Junji Itou is one of the undisputed masters of horror manga. For years, his manga has both fascinated and horrified fans. A few of his stories have been made into anime or movie adaptations, but very few of his standalone stories have received any sort of adaptation. Finally, many of Junji's standalone stories, some lesser known stories, as well as a few of his more famous stories have received the anime adaptation that has been a long time coming.
Junji Itou Collection captures the essence of the Junji Itou's manga. Junji Itou has the ability to capture the most basic of human fears, as well as fears that most normal humans wouldn't even fathom. In addition to creating creepy and unsettling supernatural situations with no conceivable explanations, he also creates characters that are just as creepy as the situations he imagines.
Here are 10 characters from Junji Itou Collection that are sure to send a chill down your spine:
10. Souichi from "Souichi's Convenient Curse," "Cloth Teacher," & "Rumors"
Despite his best attempts, Souichi doesn't do the best job at terrifying those around him. In fact, there are times when you can't help but feel bad for Souichi.
Souichi's creepiness comes from two distinct things: his obsessions with nails and the things that he is capable of doing. Souichi's your typical outcast in school, but in spite of his weird tendencies and idiosyncrasies, his obsessions with nails are perhaps one is probably one reason he's unable to make and keep friends. Souichi is always seen chewing and eating nails. If the idea of someone chewing on nails wasn't enough to make your blood crawl, Souichi gets a kick out of bearing his "fangs," as he likes to call them.
Souichi successfully manages to be creepy because, in addition to his fangs, he has a good mastery of the occult. Souichi can make voodoo dolls, influence other people, and even create avatars of people.
9. Yanagida-Sensei from "Cloth Teacher"
What would you do if your teacher suddenly appeared to be replaced with a doll? For Souichi's class, the answer is "nothing; continue as if nothing has changed."
Yanagida-Sensei is not creepy at any fault of his own. The result of Souichi's toying with the occult, Yanagida and several other teachers and classmates are suddenly replaced with cloth versions of themselves. Despite their attempts to pass off as the real person. Their appearance, patchwork body parts to their cloth "skin" scream that they aren't real people. Still, only a few suspicions were raised, more due to their strange unnatural behavior than their actual inhuman appearance.
8. Yukihiko/Jean Pierre from "Marionette Mansion"
It's one thing to love puppets, which, to some, are creepy in their own right. It's another thing to love them so much that you desire to become one yourself. The son of a traveling puppeteer, Haruhiko became separated from his brother, Yukihiko, after he ran away from his father's traveling show. Several years later, Haruhiko is reunited with his brother, who has taken his obsession with puppets too far by deciding to turn himself, his wife and his son into puppets.
A theory that originated in his childhood from their puppet, Jean-Pierre, who some people – definitely not us at Honey's Anime – find creepy, Yukihiko felt that the puppeteer wasn't controlling the puppet and that the power dynamic was actually the other way around. This led him to build an entire house that would allow puppeteers to control him and his family. Haruhiko and Yukihiko eventually find out that this philosophy regarding who controls who was right on the mark, when it turns out that Jean-Pierre truly was the one pulling the strings all along.
If you ask us, there's nothing creepy about puppets. And no, Jean-Pierre didn't make us say that. We promise.
7. Yuki/Scarecrow People from "Scarecrow"
There is something about humanoids that create a visceral reaction from humans. Perhaps it is their human-like appearance paired with the inevitable lack of human characteristics, notably a personality. With his story "Scarecrow," however, Junji Itou manages to prove that humanoids are creepy, and that's the bottom line.
In a town, for an unknown reason, when a scarecrow is placed on a person's grave it takes on the features of the deceased. The phenomenon first happened when Yuki's father, wanting her fiancé to not visit her grave placed a regular scarecrow on her grave. After the townsfolk saw the scarecrow take on her likeness, the town began placing scarecrows on all the graves, hoping to see their loved ones.
What results is an entire field of scarecrows that look like the dead. If that's not creepy enough, the souls of the dead seem to have entered the scarecrows. The scarecrows begin responding to their visitors with facial expressions and even appear to be actually looking at the visitors as well.
For some people, scarecrows are scary enough. Add in the ability for them to express themselves and appear more human-like, and you've got a good enough reason to avoid them altogether.
6. Tomie from "Painter"
It's very rare that someone with an enchanting beauty would be called creepy. For Tomie, however, that's exactly the word to describe her. Tomie's beauty is exactly what makes her creepy. In "Painter," Tomie almost forcibly replaces herself as Mitsuo Mori's muse, hoping that he, unlike every other artist will be able to replicate her beauty so that it may last forever. When he is unable to paint Tomie in her likeness, he becomes obsessed with not only creating the perfect picture but her as well, going so far as to kill someone.
At first, it sounds like Mitsuo deserves the spot on the creepy list, not Tomie. Tomie, then explains that this is an effect that she seems to have on all guys. Guys that fall in love with her become obsessed and act strangely. After painting what he believes to be a perfect image of her; a friend of his had taken a picture of Tomie, in which a monstrous version of Tomie was coming out of her head. This is the image he painted.
Offended by this representation, Tomie again mocks Mitsuo's ability as an artist. Her curse has fully taken a hold of him, and in a rage, he murders Tomie, chopping her into pieces. Despite being chopped into many pieces, Tomie doesn't die, and even worse, all the tiny pieces that she was chopped into begin growing into their own Tomies, to spread her curse to other many unfortunate enough to fall in love with her.
5. Goro/Father from "Greased"
When Yui's mother died, her family home became distinctive for one feature, it's run down appearance, notably the high presence of oil on everything as a result of her father's yakiniku restaurant downstairs. Despite her attempts to keep up appearance and clean, the oil seems to have permeated into the very fabric of the things in the house.
At first, her brother Goro, who has an obsession with drinking oil is the creepiest member of the family. His fascination with oil proves to have an effect on him as, during his teenage years, the concentration of oil and oil being his favorite beverage causes him to suffer from severe acne. After realizing popping his pimples over Yui gets an extreme reaction out of her – in what is one of the most disgusting anime scenes in recent time – he almost kills Yui before their father kills him to save her life.
After this, Yui's father takes the mantle as creepiest in the family. After serving Goro's fatty meat to customers, he decides to take matters into his own hands to acquire the same high-grade meat. These measures range from forcing Yui to drink oil in her sleep to drinking oil himself after she catches him in the act. The oil drinking, pimple popping, and cannibalism combine to make Yui's family one of the most unsettling group of characters in the Junji Itou Collection.
4. Tsukano Ryou from "Supernatural Transfer Student"
Tsukano Ryou is a transfer at his high school. On the surface, there's nothing creepy about Tsukano; he's a little strange, but nothing creepy, per se. He eagerly asks to join the supernatural club because his hobby is going on long walks, and whenever he does, he finds exciting and interesting things. He immediately displays this when he exclaims he's found something and reaches into the bushes and pulls out a plant with an eyeball.
Ryou continues to attract weird supernatural events during his time as a transfer student. Before eventually leaving the town, Ryou's powers caused a supernatural power-giving waterfall to appear, a lake with a prehistoric creature to replace an entire housing complex, and several Moai to appear in the middle of the town. Despite the danger ta was always present during these strange happenings, Ryou continually reacted to them in the most jovial manner laughing and running around cheerfully.
3. Shuichi Makita from "Honored Ancestors"
Many families with a long history and extensive family tradition make continuing the family line a major priority. For the Makita family, with Shuichi being unmarried and his father nearing his last days, the only way to carry on the family legacy is for Shuichi to find a wife before his father dies. In order for the Makita family to carry on, Shuichi must receive the family "heirloom," which would also make it impossible for him to go out and meet a wife.
The Makita "heirloom," which gives an entirely new definition to 'human centipede,' is a long line of the skulls of his ancestors stacked on top of each other. When Shuichi's fiancée Risa first saw her soon to be father-in-law with his long line of ancestors, the shock was so much that she became amnesiac and was haunted by caterpillars in her dreams. When Shuichi's father finally passed, he passed on the crown of skulls and familial creepiness to Shuichi. Immediately Shuichi out-creeps his father, by chasing Risa until the shock once again becomes too much for her. Shuichi, his father, and literal long line of family prove that sometimes creepiness runs in the family.
2. Tetsuro Mukoda from "The Long Dream"
It's extremely cruel to put someone who suffers the terrible fate that Tetsuro Mukoda suffered puts him towards the top of the "Creepy" list, but what can we say? If you're creepy, then you're creepy.
Tetsuro's fate is as creepy as it gets. He suffers from a strange and undiagnosed illness that causes his very realistic dreams to become progressively longer and longer. His dreams with began to exceed centuries in their perceived length, leading to Tetsuro's mannerisms and way of speaking to eventually reflect that of someone from a very distant time. In fact, the changes are not just apparent in his mind; over time, Tetsuro's body starts to undergo changes caused by his everlasting dreams. His unfortunate condition, combined with his terrifying appearance help to make Tetsuro one of the creepiest characters from Junji Itou Collection.
1. Fuchi from "Fashion Model" & "Rumors"
Again, creepy is creepy. Even if it is initially the result of one not meeting the standards of beauty. Scriptwriter Iwasaki first became – for lack of a better word – fascinated with Fuchi when he first saw a picture of her in a fashion magazine. Her ghastly appearance frightened him so much that he continued to have nightmares.
While it's not right to judge people based solely on their appearances, Iwasaki's dread regarding Fuchi was justified. To mess with Iwasaki, his friends cast her in a secondary role in their upcoming film. After relaxing around Iwasaki and his friends on their way to a shoot in the woods Fuchi lets out a hearty laugh, revealing her two rows of shark-like teeth. Her creepiness comes to a head when in a fit of jealousy, she not only kills but eats the main actress Tamae. After being caught by the film crew, she then proceeds to chase the crew.
She later makes an appearance in the Souichi focused story, "Rumors," where once again, her monster-esque appearance drives terror into an entire class of students. When she does finally show up, she once again bares her razor-sharp teeth and threatens to eat Souichi. Part of what makes Fuchi so creepy is the dichotomy between her monster features and her dainty, model-like mannerisms.
Junji Itou Collection does a great job of finally bringing some of Junji Itou's most chilling and haunting stories to the small screen. Many of his stories are extremely character driven.
What did you think of the Junji Itou Collection? Which story of his sends chills down your spine like no other? Let us know in the comments below.