By: Ed The Mundo
In an excellent and satisfying selection of some of Junji Ito’s best short stories, you will find nine doses of visual horror straight from the mind of Ito himself. Each story is displayed in a fashion only Ito can muster forth ranging frame to frame. “Shiver” outlines the process and creative mind of Junji Ito in both his commentary and concept sketches, thus giving the reader a look in to just how unique of a creator he is of horror manga. Each short story places unique intrigue and a sense of wonder of the worst kind perfectly in the mind of the reader from the first frame to the last. This eerie sense persists at least until the climactic illustration presents itself over the course of a set of frames – or the suspense is torn down at the actual turn of a page. For fans of horror manga, “Shiver” certainly hits the mark, and more, in a way that entraps the mind and forges the reader’s thoughts as they traverse the mysteries that Junji Ito has created from page to page.
Overall, a perfectly creepy rendition of horror manga put together superbly by one the most talented, Junji Ito. Each story begs a question from the start, displays a narrative, and presents a character with focus. For a short story, especially in this medium, I couldn’t really have asked for more from each individual merge of ideas found in each story. My mind had to make jumps and conclusions which felt uncomfortable at the time, but that is the magic that Junji Ito hoped to present all along taking shape. I couldn’t help but go along with each short story no matter how uneasy they made me feel. Even upon finishing “Shiver” I was left with one more question begging to be answered, and that was the desire for more horror in some form from Junji Ito. It was oddly satisfying allowing Ito’s mind for manga take over my own as I was allowed a look in to his creative process. Thankfully, an anime rendition of Junji Ito’s short stories premiered earlier this January so I can once again have my mind hijacked in the name of horror.
In order to preserve the experience for future readers, I will not be reviewing each individual short story. However, here is a list of a few of my personal favorites: