Deserter: Junji Ito Story Collection [Manga] Review - Another Terrifying Collection from the Master of Horror

Another Terrifying Collection from the Master of Horror
  • Mangaka : Ito, Junji
  • Publisher : Viz
  • Genre : Horror, Mystery, Supernatural, Seinen
  • Published : Dec 2021

Deserter is the 7th short story collection from Junji Ito published by Viz and his 13th book overall. It was published right between Christmas and New Year’s, making it a perfect year-end gift for your loved ones or even for yourself. After all, an avid manga collector would surely snatch every new volume of Junji Ito's manga, don't you agree? Here’s our review of Deserter.

Contains Spoilers

Discussion Time

Deserter contains twelve individual short stories of varying length and intensity. There's a story about a girl who is invited by her boss to eat an assortment of live insects, a tale of a man who tries desperately to stay awake because he knows his reverse side will take over if he ever falls asleep, and there's also a gentle story about a severed head dangling in the attic. Pretty much what you can expect from a book written and drawn by Junji Ito.

Why You Should Read Dassouhei no Iru Ie (Deserter: Junji Ito Story Collection)

1. A Wide Spectrum of Horror Subgenres

This short story collection perfectly showcases Junji Ito's mastery over the whole spectrum of horror. This is not just a compilation of mindless gore and ghost stories from start to end - there's truly something here for every horror lover.

There's gore and violence in "The Long Hair in the Attic", body horror in "Face Thief", psychological horror in "Scripted Love", a revenge story in "Bullied", mystery and suspense in "Unendurable Labyrinth", and a well-crafted ghost story in the eponymous "Deserter". And those are just some of the most notable ones. The rest of the stories bring their own brand of horror to the readers.

2. Perfect Pacing

For short story collections like this, pacing is not just about the pace of an individual story, but how each story flows into the next. That's why the order matters a lot to the overall pacing of the book. It's pretty similar to how musicians choose the order of the songs in their albums to ensure the greatest listening experience.

Deserter has stories with different ranges of intensity. Some will immediately grab your throat and won't let go, while others will gently take your hand and slowly drag you into the abyss. And each one of them has the right placement in the book, such as the slow burn "A Father's Love" that comes after the intense "The Reanimator's Sword". This perfect pacing enhances the reading experience even further.

Why You Should Skip Dassouhei no Iru Ie (Deserter: Junji Ito Story Collection)

1. Newly Published Old Materials

If you buy this book with the hope of getting some newly made stories by Junji Ito, then you'll be disappointed because Deserter is a collection of newly published old materials from the horror maestro. The book was originally published in Japan in 1991 and judging from the art alone, you can clearly tell that these stories were made early in Junji Ito's career.

Final Thoughts

Deserter is one of the better short story collections from Junji Ito. This collection has some of his most unique and original story concepts, and can easily stand as one of his best. Sure, the art may look somewhat dated, but the quality is still as great as ever. As the cream on top, Deserter from Viz comes in a handsome hardcover edition. So if you're a manga collector or a horror lover in general, this short story collection is a crucial addition to your library.

Have you read Deserter? What did you think of it? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Deserter-Junji-Ito-Story-Collection-manga-350x500 Deserter: Junji Ito Story Collection [Manga] Review - Another Terrifying Collection from the Master of Horror


Author: Harry

Harry is a manga addict first and freelance writer second. While he hasn’t read every manga under the sun, he has read an unhealthy amount of Shounen and Seinen manga. When he’s not writing in Honey’s Anime, you can find him in his personal blog:

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