In the light of day and in the dead of night, mysterious horrors await in the darkest shadows of every corner. They are unexplainable, inescapable, and undefeatable. Be prepared, or you may become their next victim.
Sit back in terror as traumatizing tales of unparalleled terror unfold. Tales, such as that of a cursed jade carving that opens holes all over its victims' bodies; deep nightmares that span decades; an attractive spirit at a misty crossroad that grants cursed advice; and a slug that grows inside a girl's mouth. Tread carefully, for the horrifying supernatural tales of the Ito Junji: Collection are not for the faint of heart.
As he is one of the most talented horror creators, I was eagerly anticipating when his work would finally be animated. It pains me to say this, but Studio Deen fucked up this adaptation big time. It was inevitable that at least one of his mangas would be adapted, and they chose to adapt dozens of his best stories. Any fan of his works would be just as hyped as I was… but as we now know, these adaptations aren’t even half as good as the originals. Even with some of his most beloved stories like Long Dreams, Tomie, House
of the Marionettes, and many more, it still turned out being a pile of garbage.
What’s interesting about the Junji Ito: Collection is how faithful it is to the source mangas, but simultaneously awful. I’m not saying I dislike the mangas, of what I read they’re incredibly frightening and layered with social commentary. So how can a faithful adaptation of a good manga be bad?
I have two words for you, Studio Deen.
Each panel of Junji Ito’s mangas is drawn with expert detail. Nothing is rushed, even the most obscure entries are passionately drawn to deeply disturb his legions of horror fanatics (I’m one of them). This guy seriously lives for his work, it’s no surprise he has risen to become one of the most revered horror creators to this day. It was inevitable that a TV anime adaptation couldn’t live up to his lofty achievements, but there was hope for it to at least do it justice with an equal amount of effort put into it.
Keep in mind, anime adaptations of manga aren’t expected to be 1:1 perfect recreations. They compensate by breathing new life into the panels with animation (not Studio Deen’s strong suit). What we got from the Junji Ito: Collection is nearly a shot for shot recreation of each manga chapter, destined to disappoint fans. This adaptation comes with almost none of the detail lovingly put into the original work. Instead we get choppy animation, bland colors, ugly background art, oversimplified character designs, all with a fraction of the style and detail applied to the mangas.
The biggest problem with this series isn't just that it fails to capture any of the style of the source materials, it’s that it fails to be remotely scary. A horror anime doesn't have to be terrifying at all times. Horror can come in many forms; it can get under your skin, it can disturb, disgust, linger, etc. But here… the art is so oversimplified that Ito’s horrific creations are no longer scary at all. Instead of a giant intimidating spider, we get an animatronic looking one that evokes laughter rather than the intense fear of Ito’s work.
It is the worst form of an adaptation. A cheap imitation living in the shadow of something greater. However, there is one thing I can partially credit this adaptation for; sound effects. The squelching of blood, reverberating of a heartbeat, visceral slicing of flesh. The best noises are rarely used, keeping them from becoming repetitive, but it’s enough to get under your skin. For me, being moderately grossed out (oh god the pimple episode) was the extent of the ‘horror’ I found in this series. But for every good sound effect there were three mediocre ones that are either absurdly fake sounding or have just plain out poor audio quality. This quality issue extends to the subpar voice acting. Voices don’t match what you would expect of the characters on a number of occasions. And even when they do fit, they sound markedly worse than most other anime.
I did actually find the Souichi chapters quite funny as some nice dark humor in between the grim chapters. His obnoxious voice, goofy stupidity, and extreme nihilism made him the most surprisingly funny demon summoners I’ve ever seen (not that the list is very long).
It was quite an odd choice for them to start the first episode with a Souichi comedy chapter even if I enjoyed it. Although I didn’t mind that the show ended with one of his chapters it felt like rather than bringing out the best they can, they end on a low note. This series was marketed as horror so to see comedy like that in place of scares is a recipe for disappointment. Given the high drop rate right away, it’s clear people understood this was going nowhere fast. Anthology series are after all inconsistent by nature, it’d be unreasonable to expect perfectly equal adaptations across the board. But when you’re this blatantly not giving a shit about how the final product comes together, then I don’t feel the need to mince words on how bad the end result is.
Make no mistake, not every one of Junji Ito's mangas that were adapted is great. He has written dozens of them so it's expected that not all of them would be stellar. Typically they have uneven lengths ranging from 18-2 minutes each, but typically they last half an episode. Many of the stories lack endings, fitting for the mysterious atmosphere, but annoying when every story one after the other has no definitive conclusion. Some of the stories fail to establish characters worth caring about then hinge dramatic stakes on them, while others may rely too heavily on a mysterious supernatural element leaving it difficult to connect with. In turn, draining most of the potential for scares.
I was never bothered by the fact that Junji Ito’s manga doesn’t always have the most well developed of stories while reading his mangas. After all, the uncertainty of what is really occurring in the story is part of their mysterious charm. This mysterious atmosphere is usually brought on by the understated supernatural elements, which are rarely explained for the sake of simplicity.
You’d think that this embracement of an underdeveloped story would work well for a two chapters per episode adaptation, sadly the pace is botched a bit too badly. The stories we get are rushed, lingering on the underdone horror spectacles much less than the mangas. Instead, this show prays that we’ll latch onto Ito’s stories to make up for the lackluster presentation. Needless to say, they’re forcing a formula onto already established works and it just does not work.
There were a few things from Junji Ito’s mangas that made the transition from paper to screen decently. Junji Ito himself is quite aware of the world he lives in and provides us with thought-provoking social commentary. It never failed to give me an idea to chew on, distracting me from the show’s mediocrity. There are his constant jabs at overbearing family expectations, the pressure we put on ourselves and others, but most importantly his many criticisms of how he believes people can be shallow.
I doubt anyone expected Ito Junji: Collection to be perfect, given the famous horror author Junji Ito has never had his work adapted into an anime until now. Especially given the studio adapting it is the definition of inconsistency, Studio Deen, it was very nearly dead on arrival. It didn’t help that the director of the infamous dumpster fire Diabolik Lovers was at the helm of this ship. Steering it off course and into every pitfall it could.
[Story: 6/10] Mixed bag, supernaturally driven, retains social commentary.
[Character: 3/10] Only goes as far to connect you to the horror, paper thin.
[Art: 2/10] Janky animation, poor quality, ruins Ito’s aesthetic.
[Sound: 3/10] Poor voice work, some scary sound effects, mediocre music.
[Enjoyment: 3/10] Boring, rarely scary, occasionally funny.
[Overall Score: 3.4/10]
You were good Studio Deen! Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju was great! Of all of the animes to put barely any effort into, why this one? A low effort cash grab like this is unfit to bear Junji Ito’s name. Don’t watch this anime, go read his mangas.
LA always has been fine with the supernatural "cosmic horror" at times like ghosts and curses, however LA has a morbid fear of zombies because they are human yet not, LA KNOWS they can't exist but there is that future logical extreme where humanity kills itself off...with humanity itself and this is where there is a lingering sense of horror from both the mundanity taken to the logical extremes and the unknown...Junji Ito KNOWS this and absolutely runs with it.
Junji Ito: Collection right off the bat for LA is by the title itself a collection of Junji Ito's horror works in 22 minute episodes and
because of this format LA really can't talk about the plot as there are multiple plots that really doesn't connect (one does but semantics), so the best way to talk about Junji Ito is by his signature horror genre he's famous for...but tied to lackluster animation and the problem itself of making an adaptation of majority of his works into a 12 episode anime.
Like LA said above, Junji Ito dives into the horror aspect of the mundanity of the normal or the unknown fates of many of his protagonists fate up to chance if they even survive from the "monsters" or the "horror phenomenon".
The mundanity of everyday normal things causing the horror strikes a chord with LA like LA's analogy with zombies but take that and make it even to the simplest things like...blood, oil, beauty, curiosity, unrequited love, dreams and even the moderation of privacy. Jump scares and gore are instant scares that are one timer moments that easily get boring or predictable but the mundanity of the normal brings in the our usual day lives and makes the horror stick from something we do in our repetitive usual day lives and by far Junji Ito knows how the mundanity works to the horror's advantage. Yeah through LA even saying this, Glyceride has shown LA to never see something as simple as GREASE as disgustingly vomit inducing or how Tomie's beauty goes into intense obsession.
On the other side, the unknown is really a simple as many of the protagonists fate are left up in the air, be it if the horror of the story is killed or not, their fates are left in the air and because of this unknown the majority of the time, they get consumed by the horror or it's the worst result at times. The unknown is scary as we DON'T KNOW IT ITSELF, thus facing the fear of the unknown can be scary as hell as there will be no way of knowing the end result and Junji Ito eats the carrot he's been dangling at you for the last 10 minutes or so giving us a cosmic horror of the unknown.
So about the lackluster animation, well the animation done by Studio DEEN for LA was ok enough but the animation tries to get Junji Ito's horror down into a verbatim animation with somewhat intentionally dull, dreary atmosphere with some interesting sketchbook-like character designs and backgrounding. The cosmic horror is pretty good but LA attributes that to Junji Ito's vision just now taken into animation format. LA "gets" Studio DEEN's animation though LA just felt some of the animation became lackluster as Studio DEEN just went verbatim of Junji Ito's collection of stories without much change when the atmosphere and more detailed animation was needed to inflict the horror of the animation more strikely, though at times LA kinda was ok with that as the horror seen in 1080p in greater detail isn't something LA DO NOT WANNA SEE...if you know where LA is getting at, as much as LA has gripes with the lackluster animation and though it definitely felt like it, the animation was "ok", but that's not much as praise.
Well the biggest problem LA sees with Junji Ito: Collection is of how the anime adapted his works to animation and by this is that because of ALOT of his works crammed into 12 episode 22 minutes has the implication of being short, there are some benefits like LA said about the unknown fates of many of the protagonists giving us no ending in the process and the effectiveness of it but LA will just say the pacing of many of the episodes are either too quick or too slow and it's fluctuates depending on the story working with you or not and LA felt it many times while watching Junji Ito: Collection, giving a very confused "THAT'S IT?" or "well that happened". LA won't say that the pacing is a huge problem as LA will defend it depending on the episode but it still detriments the horror at times as "meh" and the prime suspect of the pacing problems for LA at least is the weirdest choice of adapting some of his work is of Souichi and his stories as that is primarily seen as a COMEDY with some supernatural horror but it's nothing but a prankster who has actual voodoo powers and him failing time and again...like what?, the obvious implication for this is the anime has brought in even LESS screentime for his more intense horror stories for a straight up slapstick comedy. Though the only defense LA gets here is the fact of Souichi giving us a breather to more of Junji Ito's more intense horror stories but LA just found Souichi's inclusion and his placement of stories in terms of episodes baffling.
LA's taste in horror might be weird to some people let alone LA's fear and as much as LA harped on the faults and benefits of adapting Junji Ito's work, you know what, LA got Junji Ito's brand of cosmic mundane horror with many of his stories sticking for the better or worse and even though there is lackluster animation and let alone Studio DEEN even trying to adapt a plethora of Junji Ito's work and squishing it in a 12 episode format has some huge detriments to it but oddly enough Junji Ito: Collection has been a mundane yet horrifying, crazy as hell, cosmic horror fest. Junji Ito: Collection anime adaptation just might be LA's weirdest case of "disappointing yet satisfying" in terms of horror.
Ito Junji: Collection, despite what the MAL score might lead you to believe is actually decent. Based on the collection of manga of the same name, these stories depict various abnormal occurrences and happenings. From what I know, there isn’t a pattern as to which stories were picked.
Ito Junji surprised me in many ways, one of those being the creepy atmosphere. Many of the stories are quite unnerving at times, especially with how crude the artstyle is. The fact that the overall art looks quite bad, as in the character models aren’t anything special and the backgrounds
are rather cheap-looking only adds to the tone, which is fitting for a show like this.
One good thing I can say about the characters, or rather, character in this case, is that our main protagonist, Souichi, is a nice addition to these stories. His peculiar and bizarre nature makes everything just a little bit creepier, especially with how he behaves around others. Whenever he’s on screen he does something weird or funny, and it wouldn’t be the same without him.
Even though Ito Junji is a horror anime, it has a surprising amount of outright hilarious moments, like the whole circus story. The way everything played out felt like an unintentional comedy of sorts, although it worked in this case since it was genuinely funny and not just ironically funny like some “so bad it’s good” shows which don’t try to be funny but end up actually being funny.
All in all, I quite liked Ito Junji: Collection, and I plan on checking out the manga in the future.
If I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear. - Mary Shelly
What’s better to watch at the late midnight if wasn’t horror story? A whole new premise that brings you amidst of folklore, that’s for sure to haunt us. When I watched the first episode, I got this little tingling vibe that this series actually frightens me. The show itself, promise you a very realistic horror that overwhelmed you with fear.
The story is altogether from a collection of horror stories, one by one with their own unique than each others, to show you how interesting horror story can be. People always
afraid of something that is unknown to them, either ghost or monster, simply because we fear what this ‘unknown’ entity could do to us. But before you know it, you’ve already delved deep in each stories like you’re actually the main character to see how one reality can be a door to what you’ve fear the most deep inside your heart. Every story get it own stage, and when the least you expected it, the worse is already in front of us. It could be something grotesque, creepy, and gross but then again this is actually what we’ve hidden deep inside our heart. The show just make way even when we try to deny it, the imagination of how scary it actually is, already running in our mind. The realistic of the premise itself seem so unreal, yet we still can’t avert our eyes from the screen, completely oblivious to the fact that we are already being captivated. In the end the stories just keep diving depth to the path where we just wish to see more, to see how it plays until the bitter end.
We’ve got to see more than what we can actually imagined. From the curser to the victims, all played their role so natural in this unbelieving horror. The feel of pain and anguish with overall despair has been combined altogether to one piece. It freaks you out to a certain level, which is something rare to see nowadays. Every story got a different characters, but it always interesting to see how each of them being toss into a box of fear. Not to forget the monsters, where all bears the same feels, fear. Each of them portrayed different kind of fear, but it still related to one another in the hearts. How ugly can it be? It’s truly a nightmare to behold.
While the animation is not that good, it still manages to blow what is means by a horror story. On the other hand, I really love the OP, it’s certainly good and interesting work of art. By no means, I really love it.
As a big fan of gore/horror I truly enjoy this piece of animation. The shows had both upside and downside, but to certain degree it is indeed successful to present the horror theme. I had my share of fun, the horror run wilds, that you truly being captivated. Amazingly, you just wish to see more, how a glimpse of horror can be this interesting to see. At the very end, it is truly a works that worth admiration while not completely perfect.