Itou Junji: Maniac (Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre) Review! The Legend of Horror Returns!

Legendary horror creator Junji Ito has wowed the manga world for ages crafting some of the world’s wildest and most bizarre stories that range from cheaters trying to keep their heads from literally falling off their bodies, to giant meteor-like entities hurling towards a specific person for…reasons. Junji Ito has some stories that are far from scary—more just odd—but with his more legendary titles like Tomie and Uzumaki, the creator knows how to really put chills down a reader’s spine. Unfortunately, Ito’s anime adaptations have been met with some mixed responses like his Junji Ito Collection or Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack. Still, horror is a very subjective matter and we here at Honey’s Anime have met many fans who stand by Junji Ito’s adaptations!

Now we have a new collection-themed adaptation in the form of the Netflix-produced Itou Junji: Maniac (Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre)! Based on various manga works from Ito-san, this 12-episode series begs the question…can Junji Ito’s works be properly adapted or will they always be a mixed experience? We find out in our review of Itou Junji: Maniac (Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre)!

The Hikizuri Family…Wait, is That How It Goes?

It isn’t hard to see that Junji Ito isn’t shy about using a mixture of horror tropes/themes from around the world in his works. For example, the first episode of Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre is called The Strange Hikizuri Siblings, which feels like an odd take on The Addams Family—minus, Thing—where a family of siblings tries to survive together after their parents died. But, those who know of Junji Ito and his version of horror equally know this is a man who doesn’t like clichés and often tries to make works that are so outrageously different that you won’t find them elsewhere.

Hanging Balloons—as innocent as it sounds—follows a woman whose life is turned upside down when her friend kills herself and is seen as a literal balloon head, and is one of many trying to kill their represented human counterparts. Yes, Ito’s stories are outlandish and often just plain insane but that is what makes each story so watchable. They might not all inflict a level of extreme horror but they will still creep you out and isn’t that a form of horror in itself?

An Art Style No One Can Copy

We own and have read quite a bit of Junji Ito’s various manga and what grips us even more than the stories and unique characters, is the incredible—and very graphic—art that shocks and awes us. Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre captures the art style of its manga counterparts perfectly while still retaining that anime feel. We commend Studio Deen—Higurashi and Hell Girl to name a few of their horror works—for not undoing Ito’s detail all while still making this an anime adaptation that feels like a moving version of his manga creations.

A Town of Tombstones, More Soichi Stories, and TOMIE!

What we loved most about Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre is that this isn’t just a bunch of the stories most manga fans know but some of the more obscure ones like “Mold” and “Tomb Town”. Yes, there are the legendary Tomie tales, which will always be one of our favorite characters/stories from Ito-san. And everyone’s favorite oddball/mischief maker Soichi returns but we know most of those tales and wanted to see some of the lesser works in anime form. Some of these have been altered slightly—which may anger/annoy some fans—but we loved watching “The Sandman’s Lair” in anime format as it was just a spooky and unnerving tale that might make some people never want to sleep again.

What Horror? Is it There or Here?

Horror enthusiasts probably want to know the million-dollar question: is Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre actually scary? The answer to that is…not really. Yes, the stories can be truly unnerving at times and equally might make you never want to see another ice cream truck again but most of these tales aren’t what you can consider traditional horror. Junji Ito has always created his own take on horror using body imagery, ghosts, curses, and paranoia but in ways, many might not find scary.

Japanese horror vs Western horror has always been a hotly debated genre—which is scarier or better—but in the end, it’s like comedy…subjective. So yes, we might not have been scared by every story or even been unnerved by some of them. There are also some stories that creeped us out heavily and we know that might not be how everyone reacts while watching Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre.

Final Thoughts

Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre isn’t going to prove that Ito’s manga can be adapted properly into anime form but we think it does show all of his works can be crafted into anime, nevertheless. Horror-wise, Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre isn’t going to scare everyone but we did love each story for having unique tales and characters that aren’t all just one dimensional. We hope more of Junji Ito’s manga stories/works get anime love but for now, we think we got a nice helping of them to hold us over till Halloween!

Are you binging Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre or plan to watch it? Maybe you already have and wish to discuss your thoughts on it! Be sure to comment below with your opinions and if you agree with our review! For more anime, reviews, and articles keep stuck to our currently scared hive here at Honey’s Anime!

Itou-Junji-Mania-wallpaper-4-338x500 Itou Junji: Maniac (Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre) Review! The Legend of Horror Returns!


Author: Aaron

Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!

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