Junji Ito is both brilliant and disgusting. I’d had meant to write about this a while back but between my personal computer dying with a frightening knock sound and long awaited exams (only delayed by a month) I had to put it off.
While my friends were faced with the horrors of parroting behaviorists who were convinced the mind didn’t really exist (you’d be inclined to agree after reading their mindless ideas) I was enjoying Ito’s work. I no longer have access to those chapters but I think simply recounting his stories should work well enough.
Ito writes short horror manga that’s unlike anything else out there. It’s not particularity scary and the body horror isn’t enough to make you turn away. Most people I’ve convinced to read him end up giving me a look of concern and get to repressing the stories from conscious memory.
Ito’s Japanese background might help, there’s an Asian sensibility that I’m never able to put my finger on. But what really makes his work click is that uncanny sense of familiarity. There’s something about his stories that seems to echo an almost conversational recollection of horrors, ghosts and monstrosities. Relatable cultural taboos, settings and moralistic implications that I could see coming from so many people I know. He writes horror simple, weird and relatable.
There’s one story that features a demon that seduces houses. Another has a time traveling bird demon that feeds lost mountaineers but then never decides to stop helping, visiting them everyday for a force-fed meal of human flesh. One has a fortune teller behead an unfaithful boyfriend with a single strand of hair. He won’t die till he lets his head drop of course, so she forces cockroaches down the gap to get him to let go. My favorite involves a man who develops a fetish for living- yes living- secretly inside peoples chairs.
The most wholesome I’ve seen him is a story where it turns out half the people in it are actually dead and one where a abused social worker comes back as a vengeful spirit and helps a neurotic young girl overcome her anxiety by killing her ex boyfriend.
If you’ve got the stomach and a little time for some weird, uncomfortable horror try starting with the Enigma of Agigara Fault- .