Junji Ito has proven himself to be one of the greatest masters of horror not just in the worlds of anime and manga, but perhaps in the world period and what better time to catch up on some of his most terrifying work than now? We compiled a list of some of his creepiest works and assembled them to give you some spooky reading should you be looking for ways to pass the time! Be warned, these stories are gorey, not safe for work, and most definitely some of the most unnerving stories on the market today!
Ito's strengths lie not only in his ability to create detailed art work that brings the horror of his ideas to the page but his ability to blend the insanely supernatural with that of the mundane world, making readers believe that they could be one step away from having something similar happen to them!
The Enigma Of Amigara Fault
One of the most "meme'd" stories of Junji Ito's has to be The Enigma of Amigara Fault, and while this scene is certainly hilarious out of context, its meaning to the story is far more disturbing when the bits and pieces of the tale are laid out for the reader. One day, a mountain is discovered that has human sized holes in the side of it, with each of these being made specifically for one person. The mountain itself has a power over people and should one encounter it, they will wrestle with finding their hole and entering it.
As the hole moves further into the mountain, the person moving within it becomes more and more unable to go back until they only have the choice of moving forward. Of course, what happens when they leave the mountain is only part of what makes this story so creepy. The Enigma of Amigara Fault is really a horror story unlike anything else out there, blending the idea of claustrophobia and a fear of the unknown into a devilishly perverse tale.
One of Junji Ito's most well known story arrives in the form of Gyo, a tale that follows a young couple as they encounter a village that is seemingly besieged by aquatic life that is storming the mainland with spider-like legs attached to their bodies. While the plague of fish is first seen as being harmless, when killer sharks, octopii, and millions of fish start pouring out of the oceans, humanity begins to realize that our days may be numbered.
Gyo shows off Junji Ito's talents of drawing creatures that we never thought possible to imagine, and the escalation of the nefarious ocean dwellers continues ratcheting up the tension as the protagonists find they have far more to worry about than simply sharks and squids descending on the city. Gyo also received an animated film, but if you want to experience this story, definitely read it in its original manga format.
Uzumaki is most likely the most well known of Junji Ito's works, telling the tale of a town that is obsessed with spirals. On the surface, this might not seem like the scariest of ideas, but under the pen of Ito, the tale of this cursed town becomes one with images that you won't forget seeing any time soon. With Junji making the full use of the premise by introducing spiral obsessed madmen, students being transformed into snails, zombies that are spring loaded to burst from their graves, and other such terrors, it's easy to see why it has stuck with audiences for so long!
While the property has received a live action feature length film, the story will be returning with an anime adaptation thanks to the folks at Production IG and Adult Swim! Based on the trailer, we're certainly looking at a terrifying new interpretation of the manga!
No Longer Human
No Longer Human is one of the most recent works by Junji Ito, adapting the novel of the same name that follows the haunted story of Oba Yozo that was written by famous author Osamu Dazai. Ito's choosing of adapting this story under his pen makes total sense when you understand the apparitions and context that are strewn throughout. Our protagonist is not a good person, continually making decisions that cause others to suffer as he tries to find his way as an artist while falling deeper into a life of womanizing and drink.
When I had finished No Longer Human, I felt haunted for days, not simply due to Ito's ability to create some of the most terrifying apparitions in manga history, but due to the disturbing nature of the story itself and the history of just why Yozo wrote it in the first place. It's a masterpiece of horror that should be at the top of every manga reader's list.
The Hanging Balloons0comments
What is easily one of the most bizarre and creepiest stories from Junji Ito is his short tale dubbed "The Hanging Balloons". After a girl is found after hanging herself, a curse descends upon the town that causes each person to be under siege from large floating heads of themselves with nooses protruding from beneath them. With the characters realizing there is nothing they can do, they simply try to escape their fates from these Lovecraftian monstrosities that are unlike anything we've ever seen.
Ito takes concepts unlike anything else that has been made and creates stories that will definitely haunt your nightmares.