Junji Ito Collection – Anime Preview
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Synopsis: The works of one of the most famous Japanese horror manga artists, Junji Ito, finally gets animated! This will be an omnibus animation where each episode will star different protagonists such as the famous Tomie, Soichi, and Fuchi! (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: If it isn’t already clear from the show synopsis and title, Junji Ito Collection is an anthology featuring characters, events and stories that may not have any direct relation to each other other than being penned by the same author. Its first episode is primarily concerned with the tale of one rather strange boy, Souichi, but also squeezes in a separate unsettling short tale about a town where children are turning into dolls.
Tom: One thing Junji Ito Collection does well right off the bat is, of course, the imagery. Things are unsettling from the get go, with solid and unnerving visuals that make for the most visual impactful series to air yet this Winter.
Linny: While Junji Ito Collection’s premiere has some gruesome and unsettling content, like a giant spider attacking someone or an extremely deformed monstrous transformation, it’s not exactly your classic cup of horror. The imagery and aim of the show seems to be about shock value and creating unease rather than the standard jump scares, at least for now.
Tom: I really have to agree. Junji Ito Collection isn’t terribly scary, at least not yet, instead nailing a more unnerving, bizarre atmosphere that can even produce more of a chuckle at times. It’s oddly comedic to go with that bizarre tone. The after story, a short two-minute long tale to round out the episode and alert viewers to the vignette nature of the series, is far more unsettling and uncomfortable than the primary story in this first episode. It’s still strange, but fits far more inline with horror expectations.
Linny: The first story in episode 1 has several comedic moments and lines that might annoy anyone who picks up this show hoping for a straight up pure horror story. Whether this comedic content is present in future episodes or not, it would be best for viewers to go in expecting an absurd and slightly silly unnerving tale, one that’s got strange imagery but isn’t completely serious.
Tom: The series is a collection of varied vignettes, meaning it’s hard to gauge quality based on one episode alone, since there’s nothing that’ll continue from this episode and on, besides perhaps tone and visual style. That said, the character of Souichi is oddly fun. He’s not written traditionally well, blasting near as much exposition our way as Grancrest’s first episode. Yet it kinda fits with his socially awkward, psychopathic, self-absorbed character. He’s certainly not likable, but he was actually a fairly engaging watch, and while I suspect the Junji Ito collection may not ultimately amount to all that much scare wise, I imagine it’ll maintain this odd, off-kilter appeal.
Linny: As someone who has read some of Junji Ito’s works, I was surprised by how much comedy this anime adaptation contained. Of course, not having read ALL of his works, I may just not have stumbled upon his more humour laced scary stories and was able to watch this show without any fixed notions or expectations. I can say that the anime has done a good job animating his more unsettling imagery, something Ito is famous for but I can see fans who prefer sombre horror becoming frustrated with the comedic parts. Overall, Junji Ito Collection seems perfect for anyone who likes their horror to be more unsettling than just loud jump scares and likes the idea of a bit of comedy breaking up the tension ever so often.
Tom: Overall Junji Ito Collection doesn’t feel like it’s going to be as much horror as some people would like. It’s not terribly scary, but it is unnerving. It’s about what I expected, as I haven’t yet seen an anime do better than making me mildly uncomfortable. At the very least it’s not laughable, like The World Yamizukan. And at its heart the whole thing was engaging and entertaining anyway, even if it wasn’t the scariest horror stuff I’ve ever seen.