent great control over the above-mentioned related situation. The fate that the owner of the house eventually meets, and the fact that he is unable to leave his house despite its increasingly alarming state of decay creates the impression that Junji Ito is trying to illustrate the unbreakable bond that one’s home can have on a person to the extent that they may choose to stay even though doing so would have a detrimental effect on their life. Anyone who has had to leave their childhood home can understand this feeling well.
6 “Long Dream”
Through a metaphysical exploration of reality and perception through dreams that alter the mind while affecting the body, “The Long Dream” feels similar to “Mold,” except that the obsession is not healthy will become one’s dream. Similar to how a person can be chained in their home, this can also happen to a person’s dreams if the dreamer is haunted by what they may represent or mean.
Instead of getting lost in explaining what they might represent, the tormented protagonist is actually trapped inside them and lives there for years. Although the dreams appear to exist normally in the real world, the man’s physical body turns to dust in proportion to the passage of time in his dreams.
5 “Towns without roads”
This is simply a terrifying exaggeration of today’s culture that encourages and glorifies the act of making too much of one’s life public whether through social media or some other means. In this strange land, the concept of privacy is non-existent – including in the most private and private places, showing just how extreme such a lifestyle can look. The most troubling moments depicting a nuclear family’s adoption of such a lifestyle are as twisted as voyeurism and capture even those who initially resist eventually succumbing to the most demeaning aspects of public life.
4 “Hell Doll Funeral”
As one of Junji Ito’s short stories, adapting this episode on Crunchyroll would in any respect be a grave mistake as it explores the inexplicable tragedy of the parents who met the terrible misfortune of losing a child. In this case, these parents cannot let go and ruin the more desirable outcome of such a challenge, i.e. exploring the negative effects that this failure can have on the child. parents. Given how horribly physically disfigured the deceased child of these parents is, viewers are forced to imagine the possibility that becoming enslaved to the memories of a lost child could turning one’s life into something terrible and unrecognizable. “The Thing That Drifted Ashore” by Junji Ito Maniac deals with a similar theme except with any loved ones.
3 “Terrorist class”
The addition of this story to Junji Ito’s Netflix series proves that any story involving children can be too disturbing for viewers if they have children of their own. Here, the child is lucky to still be alive, but instead of the parents having to grapple with the loss of a life like in Junji Ito Collection’s “Hell Doll Funeral,” this episode deals with the loss of life. of their child’s childhood years while addressing a parent’s common desire to go back in time to when their beloved child was a precious baby. Of course, Ito offers this mother the opportunity to do so through supernatural means, but of course, the process is extremely disturbing and does not end as she expected. The additional twist at the end even introduces another similar move except it involves the mother’s desire to turn back time for herself.
“The Bully” is one of the few strange exceptions in that Ito does not incorporate any other mundane elements into the story. However, the episodes are quite fantastical as they imply a complex plot that requires decades to fully realize a character’s revenge on a girl who bullied him. While the true villain of the story is punished, she unfortunately takes out her frustration and anger on her own child in a now disgusting display of mental and physical abuse. has passed through many generations. Although the events were harsh, this type of bullying is unfortunately common in society.
1 “Long hair in the attic”
This is certainly one of the more haunting and poetic interpretations of an unfortunate real-life situation that too many people have had to deal with. In this collection, Junji Ito masterfully explores the iconic expression of Chiemi’s hair first literally and then supernaturally with one of his most iconic twists that. Her hair first symbolized the way Chiemi’s boyfriend manipulated her, so when she decided to cut it after the breakup, she made a bold move to move on because she could immediately That means seeing change happen. and that’s something she can control.
Ito then adds supernatural flavor to literally turn this feel-good message on its head, as the hair not only grows back but also kills her by decapitation, proving that not all Only great people like this succeed. This is Junji add another layer by wearing the same hair that Chiemi’s boyfriend manipulated her into and killed him with. This can be explained in many ways, including guilt over how his ex-girlfriend’s death literally killed him, even though he was portrayed as a monster carefree. Regardless, it’s an incredible use of poetic justice embellished by many other interpretations of the meaning of Chiemi’s hair.
This is Junji The collection is streaming on Crunchyroll and This is Junji Maniac: Japanese Scary Stories is streaming on Netlfix.