3 Picks for Junji Ito Fans
Most manga fans, especially those who enjoy horror, know the name Junji Ito. The legendary manga author is widely regarded as the king of manga horror, for good reason. His work is prolific, endlessly creative, and expertly drawn. Of course, it’s very scary too.
We at Betty’s Books are huge Ito fans (duh), but now that we’re neck deep in spooky season, we thought what better way to get into the Halloween spirit than tell you about some other scary manga faves? So, if you love all things horror, buckle up! We’re going for a ride.
Be Very Afraid of Kanako Inuki! by Kanako Inuki
Like we said above, many consider Ito to be the king of horror manga, but the role of queen surely belongs to Kanako Inuki. Alongside peers such as Ito, she rose to fame in the horror manga boom of the 90s, solidifying her spot in the genre forever. Unlike her male peers, however, Inuki has yet to take off in the western manga market at the same level, and much of her work remains untranslated. Which is a shame, because she rocks!
This collection puts together six of the author’s most popular tales, strange and horrific in classic Inuki fashion. Her art style is unique; the characters often have an uncannily cute look about them that clashes wonderfully with the horrors lurking around the corner. If you’re looking to be thoroughly unsettled, look no further–Inuki is surely your girl.
PTSD Radio by Masaaki Nakayama
A lot of people have compared PTSD Radio
to Junji Ito’s famous Uzumaki
, but the two are incredibly different. Both authors show a masterful ability to take the mundane and twist it into something horrific, but the structure and storytelling in PTSD Radio
greatly diverges from that of Ito’s masterpiece.
While Uzumaki is a cohesive story following the same characters throughout, PTSD Radio presents itself as a collection of uber-short stories that are often subtle in their creepiness, but otherwise unrelated. However, as you progress, connections start to emerge that reveal to the reader an overlying story Nakayama expertly weaves. If you’re the type to crave concrete answers and endings, this may not be for you–much of the creepiness lies in what remains unsaid.
Orochi by Kazuo Umezz
Where PTSD Radio’s
Ito comparison is often Uzumaki
, the horror master’s work that comes to mind in this case is Tomie
. Just like the previous pick, however, this comparison is surface level.
Both works follow mysterious young women who bring…trouble where they go. The first edition of Orochi was published in 1969, and you can see that in Umezz’s art style, which is far less “modern” and realism-forward than Ito’s. This style combined with Umezz’s storytelling pace results in a cinematic manga experience that almost feels like watching an old horror film.
Ito himself has called Umezz a significant influence in his work, to the point that he outlined his fan experience in a short story titled Master Umezz and Me. So, it’s safe to say that this pick is 100% Ito approved.