Hey Hey Heroes, Travelers, and Wandering NPCs, it’s October and here on Blerdy Otome we’re taking a trip into the depths with a month full of Halloween themed posts. And what better way to celebrate Halloween Month than with the Master of Horror, Junji Ito! He is one of my favorite horror mangaka, crafting some of the best horror manga out there, his works range from quirky black comedies to full on nightmare fuel, and I cannot recommend him enough if you’re looking for something deeply unsettling to read. He has a way of making the mundane terrifying, with his surreal stories and unique characters, you can’t help but get drawn into his tangled web of terror!
While rereading a few of his oneshots, I got to thinking what would I do if I found myself the unwitting victim of one of his many horrors. Hell, most of his stories either end in tragedy, death, or in the off chance he’s in a good mood, bittersweet. There really is no getting away scott free in a Junji Ito story, so I did the next best thing and crafted a list of tips that will at the very least keep you from dying a gruesome painful death… If you’re looking for something slightly more optimistic, check out How To Woo and Otome Guy in 5 Easy Steps, for everyone else, here are five helpful tips that are sure to give you a fighting chance against, Junji Ito’s classic horrors.
Step 1: Don’t Trust a Pretty Face
Typically, beauty is attributed to purity, innocence… goodness. But, if you find yourself confronted with someone too good to be true… RUN! This is not a suggestion, this is an absolute must! If they look like they belong on the runway at NY Fashion Week, run! Do not pass Go, do not collect $200, just run like your life depends on it… because it just might!
Example: In Ito’s Tomie, the titular character is a unnaturally beautiful woman, her looks literally drive men to madness, which given Ito’s penchant for theatrics results in some rather unique and gruesome deaths.
Step 2: Don’t Be Beautiful
Do you have a face that could launch a thousand ships? Do your friends compare your fair visage to that of the goddess Aphrodite? Well, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you won’t last long in a Junji Ito horror story. The Master of Horror has a habit of punishing pretty people. So, sometimes it pays to be a little homely.
Example 1: In Hellstar Remina an astronomer discovers a new star and names it after his own daughter, and both become world famous… that is until the star begins hurtling towards Earth.
Example 2: My personal favorite is Ito’s oneshot, ‘Dying Young’ in which a disease causes girls to become extremely pretty. At first this seems like a good thing until all the afflicted start dying. A rumor starts to spread that if you kill another girl by a certain date, the disease will spare you… you can imagine what happens next.
Step 3: Pay Attention To Omens, Signs, and the Ravings of Madmen
That weird ache in you’r grandma’s left knee… the crazy guy on the corner raving about the end of days… that unsettling feeling in your gut… these are your friends, trust them. If someone says something looks weird trust them! If your bespectacled boyfriend says the spirals are going to consume you all, don’t just laugh it off! Even if whatever it is sounds insane, you must treat it like it is an absolute and act accordingly. Do not ignore the warning signs!
Example: Shuichi tried to warn everyone about the spiral at the beginning of Uzumaki (see below images), but no one, not even his girlfriend Kirie took him seriously… now they’re all dead.
Step 4: Listen to Your Body
Is your hair getting a little long? Noticing weird warts on your body? Feeling unusually sluggish? Growing another head? Better schedule a trip to the doctor’s (or barber) ASAP. Listen to your body, these medical marvels are not to be ignored!
If you start exhibiting the following, my condolences:
- Unexplained/sudden beauty
- A beauty mark under your left eye
- Long shiny hair with a slight curl at the end
- Rapid hair growth
Step 5: Doubt everything, chances are it’s evil
If Junji Ito has taught me anything, it’s that any and everything could be considered a threat. Yes, you read that right, even the most mundane thing could be a threat to your very survival, so trust nothing! Dogs, cats, birds, fish, you name it and it’s probably been the subject of a Junji Ito horror story.
Example 1: In The Human Chair Ito shows the lengths some people will go through just to be close to someone.
Example 2: Read Uzumaki, I promise you’ll never look at a spiral the same way again…and… THEY ARE EVERYWHERE!
Congratulations, You’re Alive!!
Okay, anyone that has ever read a Junji Ito story knows that surviving isn’t always the best outcome. After all being tormented by evil spirals, a deranged 10 year old, and malevolent spirits really takes a toll on one’s mental state… but, at least you made it out with your life!