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Junji Ito is a world-renowned manga artist who writes many different creepy and scary stories. He’s the perfect author to pick up just in time for the spooky season!

Junji started out by writing short stories, which are featured in his 16 volume collection (in Japanese) that only consists of these comics. As he and his characters grew in popularity, his work began to be translated and moved to the West, where a new audience learned to enjoy his stories and creepy characters.

Collection of books
Original photo by Taylor Moore

Some of his most recognizable work is Uzumaki, Tomie, and Gyo. These are so popular mainly because they’re full-length stories, ranging from about 400–800 pages. Uzumaki follows the story of Kirie, who lives in a small town that is slowly infected by spirals. The shape starts appearing in different iterations and places that are the most unimaginable. It’s a great first read when getting into Junji Ito’s stories. Tomie is about a girl who is beautiful to any man, and once they fall in love with her, they kill her, typically brutally. However, she always comes crawling back in one way or another. Gyo is about a parasite that invades Japan. It starts by taking over fish and wildlife but then moves on to humans and even inanimate objects at some point. Gyo, I think, is the sadder of the stories, but has a more satisfying ending compared to his other more popular stories.

Now, he does have characters that are pretty popular as well that exist in many different short stories and comics. One of the well-known characters is Slug Girl, or Yuuko. Her main gimmick is that she has a slug growing out of her mouth. Her story hasn’t been translated to English officially, but there have been fan translations. Another well-known character is Miss Fuchi. She’s a very tall, conventionally unattractive woman. She is in many different stories that range from her modeling career to her dealing with her children. One of her kids is Souichi Tsujii. He has nails in his mouth and likes to shoot them at people whenever he feels, and Miss Fuchi sometimes gets very upset with him.

My personal favorite story of his, however, is a shorter story called Remina. The premise is that a scientist discovers a new planet and names it after his daughter, Remina. The planet, however, starts devouring the other planets in the solar system and even the moon, so the people of Earth go and attack both Remina and her father since they think it’s their fault that the planet is coming to eat them. This story is an intense story from beginning to end with no slowing down. It’s a quick read and escalates to a huge problem within the first 50 pages, and its total page count is about 200. The book has a lot of religious and cult-like imagery used well throughout the story and makes it even more compelling. You’re always rooting for Remina and her father to escape somehow, even though everyone’s death on Earth is seemingly inevitable.

Junji Ito is known for his distinct art style and how creepy it is. It’s not necessarily graphic, though those with a weak stomach might want to stray away from the creepier stories that involve a lot of death, it’s very well done, and it’s clear that he has a lot of skill and is great at storytelling. Some of his stories and concepts seemingly come out of nowhere and almost always leave you wondering how in the world someone could come up with something like this.

For recommendations to new readers, Uzumaki and Gyo are great for a long series. Smashed and Lovesickness are great story collections. Remina and Yon and Mu Cat Diary are good short stories that still demonstrate that creepy imagery and storytelling just in a short amount of pages. I hope you enjoy Junji Ito’s spooky, creepy horror stories!

Hi! My name is Taylor, and I love all things nerdy! I like to focus on a multitude of different things when it comes to writing, but I usually relate it to pop culture or my own interests!
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