4 Best Junji Ito Books Update 05/2022

Best Junji Ito Books

Junji Ito is the master of horror, and no manga is quite like a Junji Ito manga. While terrible stories have been told for as long as there have been stories, and mythologies all over the world are rich with creatures and tales of fear, horror as a genre has only been established in the last century.

When we think of that genre, we immediately think of Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, James Herbert, and other well-known English language authors. But none of these authors can portray the true fear of a Junji Ito manga.

Junji Ito’s awareness of fears and the unknown distinguishes his manga stories from those of so many other horror writers. Ito’s work has a Lovecraftian feel to it, as well as inspiration from Japanese folklore. But these are just the ingredients; Ito’s intellect is the oven that bakes them all together into something entirely and truly terrifying.

In more ways than one, Junji Ito is a maestro of terror. He’s a mangaka who knows how to create a sense of creeping terror, hideous horror, and calm paranoia. He preys on our worries and phobias that we don’t talk about. Junji Ito’s manga makes readers fearful of things they didn’t realize they might be terrified of.

Ito creates horrors out of everyday objects, and this is at the heart of his bizarre imagination. That, and his mastery at drawing the human figure in twisted, fractured, and changed forms. He knows how to do bodily horror better than anyone else.

Let’s look at the guy, his influences, his method, and — most crucially — the finest Junji Ito manga accessible (and why it’s the best) to give all this gushing about Junji Ito manga some substance.

If you’re a horror or manga fan (or both), you’ll find out where to start reading Junji Ito’s work here, as well as why readers hold his works in such high respect.

Who is Junji Ito?

Junji Ito’s manga is regarded as the best of Japanese horror fiction both inside and outside of Japan. Despite the fact that Japan has a long history of crime and mystery fiction, as well as horror writing, Junji Ito continues to stand apart.

Ito was born in the prefecture of Gifu in the year 1963. Tomie was his first horror novel, which we’ll cover further down. This horror manga was released while Ito was only 24 years old, and despite being his first, it is still one of his most popular works.

Unlike other well-known Japanese authors, such as Haruki Murakami, whose early works are largely neglected nowadays, Ito’s early works are still highly regarded.

Ito publishes everything in the form of manga, which he writes and draws himself. Even Junji Ito’s manga, which doesn’t fall neatly into the horror category, has weird and unpleasant qualities in its illustration. That is Ito’s style, and that is what distinguishes him from the others. Here’s a horror and terror writer that lives and breathes it.

Junji Ito worked as a dental assistant before becoming a full-time writer and during the writing and release of Tomie. It took him a little longer to break away from the 9-5 grind and devote all of his time, effort, and passion to his manga production.

Junji Ito’s impact may be traced back to other horror manga legends such as Kazuo Umezu, author of the iconic Orochi: Blood, all the way to H.P. Lovecraft, the inventor of eldritch horror fiction.

The Lovecraft influence is apparent as day after reading such Junji Ito manga stories as The Thing That Drifted Ashore and The Enigma of Emigara Fault. Both of these horror stories have a strange way of dealing with the impossible, the unknown, and the otherworldly.

There’s a sense that these authors are daring to describe what shouldn’t be described at all. What sets Junji Ito’s manga apart from even H.P. Lovecraft’s writings is that he dares to illustrate them as well as write them.

Ito’s originality and ability to stand out stems from the fact that he is a mangaka. While Ito’s horror stories have a lot in common with Lovecraft, Umezu, and even Kobo Abe and Stephen King, it’s his unique ability to bring what he imagines to life in startling, horrifying detail that sets him apart.

Junji Ito’s manga challenges us to face the demons of his imagination, and it appears that he relishes doing so.

Junji Ito Manga Books

Junji Ito manga is available in three different formats. His longform graphic novels are the first. These are longer tales that tell a series of intertwined horror tales.

His adaptations are the second. Ito has decided to (or may have been asked to) convert a handful of famous novels by Japanese and Western authors from prose to manga in recent years.

We’ll go over the first two forms of Junji Ito manga in this collection of Junji Ito books. In the following section, we’ll look at Ito’s third form: his best manga short tales, as well as where you can get them.

Sensor

Sensor

Junji Ito has always been a fan of Lovecraftian world-building and storytelling, but never more so than in the superb Sensor. H.P. Lovecraft is the subject of a 200-page love letter (minus the racism).

Sensor quickly spirals into a world of religious cults, telepaths, time travel, and unknowable cosmic beings, beginning with an unnatural natural phenomenon (golden volcanic hair falling like real hair onto a village). Sensor by Junji Ito is more Lovecraft than Lovecraft.

Kyoko Byakuya finds herself at the foot of Mount Sengoku in the first chapter of Sensor, amidst the gentle falling of golden volcanic hair. She encounters a man who recognizes her and encourages her to visit his hamlet. She hears about Miguel, a Christian missionary who was shielded by the peasants during Japan’s persecution of Christians.

Following the startling events of this chapter, Sensor switches to the point of view of an unassuming freelance reporter who is drawn to Byakuya’s story.

We see the rest of Sensor unfold through his eyes, as cults and cosmic horrors emerge to the surface. Everything twists and mixes in unexpected ways: the volcano, the hair, the Christian missionary, the village.

Sensor makes heavy use of Junji Ito’s signature twisted imagery and body horror, yet it does it sparingly. He saves the most shocking visual effects for when they’ll hit you the hardest, or when they’ll best aid to underscore Sensor’s wild twists and turns.

There is one chapter in particular that features a peculiar bug. This headless creature with a bloated torso and extended antennae is hideous to begin with, but as the story unfolds, it becomes much more so. The detailed gore that Ito is known for is in full force right now.

In Sensor, Ito’s method of depicting facial expressions and emotions is consistently exceptional, as is his normal approach. Because of the link we make through their expressions, we get so invested in the lives of these characters. Junji Ito is the master of the human face.

Uzumaki

Apart from a few short stories, the Uzumaki manga is likely Junji Ito’s most well-known work (found below). Uzumaki is a colossal work of horror fiction that was originally released in three volumes and is now accessible in a single collection.

Uzumaki means’spiral,’ and that is exactly what the story is about. Junji Ito’s manga is frequently defined by a single concept. That concept is then taken up and turned into a terrible menace (or, rather, transformed and perverted).

Ito is a master of taking a single idea and following it to some really dark and horrible areas, from greasy skin to holes in rocks and marionette dolls. That idea is a spiral in the Uzumaki manga.

The plot of Uzumaki takes place in the fictional Japanese village of Kurozu-cho, which is shrouded in fog (literally Black Vortex Town). A curse involving the spiral emblem has struck this community. It’s a story about the power of symbols in both modern and ancient communities, particularly in Japan.

Uzumaki follows Kirie and Shuichi, a young couple who observe other townspeople succumb to the spiral’s curse. This curse creates a mind-boggling state of paranoia and fixation, which ultimately to death.

This is a Junji Ito manga that pays eloquent tribute to the Lovecraft school of horror: this inconceivable, unknowable entity that drives innocent people insane and even kills them.

Remina

Remina

It’s no secret that H.P. Lovecraft’s mind and works have had a significant influence on Junji Ito’s writing, drawing, and design style. Ito’s most infamous skill as an artist is his twisting and contortion of the human body into something inconceivable and hideous.

The cosmic dimension of cosmic horror, on the other hand, has been less widely explored in Lovecraft’s approach. The Thing That Drifted Ashore is a good example (below).

Remina fills this need by delivering cosmic terror on a grand scale. This Junji Ito manga follows a scientist named Dr. Oguro as he discovers a new planet that has appeared out of nowhere via a wormhole. He names the planet Remina after his daughter, before swiftly realizing that Remina (the planet) is on her way to Earth.

The planet Remina is an unknown creature that appears to be living, conscious, and on its approach to Earth, devouring planets and everything else in its path.

As conspiracy grips the population, they assume that the planet is headed towards its namesake, Remina the girl becomes famous, then feared. The novel explores the impossible, unstoppable cosmic horror as well as the very real terrors of conspiracy and lunacy on the ground.

Ito’s art is at its best in this scene, creating a world that appears ill, living, and terrible. Nameless, the great cosmic horror comic masterwork by Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham, is somewhat reminiscent of this Junji Ito manga.

Remina is a must-read Junji Ito novel if you’re a lover of H.P. Lovecraft and Grant Morrison, or if you want to see what Junji Ito’s intellect can achieve with science fantasy cosmic horror.

Tomie

Junji Ito’s first ever published manga is still a highly acclaimed and widely read work. It’s also his most well-known and well-known horror story. Tomie’s later stories are more grounded and less anchored in the impossible, otherworldly, Eldritch terror.

The title character Tomie is a succubus, a beautiful young seductress who returns to repeat the cycle of seduction and death no matter how many times she is killed. Tomie has a bad habit of enticing men and then driving them to murder. Despite the fact that Tomie is frequently their selected victim, she always returns to cause havoc.

Even from the synopsis, it’s evident that this is a more classic Junji Ito monster-horror narrative. Written when he was only twenty-four years old, it illustrates his horror beginnings and is nevertheless a worthwhile read, even if it does not exhibit his fully developed horror imagination.

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