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Top Five Junji Ito Stories

The Japanese body horror manga-ka that inspires and gives nightmares

By Samantha ParrishPublished 3 years ago Updated 10 months ago 4 min read
Warping the wonders of the horrors

Junji Ito is hailed as one of the innovators for different takes on the idea of horror. He had made several stories over the last thirty years to present the abnormal ways anyone or anything can be a threat. From grease, balloons, or a shape. He's been the one to change our viewpoint on an average item or routine. And keep our lights on at night. My list will be ten of the stories that have changed my perspective as well as what still shakes me to my core. This list will not have what I believe is the scariest to downgrade other stories he's done. It's an equal list of eerie.

1. Uzumaki

It would be a crime if I didn't mention his three-story epic about a town being cursed by a shape. This is the story that went on to inspire the 2006 movie Slither. The movie did not meet expectations but it shows the inspiration the writers took from Ito's story of a town takeover by terror. The idea of a shape being a threat to the small town of Kurozu-Cho, it's not what you would think to be the cursed mind. Ito takes the idea of a geometric shape slowly working its way both physically and psychologically. It's a wild ride to read, just keep in mind to not eat cinnamon rolls while reading this. Best not to eat something similar to the content of the story.

2. Hellstar Remina

A small installment was similar to Uzumaki with the idea of an unfathomable threat that no one sees coming. In this chilling story, the idea is a newly discovered planet is a threat. This planet was discovered by an astrologist, who decided to name this discovery the solar system after his daughter. However, this discovery of new life brings death and destruction to the citizens of earth. In movies like Independence Day, We've seen the demise of what could happen from an unknown threat that lurks beyond our solar system. The idea that an unknown planet will be the downfall of the citizens, to drive them to insanity, the way of life changes in an instant. The story is an homage to the ideas that H.P. Lovecraft brought to the readers for what cosmic horrors lurk beyond our knowledge of what we believed and still want to believe for our comfort.

3. Army Of One

This is a personal favorite of mine, as a crime junkie, it was interesting to see a serial killer story from Junji Ito. The first couple of pages looks like something you would see in Criminal Minds. On the first page, you see a couple found in the river, embracing each other, dead, and stitched together. The main protagonist we follow through this fear factor is a young man who lives his life as a hermit, with no desire to have relationships or contact on the outside. As the story progresses the bodies only pile up to bring the society to a question themselves? Is safety really in numbers as the stitched bodies begin to multiply grotesquely?

4. Hanging Balloons

The idea of the fascination with celebrities has its commentary with a touch of bizarre horror in this story. After a local celebrity commits suicide, the finger gets pointed at the idol's boyfriend. As rumors circulate that the idol has been seen in various places. The friend of the dead celebrity finds the truth of this curse and comes over to this town. This story makes Pennywise look like Sesame Street. Not many stories have a celebrity twist to horror, the commentary of the obsession we have with the death of a celebrity we haven't met is accurate to point the finger at someone else and then accept the truth. Just like when Nirvana's front-man, Kurt Cobain committed suicide and there is still no acceptance of his fate. The poor citizens in this story should have just left the rumors alone. This story makes you think twice about the celebrities we worship.

5. The Human Chair

Writers are a common factor of fear as a target for horror. Secret Window, Misery, 1408, etc. But the idea of an admirer being closer than we think. The poor writer in this story became fascinated and obsessed. The ultimate stalker story of how far someone will go to observe the observer.

As Junji Ito's Uzumaki is receiving a 2020 remake. I encourage those for a treat of horror to read my recommended stories for a small taste of terror. These will keep you up at night and rethink what you used to see as normal to alter your perception. You will look over your shoulder and become paranoid about something that isn't real, but Junji Ito can make that change to rethink your reality.

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Samantha Parrish

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