Junji Ito is one of the most recognizable names in manga as his stories have some of the oddest imagery and most imaginative twists and turns. The prolific horror creator is still coming up with unique ideas to this day, and fans have often wondered how he actually can still come up with so many ideas that are completely different from one another. Despite working for so many years, has the creative process behind his work changed? Ito recently opened up to ComicBook.com about it during Crunchyroll Expo 2019, and detailed how the core of his process has remained relatively the same over the years.
As Ito explained about his process, "It really hasn't changed. I basically jot down ideas all the time and when I finally sit down to create a story, I look for ideas from my notebook that I can use and then try to see what kind of story I can write in order to bring out the full potential of that idea. This step includes a lot of trial and error as I try to expand on the story."
Elaborating further, Ito explained how this approach usually works out better for him, "The ideas could be a drawing of a climax, something confusing, or a vague feeling. There are various kinds of ideas, but it's always difficult to mold those into a story. Whenever I have a definite image, making the story becomes easier and they usually turn out the best."
Ito mentioned how if he strays too far from this process, it doesn't work out for the best, "This is the approach that I've always taken and whenever I stray from it, things don't turn out really well. For example, I can't use the method where you create a character first and then build a story around them. The method where I come up with an idea first and then fit characters into that idea seems to work best for me."
The steadiness of Ito's process is why the creator is still being recognized for his work to this day. In fact, recent years have increased the scope of that recognition as many of his works are getting brand new adaptations. Not only is Adult Swim producing an anime mini-series based on his prolific work Uzumaki, but last year saw a few of his short stories being adapted into the Junji Ito Collection anthology anime series, and soon Tomie will be getting a live-action adaptation from The Hills Have Eyes director Alexandre Aja.