Month: May 2019

  • 📂

    Futon

    Futon is the first, and shortest, story in the Fragments of Horror Collection. It centers around a man who refuses to come out from under his blanket, for fear of the invisible spirits around him.

    What is Futon about?

    This is a very short Horror Manga story. It shows a young couple who live in a small apartment together. The Husband, Tomio, refuses to come out from under his blanket on his futon. The Futon is his bed.

    He warns his wife of what he calls the “Dark Nature Spirits” in the room. She believes none of it until she actually gets a similar experience for herself.

    But are these visions simply a manifestation of some extreme anxiety that Tomio is experiencing? Or are they as literal as he makes them out to be?

    Short and Sweet

    The story is very much to the point, yet no less charming than Ito’s other tales. Futon doesn’t try to fill out unneeded pages just to increase the count. Junji Ito has created a short horror story and isn’t afraid to just let it be what it is.

    I absolutely love the big ceiling reveal that shows the monsters that Tomio is convinced he is seeing. The detail in that double-page spread is so great and a testament to Ito’s gorgeous horror style.

    I was fine too with the vague back story that Tomio gives to his wife about the apparent witch. Some eerie tales can stand up for their strangeness alone, without the need for a comprehensive explanation. I think Futon is one such story.

    In Summary

    Despite it’s super short length at just eight pages, this is one of the Stories by the legendary Horror Mangaka that I remember more often. That double page spread is one that lives in my memory as vivid as the page itself.

    I just hope I never get to see such visions off the page.


  • 📂

    Honoured Ancestors

    Honouring the memory of one’s ancestors is something that most people try to do – at least I like to think so. So it seems fitting that in Honoured Ancestors, Junji Ito should take this very human trait and turn the dial up to “weird” and give us a flesh and blood representation of ancestry.

    What is Honoured Ancestors about?

    We join a young couple as the boy, Makita, is walking his girlfriend Risa back to her house. Risa has recently lost her memory and nobody can work out how. She then begins to get increasing anxiety, along with nightmares of a giant caterpillar invading her bedroom at night.

    Perhaps something in her lost memories can give a clue as to the origin of these disturbing visions?

    Makita seems almost happy that Risa has lost her memory because, as he puts it, they can experience all of the “first times” they had together once again. One such “first time” that they relive is them both going round to Makita’s home, where he lives with his sick father. However, upon meeting the father, thoughts and feelings begin to stir within her.

    It is in this house where the mystery of her lost memories will be unravelled. And there will be one such “first time” that she will wish would never happen again.

    Head to head with the past

    In the author’s notes for this story, Ito explains how he saw the big reveal of this story in his mind before any of characters or plot came to him. This is a very interesting way of working, starting with the imagery and working back from there, and I wonder how many other stories of his began this way.

    Honoured Ancestors is one of those stories that has so much more going on underneath its surface than what we see. We are shown the current generation of the family, Makita, along with the end of his father’s life. But what about the many ancestors that came before? How did they all trick their partners into marriage and carrying on this family line in such a twisted way?

    I really enjoy how many of Ito’s stories like this one trigger these thoughts in me. I love wondering about events that happened so completely out of the scope of the current story, yet would still have had an effect on the story’s world.

    In Summary

    I enjoy this story a lot. While not being a favourite of mine, it still holds a high place for me. I find myself imagining the lives of those ancestors and just how they came to begin the connection to their past in this way.

    You should definitely pick up Junji Ito’s Shiver Collection and read this story – see what thoughts it sparks in your own imagination.


  • 📂

    Fashion Model : Cursed Frame

    Ever since I was little, I’ve been afraid of having my picture taken. Or more precisely, of my body being fragmented by photos.

    Amy is a fresh young model with a strange phobia — Fashion Model: Cursed Frame

    In this bonus story from his Shiver collection, Junji Ito delivers an incredible depiction of a woman’s strange fear made flesh. And in the most iconic of ways too. One of the things about Junji Ito that is so great, is his big reveals that he often gives us. More often than not I don’t expect them. However, in hindsight they seem to be the only logical outcome.

    Logical in Ito’s world at least.

    What is Fashion Model Cursed Frame about?

    In Fashion Model: Cursed Frame, we are reunited with a favourite amongst Ito’s Characters – Fuchi. Fuchi is the shark-toothed, seven-foot-tall fashion model with a taste for human flesh.

    The modelling industry in Junji Ito’s world is very cut-throat indeed.

    Amy is a new model on the scene, who agrees to work for a company on a single condition – that they only ever photograph her full body. Never head or body shots. The idea of having parts of her body missing from photographs completely freaks her out.

    It is the kind of fear that feels right at home in Junji Ito’s world. And I could just tell it wasn’t going to end well for her.

    But how will Amy cope in a profession where people don’t stick to their word. An industry that is often depicted as being ruthless and super-competitive. Not to mention the demonic Fuchi lurking about; on the prowl within those choppy waters of the fashion world.

    In Summary

    Cursed Frame is only seven pages long and comes as a bonus in the back of the Junji Ito Shiver Collection. But despite its short length, it packs so much into those pages in a concise, and suitably violent way.

    I was really impressed at how he gave us a character with a very specific fear – and one I’d never heard of before either – and managed to bring her story full circle to face that fear head on. I thought Fuchi was an excellent conduit for the idea too – her presence alone brings a sense of dread and foreboding.

    I really wish Fuchi was more of a long-standing character – she’s so much fun to watch.