The winter anime season is coming to a close, and with it comes my full series reviews. Unfortunately this time there weren’t many series I was interested in, so this may be my only anime review for this month! Today we’ll be having a look at the Junji Ito Collection, to give some context to it, the collection showcases about 2 of Ito’s short stories per episode. Ito is pretty much the top horror mangaka in Japan, his manga ‘Uzumaki’ was the first horror manga I read (at 15!) and absolutely sucked me into the world of all things gruesome. If you want a recap on my first impressions before reading my final ones, click here!
Looking at comments and other reviews about this series, one of the biggest complaints I’ve seen is that ‘it isn’t scary’. Japanese horror is quite different from Western horror, which tends to focus on jump scares and getting screams from the audience. Japanese horror focuses on creating an unsettled feeling, almost like giving the audience anxiety about whether they can trust the world around them. However, in saying that, I gotta admit that this series did not even achieve that. Many of the stories chosen were just purely gross (like the pimple oil one) or just very VERY random (like the mystery club or circus epsiodes). I felt like there wasn’t a ‘theme’ to this series, it just seemed like the creators were just picking the stories out of a hat and choosing them that way. How else can you explain the random appearances of Souichi and Tomie – both of whom were presented as absolute twats rather than figures of fear!?
Some of the stories were really fantastic, I loved the mole-sticher, the voice from the neighbouring house, scalp episode (pictured at the top) and the voice recording episode. But you really had to sit through some tedious episodes to get to them. I was also a times quick disappointed by the animation quality, close up shots would be quite detailed but everything else seemed like a pretty basic sketch coloured in. I will make a mention to say that the music in the episodes were fantastic, particularly the opening and closing songs.
I have to admit, I went into this series with quite high expectations, so if you take anything from my review is that – the series is OK, not great, not bad, just ok. If you enjoy reading manga, I would recommend perhaps skipping the series completely and just jumping straight into the manga. The tone, pacing and atmosphere of the manga is constructed significantly better.You can check out my Top 5 Junji Ito post for inspiration on where to start! For the anime series, I’ll have to give it a 6.5/10