Over the summer I’ve made it a point to catch up on my Junji Ito collection. For the uninitiated, Junji Ito is a Japanese horror manga artist. His black and white illustrations as well as his overall style can quickly shift from captivating and beautiful to shocking and horrific. Most of Ito’s long format stories revolve around science fiction, supernatural, or existential themes.
Tomie is arguably the most widespread of Ito’s works. The story revolves around a girl named Tomie who is this almost unexplainable being that can be best described as a succubus-like, eldritch being who appears completely normal on the outside. Tomie’s character influences the minds of men who are around her. At first, it seems as though the men who encounter Tomie are drawn in by her beauty, though there is something supernatural about her influence as it leads men to kill her. That may make absolutely no sense as she reoccurs throughout the story, so I will simply say you should give it a read.
An image from Junji Ito’s Tomie
One of my personal favorites of his work is Uzumaki. Again, the concept of this work is difficult to explain and can only really be appreciated once read. Essentially, the word uzumaki translates to “spiral” which is fitting as an entire town is slowly consumed by spirals. The fascinating thing about this work is that I cannot imagine it in a non visual format. His art has never once in my mind hindered the story that he wants to convey and only manages to enhance it.
An image from Junji Ito’s Uzumaki
The only reason I would suggest staying clear of Ito’s work is if you are not a fan of body horror. A lot of his work features body horror and while I find it to be well constructed and beautifully made that may not be everyone’s preferred choice of media. Still, if you are not opposed to body horror and are interested in the aforementioned themes I highly recommend Junji Ito’s work.