Junji Ito The Master of Horror
"Junji Ito The Master of Horror"
When we talk about horror, it is mostly about the horror found in recent films or games. Horror is mainly made up of sudden jump scares or creepy imagery nowadays. But in the late 80s and early 90s, this kind of low-quality horror would be laughed at. The 80s were when the horror genre started to pick up steam with the release of fan-favorite movies that would create entire horror franchises. However, there was one medium that would set the standard for true horror for years to come: manga with Jinji Ito at the helm.
Calling Ito the best of his time might be a bit much, as other great mangaka created stellar horror manga, but none had the same effect on the masses as Ito’s work. His works are known far and wide, and many might have even seen his work or their influence without knowing about it. His work has also inspired many western films and game directors.
Junji Ito Early life
Ito was born in 1963 in the countryside and saw the modernization of Japan through his own eyes. He started to draw at a very young age and continued to hone his skills and hobby until he got a full-time job as a dental technician in 1984, which led him to question what he wanted to do with his life. To decide this, he would submit an entry to the Monthly Halloween competition and win it. This set him on the path of a mangaka.
Junji Ito Famous Works
Ito has created some of the best horror manga ever, and below are some of his most popular ones yet.
Tomie was one of the first manga Ito ever drew, but reading it now, one can’t tell as it is still fun. It tells us the story of Tomie, an immortal femme fatale who can seduce any man, whether in a relationship or not. But soon after, she also drives those men into madness and causes them to kill her or themselves. But since she is immortal, this cycle continues. She ensnares with different men, one madly in love with her and only wants to keep her for himself, while the second grows scared of Tomie. But in the end, they discover that one cannot simply get rid of Tomie by killing her. This tale and its slow build-up of fear and dread jump-started Ito’s career.
Uzumaki is a tale that differentiates itself from Ito’s other work by having one of the best narratives and a primal evil with otherworldly and intangible nature. The story follows a series of events in the seaside town of Kurozu-cho, which is always blanketed by fog. We see the main story from the perspective of a teenage girl who starts to see patterns in everything and not just simple patterns; no starts to see swirls, or Uzumaki, to be exact, in everything. Later on, we find out from a withdrawn boy that this town is hunted and not by some evil ghost or spirit; no, a shape, a primordial concept haunts it. We soon see the town slowly fall into madness as the Uzumaki starts to take control of the people. It is a story best read blind as some details stick with you for life.
Remina is a story that explores the deep-rooted beliefs of humanity and sees how humans react to existential threats. The story is about a massive space organism that is mistaken for a planet by a scientist who names it after his daughter. But when the plant starts to move and is on a collision course with earth, all hell breaks loose as we see the depth of depravity man is willing to fall to save himself. Following the same logic as the witch hunts, people start to see Remina as the problem and set out o burn her to stop the organism from coming closer to earth.
- Horror Collections
Most of Ito’s work has been compiled into many different books, which now act as complete collections of his entire body, and they include some of his less famous works, such as The liminal Zone and Cat Diary. These collections ideally allow horror fans to enjoy Ito’s work.
Junji Ito’s work might not be as famous nowadays due to the inability to animate his unique art style, but that is soon changing as we see Uzumaki being animated in a manner that is faithful to the original and can keep the feel of the source material. We might also see more of his work as he has given his liking and some aspects of his work to Kojima and Guillermo del Toro to be used in the Death Stranding games.