Itou Junji Kyoufu Manga Collection
Summary and Preview
Early volumes contain thematically linked but self-contained stories dealing with Tomie - a beautiful young woman with the power to seduce and dominate any male, from small boys to elderly men. Later the series leaves the Tomie character behind and consists of stand-alone gothic horror pieces.
Each volume has its own title:
1. Tomie 1 (scanlated)
2. Tomie 2 (scanlated)
3. Flesh Colored Horror / 肉色の怪 (scanlated)
Neither Long Hair nor Permission stand out as Junji Ito's more exciting work. Though they are both atmospheric and, typically of Junji Ito, open ended, they seem a bit more disjointed and incompletely than some of his other stories. The Bee Hive was a bit more complete (and slightly sickening) but lets down the premise a bit with an abrupt finish. Dying Young and Flesh Coloured Horror are my favourites of the book.
4. Kao Dorobou (The Face Burglar) / 顔泥棒
Judging by the quality of the drawing, The Face Burglar must be one of Junji's earliest comics. Notable chapters in this book are Falling and The Hanging Baloons. Kakashi/Scarecrow was turned into a movie, but imo the comic version becomes a bit too campy partway through when the scarecrows actually start to move.
5. Souichi no Tanoshii Nikki (Souichi's Diary of Delights) / 双一の楽しい日記
Souichi is one of Junji's most famous and loved characters - an elementary school kid who likes to put curses on people and hold nails in between his gums and his libs to scare people. The Diary of Delights is good, but Souichi is a little too successful to be entirely convincing and I prefer his diary of curses better.
6. Souichi no Noroi Nikki (Souichi's Diary of Curses) / 双一の呪い日記
This is one of my favourites of the horror collection. With the exception of the last story. Unlike his Diary of Delights, Souichi is an ineffectual idiot in these stories. His curses backfire and it's consequently quite funny. The last episode is a bit anticlimactic with Souichi meeting a rather incidental demise which, while appropriate for his incidental existance, is frustrating since we have grown to love him and worse still he's killed by one of Junji Ito's most bland creations. I hope Souichi isn't really dead and can appear later in a new episode.
7. Namekuji no Shoujo (Slug Girl) / なめくじの少女
Run of the mill for Junji Itou, I think. There's a lot of fragmentary unease in this book (especially in the first three) but the stories don't serve to do much more than create a threatening environment. Kabi is my favourite, and elements of it were borrowed in the Lovesick Dead movie.
8. Chi Tamaki (Blood-bubble Bushes) / 血玉樹
Blood-bubble Bushes (the episode) is really revolting and killed my appetite. Unbearable Labyrinth is a bit dull, and Sword of the Re-animator is unusually cartoonish for Junji Itou and lacks any real sense of horror. The Bridge, on the other hand, is very spooky and Demonology, while being very short, is quite good as well.
9. Kubi Gensou (Hallucinations) / 首幻想
Oshikiri is another one of Junji's successful reoccuring characters. Oshikiri's parents are both living overseas, and he is left alone to live in their giant mansion. The first episode finds Oshikiri hallucinating and wondering if he has just killed his best friend, and throughout the other stories we discover that the house hides many secrets and Oshikiri's parents may never be coming home. The whole book is quite good and I wish it were longer, but it seems that Junji Ito pretty much wrapped things up with the last episode - certainly there is nothing left unresolved about the house.
10. Ayatsuri no Yashiki (House of the Marionettes) / あやつりの屋敷
Ice Cream Bus is tacky, Gang House uninspired, Smoking Club boring but The Sleeping Room was pleasant enough and the final House of Marionettes had a fun (if squandered) premise. Again I wish that Junji Ito had stayed away from magic and gone with a purely psychological scare.
11. Michi no Naimachi (The Town Without Streets) / 道のない街
I really like The Town Without Streets, but the rest are just the usual fare. Near Miss is about an airplane accident and reminds me a bit of Heavy Metal.
12. Ijimetsu Musume (The Bully) / いじめっ娘
Love by the Book was nice. The Bully was tacky, with a forced conclusion which reminded me of any poor episode from the new Outer Limits. Memory was quite frightening most of the way through but had a tacky ending. The Back Alley was more Outer Limits material.
13. Circus ga Kita (The Circus is Here) / サーカスが来た
The Circus is Here is simplistic and over-the-top, but despite all of that it leaves you with a heavy heart. Gravetown also has a very unlikely premise and strangely motivated characters but builds to a strong climax.
14. Tunnel no Tan (The Story of the Mysterious Tunnel) / トネルの奇譚
An excellent book. Nagaiyume/Long Dream was adapted for a 60 minute television special by Higuchinsky, the same director who adapted Uzumaki for the cinema. The story of the Mysterious Tunnel is good but a bit banal following Long Dream and Bronze Statue is nothing special, but Drifting Spores is quite funny. Blood Sickness is quite chilling, though I think it should have ended page earlier.
15. Shibito no Kowazurai (Lovesick Dead) (scanlated)
16. Frankenstein (scanlated)
Volumes 1 through 3 have been published in the U.S. in some form.
Note: Tomie has its own page because of a third volume that isn't part of Museum of Terror.