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Master of Horror Manga Junji Ito Shares His Thoughts on the 'Junji Ito' Collection Anime

posted on by Kim Morrissy

Esteemed horror manga artist Junji Ito appeared at an autograph signing event to celebrate the release of the first part of the complete DVD collection of the Junji Ito "Collection" anime. This event was held at the Shibuya Tower Records on April 14.

Before the signing, Ito shared his thoughts on the anime. He said that he was more eager than anyone to see an anime adaptation of his work, but that he's still incredulous that it actually happened. Naturally, he's stoked about the end result.

It is Ito's opinion that the anime is of very high quality. Ito's work has been adapted into live-action films before (e.g. Uzumaki), but as brilliant as he believes all those films to be, Ito remarked that live-action inherently looks different from his manga art, so something about it always feels “off” in comparison to an anime. He also thought that there were some moments when the anime “transcended” the manga, thanks to the addition of music and animation.

In particular, Ito highlighted the episodes about Souichi (episodes 1, 5, and 12) as funnier than his original manga. He enjoyed the animation and voice actor Yuji Mitsuya's ad libs. Ito wrote the original stories as comedies, but found himself bursting out in laughter at the anime version. Ito further mentioned that his favorite stories in the first half of the series were “Boy at the Crossroads”, “Marionette Mansion”, and “Slug Girl”.

Ito also talked about his influence on the anime adaptation. As a fan of Tchaikovsky, he listened to his music a lot as he was drawing “Marionette Mansion”, and requested putting classical music into the anime. Ito is generally a fan of the musical choices in the anime, and said that the use of trumpets in the “Boy at the Crossroads” story made the story very distinctive.

Toward the end of the talk, the discussion shifted toward Ito's own creative process for drawing manga. He said that he thinks about interesting or distinctive bodies and how they would work, before imagining how that would play out in a story. He is often inspired by seemingly normal and mundane things in everyday life.

Junji Ito's prolific manga works include the Tomie stories about a beautiful woman that drives her admirers to murder, Uzumaki about the increasingly strange events--all centering around a spiral--that take over a Japanese town, and the sci-fi fish zombie manga Gyo. Tomie made an appearance in the Junji Ito “Collection” anime while Gyo inspired its own original video anime in 2012. Viz Media has released Ito's Tomie story collection, Gyo, Uzumaki, Fragments of Horror, and most recently Shiver in North America. The company recently licensed Ito's Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection manga. Kodansha USA has released his not-so-scary true story manga about learning to live with his fiance's cats under the title Junji Ito's Cat Diary: Yon & Mu, and Vertical licensed and released The Dissolving Classroom.

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