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Shiver by Junji Ito (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

January 7, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

If you love horror and you love manga, Junji Ito is the master of horror manga.  And “Shiver” which collects nine stories plus one bonus story is a fantastic manga collection worth owning and reading!

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Image courtesy of © Junji Ito 2015. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Shiver

STORY AND ART BY: Junjo Ito

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: Viz Signature/VIZ Media

RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: December 19, 2017


A best-of story selection by the master of horror manga.

This volume includes nine of Junji Ito’s best short stories, as selected by the author himself and presented with accompanying notes and commentary. An arm peppered with tiny holes dangles from a sick girl’s window… After an idol hangs herself, balloons bearing faces appear in the sky, some even featuring your own face… An amateur film crew hires an extremely individualistic fashion model and faces a real bloody ending… An offering of nine fresh nightmares for the delight of horror fans.


For those not familiar with Junji Ito’s work, his work such as “Tomie”, “Umuzaki” and “Gyo” are horror manga that no doubt gives you the goose bumps.

From creepy plots to hair-raising expressions of characters, Ito is appreciated by manga readers for his terrifying manga stories.

And now a collection of short stories are featured in “Shiver”, a collection of nine of Ito’s best short stories selected by Ito and also comes with notes and commentary.

Featured are the following stories:

  • Used Record – What happens when a girl becomes entranced to a song on vinyl capturing death?
  • Shiver – What is wrong with the girl next door and why are holes developing all over her body?
  • Fashion Model – A filmwriter is having nightmares and when the director hires a popular model that looks like a demon, what happens when they head to film scenes in the woods?
  • Hanging Blimp – Heads are floating around the city with nooses and are chasing their real life counterparts.
  • Marionette Mansion – Children of a father who was a puppeteer wonder if the puppeteer controls the puppet or is it vice versa?
  • Painter – What happens when a mysterious woman goes to a famous painter and has her paint her?
  • The Long Dream – A woman is in the hospital scared to die, while another man in the hospital is having dreams that are lasting months.  What happens when a doctor does his research on both individuals?
  • Honored Ancestors – A girl has amnesia and a boy is trying to help her gain her memories back.
  • Greased – What happens when a family has oil and grease all over their homes and how does it affect them?
  • BONUS UNPUBLISHED STORY: Fashion Model: Cursed Frame – What happens when the demon model returns?

You have to give a lot of credit to Junji Ito.

From reading “Uzumaki”, I gained an appreciation of creating creepy horror stories and for the most part, there typically is no hope for the protagonist.  Typically, his stories showcase a cloud of darkness over a city, town or individual and you see stories like this manifest in his earlier short stories as well.

If I had to pick my favorite stories, I have to first say that every short story featured in “Shiver” are very good and considering they were chosen by Ito himself, these stories are downright freaky.

The scariest would have to be stories relating to the scary fashion model.  I was reading this story (and the second bonus story) probably around 1:00 a.m., lights off, just my reading flashlight on and I was creeped out by the way he was able to draw her, a tall female figure with a long face and shark teeth.

And everyone reacts to her as most people probably would and say she’s creepy and sure enough, when they say it, she happens to be right there and her response is not so kind.  It’s quite violent and bloody.

Speaking of violent and bloody, one who is scared of seeing depicted bloody scenes or body parts strewn around, have been cautioned because this book does feature some gnarly artwork on certain panels.

Even with taking something so basic and turning it into a horror story is quite creative as Ito takes “oil” and showcases a family where grease and oil is everywhere around and it starts to get in their clothes, their skin (giving one acne) and so much more.  It’s quite disgusting and probably while not plausible, it made me think for a little while of my deceased grandfather’s apartment reeking of smoke from him smoking cigarettes and just walking into the home for a few minutes, you would come out smelling like cigarettes.

For “Greased”, it was similar but it dealt with grease and the family would eventually be consumed by it in a deadly kind of way.

And I won’t discuss anymore because these stories are meant to be read and enjoyed.  And for some, creep you to the point where you may want to pee in your pants.

But know that if you love horror and you love manga, Junji Ito is the master of horror manga.  And “Shiver” which collects nine stories plus one bonus story is a fantastic manga collection worth owning and reading!

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VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES THE RELEASE OF JUNJI ITO’S FRAGMENTS OF HORROR MANGA

June 2, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The Celebrated Creator Of GYO And UZUMAKI Returns With A Brand New, Frightening Manga Short Story Collection

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San Francisco, CA, June 2, 2015 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest publisher, distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, sends chills down the spines of readers as it debuts Junji Ito’s FRAGMENTS OF HORROR on June 16th.

Set to be published under the VIZ Signature imprint, the new manga (graphic novel) release is rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens and will be offered in a deluxe, hardcover print edition that will carry an MSRP of $17.99 U.S. / $21.00 CAN.

FRAGMENTS OF HORROR contains a unique collection of delightfully macabre tales from the master of horror manga. An old wooden mansion that turns on its inhabitants. A dissection class with a most unusual subject. A funeral where the dead are definitely not laid to rest. Ranging from the terrifying to the comedic, from the erotic to the loathsome, these stories showcase Junji Ito’s long-awaited return to the world of horror.

“FRAGMENTS OF HORROR is a fantastically creepy collection that marks the renowned creator’s return to the horror manga genre after an 8-year sabbatical,” says Masumi Washington, Editor. “Readers craving something sinister and delightfully strange will relish these unsettling vignettes, and Junji Ito’s striking artwork and eerie tales will haunt the minds of fans long after reading.”

Manga creator Junji Ito made his professional debut in 1987 and has gone on to be recognized as one of the greatest contemporary artists working in the horror genre. His critically acclaimed titles include TOMIE and UZUMAKI, which were adapted into critically praised live-action films, as well as GYO, which was adapted into an animated feature film. The UZUMAKI and GYO manga editions are both published in English by VIZ Media in deluxe hardcover editions available under the VIZ Signature imprint. Ito’s influences include classic horror manga artists Kazuo Umezu and Hideshi Hino, as well as authors such as Yasutaka Tsutsui and H.P. Lovecraft.

For more information on FRAGMENTS OF HORROR and other Junji Ito manga titles published by VIZ Media, please visit www.VIZ.com.

About VIZ Media, LLC
Headquartered in San Francisco, California, VIZ Media distributes, markets and licenses the best anime and manga titles direct from Japan. Owned by three of Japan’s largest manga and animation companies, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media has the most extensive library of anime and manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa. With its popular digital manga anthology WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and blockbuster properties like NARUTO, BLEACH and ONE PIECE, VIZ Media offers cutting-edge action, romance and family friendly properties for anime, manga, science fiction and fantasy fans of all ages. VIZ Media properties are available as graphic novels, DVDs, animated television series, feature films, downloadable and streaming video and a variety of consumer products. Learn more about VIZ Media, anime and manga at www.VIZ.com.

Uzumaki Deluxe Edition – Hardcover Omnibus by Junji Ito (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

October 26, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

uzumaki

If you love horror or creepy manga, Junji Ito’s “Uzumaki Deluxe Edition – Hardcover Omnibus” is highly recommended!

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Image courtesy of © 2010 Junji Ito. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: Uzumaki Deluxe Edition (うずまき)

STORY AND ART BY: Junji Ito (伊藤 潤二)

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shogakukan

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC

RATED: T for Older Teen

Available on October 15, 2013

Kurozu-cho, a small fog-bound town on the coast of Japan, is cursed. According to Shuichi Saito, the withdrawn boyfriend of teenager Kirie Goshima, their town is haunted not by a person or being but by a pattern: uzumaki, the spiral, the hypnotic secret shape of the world.

 

It manifests itself in everything from seashells and whirlpools in water to the spiral marks on people’s bodies, the insane obsessions of Shuichi’s father and the voice from the cochlea in our inner ear. As the madness spreads, the inhabitants of Kurozu-cho are pulled ever deeper into a whirlpool from which there is no return!

Mangaka Junji Ito is known for his horror manga series.

Best known for stories such as “Tomie” about an immortal girl who turns her admirers mad or “Gyo” about killer fish and spiders who develop legs and now want to turn humanity into monsters that they control, suffice to say, his stories are quite interesting because he leaves the reader feeling unsettled, because there is no closure, no happy endings and he’s not afraid of killing off major characters.

And it’s one of the reasons why his works are revered.  A rebellious mangaka who does things his way, his style and not following the usual traditional manga ways of telling a story.

While “Uzumaki”, a three volume manga series written back in 1998-1999 for “Big Comic Spirits” was released by Viz Media in 2001 and again in 2007 and now re-released as a deluxe omnibus edition in Oct. 2013.

The manga series also led to a live film adaptation in 2000 but a different ending as the film was completed before the final manga volume was completed.

“Uzumaki” (which translates to “spiral”) is a story that takes place in Kurozu-cho, a small town on the coast of Japan.  The story focuses on Kirie Goshima, a teenager attending Kurouzu High School and lives with her mom and dad and a young brother named Mitsuo.  Her father is a potter and she is dating Shuichi Saito, who just started attending another high school in the next town.

One day, she notices a whirlwind in town and while walking home from school, she sees Shuichi’s father looking at a snail in the wall and so focused on it.

She sees Shuichi at the station and tells him that she saw his father.  He tells her that he has been acting strange and has started collecting spirals and is obsessed by them.

Kirie notices that he has been depressed and he tells her that he wants to leave town with her and they both should leave because they will go crazy.  And that everytime he comes back home at the station, he feels dizzy.  Everything around Kurozu-cho looms over the area but most of all, the town is contaminated by spirals.

Meanwhile, Shuichi’s father goes to Kirie’s father to create a spiral ceramic.  As Kirie and Shuichi arrive to his house, he hears their parents arguing and Shuichi’s mother has thrown away her father’s spiral collection.  But then, Shuichi’s father begins to talk about how one can express a spiral through their own body and Kirie witnesses Shuichi’s father’s strange behavior as he tries to make his eyeball spiral and then his tongue, scaring her.

A few days later, Shuichi’s father is dead.  The word was that he fell down from the stairs and died but in truth, he died making himself a spiral inside a tub.  At the funeral, the smoke of Shuichi’s father’s cremation begins to shoot upward and the smoke has turned into a huge spiral.  Shuichi’s mother thinks that she saw her husband in the smoke and starts screaming.  She is taken to a hospital and everything spiral begins to haunt her.  So bad to the point that shave her head, clipped the skin off her fingers to avoid any spiral fingerprints and trying to rid all spirals from her body.  But a caterpillar (Shuichi’s father) has crawled inside his mother’s ear and tells him that there is a spiral inside her head and wanting to rid of all spirals, gets a scissor and rams it up her ear.

And slowly, weird situations begin affecting the town.  People with spirals on their backs, turning into snails.  People who live in a certain area, twisting and becoming spirals, people growing spirals in their forehead until they are consumed by it.

Something terrible is going wrong and it’s too late for Kirie and Shuichi to escape.  They must endure the wave of unusual, strange and horrific experience that will hit the town of Kurozu-cho.

Will they survive or will they be consumed by the spiral?

In 2013, horror fans and fans of Junji Ito’s horror works, have been treated with a Blu-ray/DVD release of the anime OVA “Gyo” and now with the re-release of “Uzumaki” via a hardcover, deluxe omnibus format.

And while most people who are familiar with the name “Uzumaki” as the family name of Naruto and the spiral symbol on the back of the Leaf ninja’s vests, “Uzumaki” was released before “Naruto” and for Junji Ito, he has been creating creepy works since 1987 with “Tomie” and the majority of his work have been adapted for film and television.

And one thing that Junji Ito is known for is not giving a story any closure and endings that are often best interpreted by the viewer/reader.

As for “Uzumaki”, the storyline revolves around a small foggy town in the coast of Japan that has been consumed by spirals and through the eyes of Kirie Goshima, the readers witness how this young woman, along with her boyfriend Shuichi, have discovered unusual occurrences in their city as people have been twisted or consumed by spirals.

Every chapter is about how certain people have met their demise by a spiral and how people have died horrific deaths.  And part of what keeps you glued to “Uzumaki” is seeing how people die but wondering if Kirie or Shuichi will survive the entire ordeal?

There are many crazy chapters and Junji Ito has come up with horrific ways for people to die.  One crazy example is a group of women who suddenly became pregnant and are admitted to the hospital.  At nights, the pregnant women become bloodsucking monsters and prey upon the sick in the hospital, for their blood in order to feed their baby.  Kirie has seen it, as one of her cousins is among the women pregnant.  But after giving birth to the babies, the doctor goes crazy and now wants to put the baby back into their mothers stomachs because the babies are telling him to do it.

Another crazy example features Kirie’s friend or rival who wants Shuichi.  Seeing as Kirie is competition, the rival then begins to exhibit a spiral on her forehead, while Kirie’s long hair turns into a spiral and both begin attacking each other.

Each chapter is creepy but yet in an entertaining way, you feel that your obliged to read the book until completion.  It’s that good!

But the artwork by Junji Ito is well-drawn but it’s when he gets creepy with the darkness under the eyes of an individual or those who have been possess by a spiral, he manages to capture the agony of these victims with horrifying efficacy.

Once again, I caution those who have never followed a Junji Ito work to know that he’s not a mangaka that creates happy ending stories, nor does he create manga caring for his main characters. Everyone is expendable.

And last, don’t expect any ending or conclusion…Ito doesn’t give closure to a story all that much.  He just continues to show how horrifying things can happen to a person and he doesn’t stray away from those types of stories.

Overall, if you love horror or creepy manga, Junji Ito’s “Uzumaki Deluxe Edition – Hardcover Omnibus” is highly recommended!

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GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack! (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

July 10, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

tokyofishattack

What if fish, sharks and sea creatures had the ability to walk on land and destroy humanity?  “GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack” is crazy, bizarre and with a short storyline that will leave you craving for more!

Purchase this DVD from Rightstuf!

Image courtesy of © Junji Ito, Shogakukan/Anime Bunko. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack!

YEAR: 2012

DURATION: 70 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9 LB, Japanese Dolby Digital Stereo and 5.1 Surround, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Aniplex of America

RATED: Suggested 16 and Up

Release Date: July 9, 2013

Based on the Original Manga by Junji Ito

Directed by Takayuki Hirao

Script by Akihiro Yoshida, Takayuki Hirao

Storyboard by Takayuki Hirao

Music by Go Shiina

Character Design by Takuro Takahashi

Art Direction by Kazuo Ebisawa, Satoru Kuwabara, Takamasa Nakakuki

Animation Director: Makoto Nakamura, Takuro Takahashi

3D Director: Kojiro Shishido

Anime Production: ufotable

Featuring the following voice talent:

Mirai Kataoka as Kaori

Ami Taniguchi as Erika

Hideki Abe as Shirakawa

Hiroshi Okazaki as Professor Koyanagi

Masami Saeki as Aki

Takuma Negishi as Tadashi

A devastating, disgusting “Death Stench” is spreading across Japan, creating deadly mutant fish as it covers the land!

The country is being invaded by ferocious fish with sharp metal legs, hell-bent on death and destruction! Amidst the carnage, Kaori embarks on a desperate quest to find her missing boyfriend before he is lost to the mayhem that is sweeping the land. Facing four-legged killer sharks, machine-driven squid, and the myriad dangers of Tokyo, now an urban war zone, Kaori must find the truth behind these mechanical monsters and face an evil greater than she ever could have imagined.

When it comes to horror manga, Junji Ito is well known for his works.  From notable titles such as “Tomie” and “Uzumaki”, in Japan people have been spooked out by the “Tomi” horror film series (a total of nine films have been released in Japan) plus an Uzumaki film that scared viewers back in 2000.

But in 2001 and 2002, Ito wrote one of his most unusual stories yet titled “Gyo”.  Released as two volumes and published by Shogakukan for the magazine “Big Comic Spirits”, an anime OVA adaptation of “Gyo” by Ufotable (“Fate/Zero”, “Coyote Ragtime Show”, “Mobile Suit Gundam SEED”, “Weis Kreuz Gluhen”) was released in Feb. 2012.  It’s important to know that the anime version is loosely based on the manga version and a lot of details of certain characters have been changed considerably.

The OVA is directed by Takayuki Hirao (“Death note”, “Majocco Shimai no Yoyo to Nene”, “Futakoi Alternative”), a script co-written by Hirao and Akihiro Yoshida (“Fate/Zero”), character design by Takuro Takahashi (“Fate/Zero”, “The Garden of Sinners”) and music by Go Shiina (“Kyouogiga Dainidan”).

And now, “Gyo” under the title of “GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack!”, was released in the USA on DVD Courtesy of Aniplex in July 2013.

“GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack!” begins with a fishing freighter that discovers something unusual in the fish they have caught.

The film then switches to Kaori and her fiance Tadashi talking on the phone.  Kaori has gone to Okinawa with her friends Erika (who is often flirting with men and wearing skimpy clothes) and Aki (shy and not as skinny as the other two) to stay at Tadashi’s uncle’s summer home near the beach and both are looking forward to getting married within six months.

As they walk to the summer home, the three start smelling a horrible stench but as the three young women head to the home, we see a fish eye looking at them from a distance.

As the three open the door to the house, a bad stench emanates from the house and they start hearing noises around the house.  As an unknown thing starts running around the house, Kaori smashes it with a drawer but what shocks them is that they see a fish but with legs like a spider with spikes attached to it.  Kaori takes the fish out to the garbage because of its horrible stench, but as she makes a call to Tadashi, the dead fish starts to balloon and escape from the garbage.  But Kaori said the stench that she has been smelling is not of a fish but a dead corpse.

The following morning, Erika invites two local guys into the home, so she can have a threesome.  While Erika is having fun with the two men and Kaori and Aki wondering why their friend can’t help herself, while the two guys and Erika are about to have some fun, a shark comes in and breaks into the house and starts attacking.  The shark with the spider legs and spikes begins to attack everyone in the house.

As the shark nearly kills Erika, Aki is too scared to run begs Erika for help, but Erika ends up kicking Aki in the face.  The shark ends up puncturing Erika with one of its spiked feet and while the shark tries to lunge at Kaori.  Kaori manages to dodge the shark who goes out the second floor window and falls to the ground.  When Kaori goes to check, she sees thousands of fish and sea animals with legs walking.  In Okinawa, an infestation of fish creatures with legs have come from the beach and entered Okinawa.

The news broadcasts the infestation of walking fish creatures and show that regular gunfire will not kill them.

When Kaori calls her fiance, Tadashi tells her to not come to Tokyo.  But when their call is disconnected, she becomes frightened that something bad may have happened, so Kaori makes a decision to go back to Tokyo, leaving Erika and Aki in Okinawa.

As Kaori leaves to Tokyo, she meets a freelance photojournalist named Tsuyoshi Shirakawa who is investigating the creatures and Professor Koyanagi, the only person who may know where these fish creatures are from.  Shirakawa realizes that he had seen Kaori before and that she is the girlfriend of Tadashi, Professor Koyanagi’s assistant.

But when Kaori and Shirakawa arrive in Tokyo, they quickly realize that the city has been taken over by the walking fish creatures.  Will Kaori be able to find Tadashi and will she and Shirakawa managed to get from the airport to Tokyo?

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack!” is presented in 16:9 LB and Japanese Dolby Digital Stereo and Dolby Digital 5.1.  It’s important to know that the OVA is default on stereo, so you need to go into setup to change to 5.1.  Ufotable did a great job in recreating Okinawa and Tokyo for this OVA.  Very good CG use from depicting thousands of fish swimming in the ocean or going through city streets.  Character designs were good but not as detailed and no shading.  If anything, it’s the environment that helps build upon the series.  While I’m sure the OVA would look a lot better on Blu-ray, on DVD, picture quality is good.

As for the audio, via the Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, the sounds of fish or creatures scurrying around were very good, especially the more action intense sequences that result throughout the film.  There is no English dub included on this DVD release.

Subtitles are presented in English..

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack!” comes with no special features.

In America, we have had our fair share of horror/science-fiction films that depict some alien or supernatural sentient alien terrorizing humans.

From blobs to zombies, we have seen it all.  And the same goes for Japan, from manga, anime and video games, there have been many storylines that revolve around various types of infestation with the insect infestation featured in the video game series “Earth Defense Force” and how humanity is under the threat of large versions of insects.

For the concept of “GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack!”, what if fish, sharks and other creatures had the ability to walk on land and attack any living thing with a virus?  If anything, the sound of attacking fish and sharks in Tokyo streets is so bizarre that I had to see it for myself.

And while bizarre and crazy, “GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack!” is entertaining because you wonder how the film’s protagonist, a young woman named Kaori will survive the onslaught of creatures and why is it, that after being punctured by one, she has not been taken over by the virus?

While intriguing, campy and fun, unfortunately, this is a film that has no closure.  I’m not even sure there is a continuation of the OVA as the storyline for “GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack!” was changed considerably when compared to the original manga.  For example, in the manga series, Tadashi is fighting against the creatures, trying to come up with a vaccine as he is the only person immune to the virus for some reason.

In the anime, Tadashi is nothing like that.  The OVA focuses on Kaori, a woman who is immune to the virus (in the manga, she is infected).  The situations between Tadashi and Kaori are reversed in the OVA.

Also, the OVA adds the character of freelance photographer Shirakawa, who aids Kaori during her return to Tokyo.    The manga series features Dr. Koyanagi’s assistant Ms. Yoshiyama who is not in the OVA and the character Tadashi replaces Ms. Yoshiyama as the assistant.

But because the OVA ends with no true conclusion, I wonder if there are sequels planned to show humanity worldwide revolting and finding a way to destroy these monsters?  I just felt that there should be more to the story and if anything, why the deviation from the original manga series?

As for the DVD, picture quality and its soundtrack are good.  But there are no special features, so for the most part, this is a barebones anime DVD.

The DVD is suggested for 16 and up and while it is not horror that is too disgusting, you will see dead humans, humans who have been assimilated by the virus and seeing tubs up their butt and their mouths (as the gas radiating from their bodies allow them to walk).  It’s creepy and crazy but I think most viewers will find “GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack!” to be fascinating rather than scary.

Overall, “GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack!” is a horror/sci-fi OVA anime series that may not be too scary, but for its bizarre antagonists and its fascinating storyline, I found the film quite entertaining.  But I can only hope the story is continued by Ufotable and that viewers we’ll see a sequel to help tie-up some loose ends left by this first OVA.

“GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack” is crazy, bizarre and with a short storyline that will leave you craving for more!

Purchase this DVD from Rightstuf!

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