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View Full Version : The corpse gas is spiraling towards the hole meant for me! Junji Ito is weird.


Googleshng
03-05-2012, 06:20 PM
OK, I think it's high time we had a Junji Ito thread. He's that guy who makes all the really weird I'm-pretty-sure-it's-horror manga which you really can't help talking about, like:

Tomie- The supernaturally hot girl who can regenerate from anything, but isn't especially evil, just kind of a spoiled brat.

Uzumaki- Is that the thing where the spirals kill people and a bunch of people turn into snails? Yes. Yes it is.

Gyo- Mechanical legs powered by the gas released from bloated fish corpses totally take over the world.

Hellstar Lemina- A space monster the size of Jupiter comes to earth, licks it, and eats it, over a surprisingly large number of chapters.

Black Paradox- A bunch of people decide to do a group suicide thing, and kinda get sidetracked into strip mining heaven because human souls are a great replacement for fossil fuels.

A bunch of one-shot oddities, yes, including that "This hole was meant for me!" thing.

And of course, that thing where he and his fiance get a couple cats... and that's it. Nothing freaky happens. It just has the same art style as his other stuff. And it's totally awesome.

He also writes weird movies! There's (http://www.kekkai.org/google/cs/tomie-beginning.shtml) a ton (http://www.kekkai.org/google/cs/tomie-another-face.shtml) based loosely (http://www.kekkai.org/google/cs/tomie-replay.shtml) on Tomie (http://www.kekkai.org/google/cs/tomie-forbidden-fruit.shtml), a weird comedy version of Uzumaki (http://www.kekkai.org/google/cs/uzumaki.shtml), and an original thing that's pretty legitimately creepy (http://www.kekkai.org/google/cs/long-dream.shtml).And yes, I'm aware I linked "loosely" to the one that's pulled straight from the manga.

Overall, I say he seriously has a major Lovecraft vibe going on. In the sense of stories which really feel like they're written by an author who's legitimately terrified of the weirdest least threatening on paper concepts that is. Not in the squid-monsters-everywhere sense that isn't actually really representative of Lovecraft's body of work.

Alastor
03-05-2012, 08:34 PM
Good timing. I was having an Ito discussion with like-minded friends a few days ago, and one of them emphatically recommended Gyo.

He let me borrow Uzumaki years ago, in three volumes. I was alone in the house that day, and I just tore right through those. I had to take a break after each volume because the images were really weighing on me, and I was in a downer mood by the end of it. I don't think anything has made me feel like that before or since. As I quickly discovered, one of Ito's most effective techniques is what I call "page-turn dread". The setup and format is planned just so, and lets me know that the very first image on the next page is going to be really fucked up. He's an incredibly gifted artist.

shivam
03-05-2012, 09:03 PM
i read the hole was meant for me story, and i've had nightmares for years as a result. I'm pretty sure i'm never going to touch anything he does ever again.

Adam
03-05-2012, 09:31 PM
i read the hole was meant for me story, and i've had nightmares for years as a result. I'm pretty sure i'm never going to touch anything he does ever again.

HAHA SUCK IT WOLFNARD seriously that sucks shivam

Chu
03-05-2012, 09:35 PM
The only things by Junji Ito that I've read from beginning to end were the Amigara Fault one and the one about his and his fiance's cats. The former was kinda silly and gross, while the latter had me laughing to the point of tears. Which was a good thing!

Healy
03-06-2012, 12:33 AM
Am I only the only one who thinks the creepiest thing about Junji Ito's stuff is his people's faces? I'm not joking here, his freaking-out faces do a lot to sell the scariness of his work.

Anyways I've mostly only read Amigara Fault and this one short comic (like, eight pages) where some kid's parents has to deal with their daughter slowly turning into a facsimile of a wooden doll; it was really gross.

Wolfgang
03-06-2012, 12:35 AM
HAHA SUCK IT WOLFNARD

but... that means I was right, and that people here DID find it scary. Everyone else was trying to say I was wrong, and that nobody did. Y U NO REED ADUM

His work always has one kind of unsettling idea that falls apart as soon as any thought is put into it, and he puts all the thought into it. With intensely goofy art that has his victims end up with googly eyes or noodle limbs or farty or what have you. It's just... it's just laughable.

Adam
03-06-2012, 12:54 AM
but... that means I was right, and that people here DID find it scary. Everyone else was trying to say I was wrong, and that nobody did. Y U NO REED ADUM

You can take your facts and truth and put them in a hole that was made just for them.

Wolfgang
03-06-2012, 01:05 AM
http://i391.photobucket.com/albums/oo354/limelight-drive/Various%20Mood%20Buddies/winky.gif

SpoonyGundam
03-06-2012, 01:05 AM
His work always has one kind of unsettling idea that falls apart as soon as any thought is put into it, and he puts all the thought into it. With intensely goofy art that has his victims end up with googly eyes or noodle limbs or farty or what have you. It's just... it's just laughable.

Yes.

But I do think the dude is in on the joke too, or the cat thing wouldn't exist. I'm okay with thinking of the rest of his stuff as just existing to build up to that punchline.

Googleshng
03-06-2012, 02:49 AM
Am I only the only one who thinks the creepiest thing about Junji Ito's stuff is his people's faces? I'm not joking here, his freaking-out faces do a lot to sell the scariness of his work.

Dude can draw a good face... even if you can't see any of it. I mean, I love the hell out of the hoods the cultists wear in Lemina:
http://www.kekkai.org/google/random/lemina-mask.jpg

He can #$%^ing draw in general really:
http://www.kekkai.org/google/random/uzumaki-1.jpg

I think his main strength though is how often he manages to hit that weird vibe where you can't tell if something is intended as just a complete joke, or actually disturbing, since it largely delivers on both at once. Gyo in particular is pretty much entirely made of that, but particularly the bits with the plastic bag, the lawn shark, and the circus scene. I'm actually fairly sure the intended vibe on that one is primarily supposed to be comedy overall, but on the other hand, it does contain, hands down, the most shockingly undignified corpse reveal I've ever seen in anything.

Actually, come to think of it, out of all his multiple volume stuff, only Tomie and Uzumaki don't have a steady undercurrent of humor to them... and even with those there's some noteworthy exceptions.


Yes.

But I do think the dude is in on the joke too, or the cat thing wouldn't exist. I'm okay with thinking of the rest of his stuff as just existing to build up to that punchline.

That's at LEAST half-true. Arguably even better than the cat thing is the other one-shot in the Gyo collection, where the father's pinned under the house's main structural support and dying and everyone's all "But seriously, how the ^#$% did you get under there?"

Pombar
03-06-2012, 03:13 AM
Gyo is more gross-out than horror, I found. Is this true of most of his works?

BEAT
03-06-2012, 05:55 AM
Reading gyo is like watching a really bad youtube video and wondering why you haven't closed the tab yet.

And then you close the tab and maybe you feel kind of bad for not sticking it out because maybe it was actually really great and you just weren't cool enough for it.

But you don't go back to it because seriously fuck that noise.

Loki
03-06-2012, 06:13 AM
I'm interested in hearing more about this planet licking one. But... not enough to go read it, because seriously fuck that noise.

BEAT
03-06-2012, 06:18 AM
because seriously fuck that noise.I always knew you were awesome.

onimaruxlr
03-06-2012, 08:03 AM
Anybody watch that Gyo anime yet?

shivam
03-06-2012, 08:26 AM
but... that means I was right, and that people here DID find it scary. Everyone else was trying to say I was wrong, and that nobody did. Y U NO REED ADUM

His work always has one kind of unsettling idea that falls apart as soon as any thought is put into it, and he puts all the thought into it. With intensely goofy art that has his victims end up with googly eyes or noodle limbs or farty or what have you. It's just... it's just laughable.
Wait, are there people for whom this is NOT completely horrifying? How fucked up do you have to be for that to be the case?

Behemoth
03-06-2012, 08:29 AM
Wait, are there people for whom this is NOT completely horrifying? How fucked up do you have to be for that to be the case?

It's completely horrifying up until the very end, when you see the stretchy, noodley people, and imagine what happens when they slide out of their respective holes and begin flopping around like landed fish. To me, at least, that isn't a particularly horrifying image, and it retroactively makes the entire story less horrifying as a result.

BEAT
03-06-2012, 08:36 AM
sometimes you get a raw deal when it comes to your hole (http://chainsawsuit.com/2009/12/23/amigara-fault/)

Patrick
03-06-2012, 08:55 AM
I read Gyo a few years back when I worked in a bookstore. It's not actually scary, but it is legitimately creepy and made my stomach feel weird. It's just really gross and creepy, and I couldn't stop reading it.

Also, this. (http://gunshowcomic.com/459)

Zodar
03-06-2012, 09:24 AM
Gyo is one of Ito's weaker works, and the anime is even worse. it doesn't have Uzumaki's slowly escalating dread or the spooky humor of some of his shorts, so you're just left with gross-out rot imagery

as a dude who's grown up having weird aquarium dreams, this (http://monsterbrains.blogspot.com/2010/12/junji-ito-thing-that-drifted-ashore.html) is one of my favorite Ito works. what did they see down there???

Behemoth
03-06-2012, 09:34 AM
Gyo is one of Ito's weaker works, and the anime is even worse. it doesn't have Uzumaki's slowly escalating dread or the spooky humor of some of his shorts, so you're just left with gross-out rot imagery

as a dude who's grown up having weird aquarium dreams, this (http://monsterbrains.blogspot.com/2010/12/junji-ito-thing-that-drifted-ashore.html) is one of my favorite Ito works. what did they see down there???

I love this one because of the seriously anticlimactic ending: "and they were all crazy, the end."

Wolfgang
03-06-2012, 09:39 AM
as a dude who's grown up having weird aquarium dreams, this (http://monsterbrains.blogspot.com/2010/12/junji-ito-thing-that-drifted-ashore.html) is one of my favorite Ito works

There you go - he took a sort of creepy idea and fleshed it out until it was stupid, then slapped a non-ending on it.

tungwene
03-06-2012, 10:18 AM
I just like the guy's art. I don't care if he can or can't put together a story. I tolerate the icky bits and stare at the "pretty" pictures.

Wolfgang
03-06-2012, 10:21 AM
Why did we make an entire thread to defend what we like against Wolfgang? Will he care? Do we?

I thought the original point was that nobody DID like this. I also don't think I have anything to do with it. I also don't understand why you're making it personal, or why it upsets you.

BEAT
03-06-2012, 10:22 AM
The original point is people sometimes like talking about This dude so a thread was made about him.

Not a bad thread either! A fine thread, where people can offer up their opinions on the stuff he makes and so on and so forth.

Gunther, an Otter
03-06-2012, 11:37 AM
Wolfgang I think you are getting a disproportionate amount of sass because it was your initial disparaging of the utmost SCARINESS of the Junji Itos. But you are being unfairly subjective. While you undoubtedly tore forth into our reality from a Frazetta painting, with enormous bronzed pecs glistening with hunksome manvigour, some of us are of FRAILER origins, and remain haunted by the absurd (or ABSURDLY PLAUSIBLE?!?!) situations depicted.

Others have mentioned a desire to dismiss the Ito library, to engage in romantic liasions with That Noise.
But while all too often SUPER GRODY PUKEY GROSS, or haunting sad spooky ghosts. Junji Ito is also a COMEDY GENIUS. (http://i.imgur.com/UUFPo.jpg)

Basically the amount of fear/delight you can get out of Ito depends largely on how much fear and/or delight you get out the idea of a completly absurd universe. Absurd rhymes with BIRD

ThornGhost
03-06-2012, 12:09 PM
Amigara Fault only creeped me out because of my bizarre disgust of hidden organic patterns.

seed cones are the woooooorst

Wolfgang
03-06-2012, 12:10 PM
But you are being unfairly subjective.

All I'm doing is offering up my own opinion. In a community where other people can get away with literally calling other members idiots for enjoying the things they do, I tend to feel like my (admittedly) opinionated take on some things is a little tame. I might say harsh things about a thing, but that's different from attacking someone for liking it.

Basically the amount of fear/delight you can get out of Ito depends largely on how much fear and/or delight you get out the idea of a completly absurd universe.

I guess my horror button is harder to press than some other people's! Then again, I thought Blair Witch was scary the first time I saw it, and one of the scariest movies I've ever seen is Wes Craven Presents: They (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/They_(2002_film)), which I don't think another person besides me has ever actually seen. So take my opinions with a grain of salt?

tungwene
03-06-2012, 12:42 PM
I feel like I'm missing part of some ongoing conversation.

Patrick
03-06-2012, 01:04 PM
I feel like I'm missing part of some ongoing conversation.

It started in the Webcomic thread. If I had more time right now I'd post the relevant bits.

Glass Knuckle
03-06-2012, 01:28 PM
I just read that fish story, and it's the only thing by Ito that I've read aside from Amigara Fault. The event itself and imagery is creepy and creative, but the pacing and dialogue just completely killed it. The fish itself is creepy in a Lovecraftian "this shouldn't exist" kinda way, while the later reveal introduces a second helping of that along with a more immediate and visceral sort of horror. However, in between this we're treated to characters trying to work out what might be happening in a conversational sort of way, which is appropriate for the first few pages but should have quickly been replaced with "ARGHFUCKRUNFORYOURLIVES." The reactions or lack thereof from the characters is so unreal that it ruins the effect.

The fiancee story also served no purpose other than to spoil the reveal that would happen a couple pages later. The girl recognizing him later was all it needed to get the point across that these weren't recent victims.

The imagery from half the pages, without dialogue, would have been far creepier.

I don't remember if Amigara Fault had the same problems, but the idea doesn't work for me anyway. Both the mind-control (if that's what it was) and the Stretch Armstrong zombie were more silly than scary. Just imagining walking into a hole that's too tight to turn around in with no end in sight is far scarier than what the story did with it.

For me, a lot of the completely crazy monsters and events that happen in Japanese horror would be terrifying if they actually happened, but my brain can't go into "creeped out" mode when reading about them because it's too busy going "haha wtf?"

Gunther, an Otter
03-06-2012, 01:29 PM
IF I POST A LINK TO IT, There is a link back here to this Thread. WHATEVER YOU DO DON'T CLICK THIS LINK TWICE OR YOU WILL BE TRAPPED IN A FOREVERLOOP. (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showthread.php?t=3454&page=484)



I guess my horror button is harder to press than some other people's! Then again, I thought Blair Witch was scary the first time I saw it, and one of the scariest movies I've ever seen is Wes Craven Presents: They (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/They_(2002_film)), which I don't think another person besides me has ever actually seen. So take my opinions with a grain of salt?

I do not think you are INACCURATE in saying its totally stupid and stuff. Because yeah, once they leave the walking fish behind its just evil fart clouds. Its all totally stupid. But its also beautifully rendered, and weird and strange and thats NEAT STUFF, Isn't it?

AND WALKING SHARK.
WALKING SHARK IS ALWAYS THERE FOR US. IN OUR HEARTS.
Walking Shark teaches us that maybe we don't have to live in the sea we were born in. The Shifting Seas of Common Opinion. Maybe we can run into new walls and bite NEW THINGS.
But the Ocean is full of Different Sharks and not every shark is walking shark. Some Sharks want to stay in the sea with Ariel and Sebastion and Nemo. Form underwater future bands and solve mysteries.
EVERYTHING IS JUST JAWSOME.

WE COOL? (http://i.imgur.com/zBr2x.png)

Adam
03-06-2012, 01:29 PM
Just imagining walking into a hole that's too tight to turn around in with no end in sight is far scarier than what the story did with it.

That's what did it for me. In fact, I just felt a twinge when I read your sentence. and another one while writing mine.

Wolfgang
03-06-2012, 02:00 PM
That's the whole "one creepy idea" thing. It gets ruined when it gets fleshed out to completion.

And I can totally see getting into it for the weird vibe and the unsettling imagery - I understand that there are a lot of specific, singular images in his comics that are worth looking at and, taken out of context of the story, are pretty striking. It's like, House is a weird, insane, gorgeous movie, but it's not scary in the slightest. I agree with where Glass Knuckle is coming from in that if those things actually happened, it would be horrifying, but WTF lol.

In a way, Ito's stories are literally nightmarish, in that whenever you try to describe a real nightmare you've had to someone, their reaction is typically "yeah, that sounds pretty weird, I guess..." because they aren't experiencing the same inexplicable, inner dread that you are.

Zef
03-06-2012, 02:01 PM
I never thought Amigara's Noodly People were supposed to be scary in and of themselves, but what they were turned into was --whatever managed to come out of the cracks would be irreparably wasted and helpless, unable to do anything but flop around on the ground. The horror doesn't lie in what the squished people can do, but in putting yourself in their place and seeing what the "holes" could do to you.

Wolfgang
03-06-2012, 02:14 PM
The horror doesn't lie in what the squished people can do, but in putting yourself in their place and seeing what the "holes" could do to you.

I get that, and it is kind of gruesome to picture, but then my logical brain kicks in and understands that people would get stuck and starve in the holes long before they could come out the other side, and that six months isn't nearly long enough to deform a human body that severely. And that the resulting bodies could even make it all the way out of the hole, with their limbs broken and twisted like that. I mean, unless we're to believe that these are some kind of magical xylophones holes.

...which, of course, they are. But even then, there's something about it that just doesn't jibe with me as scary as much as it is darkly fascinating on the surface, and ridiculous in its actual depiction.

Octopus Prime
03-06-2012, 02:20 PM
I'm interested in hearing more about this planet licking one. But... not enough to go read it, because seriously fuck that noise.

I agree on all point!

Googleshng
03-06-2012, 02:24 PM
I'm interested in hearing more about this planet licking one. But... not enough to go read it, because seriously fuck that noise.

Hellstar Lemina. Scanned and translated manga oozes from the pours of the internet so all you should need is the title. I'm honestly still not entirely sure how I feel about it overall. Most of it is just people panicking and all, which generally is not my thing, but on the other hand, oh man those cultist hoods.

I do love that it is a horror story set in this goofy, flying cars, Jetsons future. I'm also really impressed by how long it manages to run for and stay interesting. It's like, by about halfway through the first chapter, you're thinking "OK, there's no way this can last for more than 5 more pages," and you never stop thinking that. Plus there's a whole two chapters where people are jumping into a low orbit because of how fast the world is spinning and the nearby huge mass of the planet eating monster... which has goofily full lips and eye-lashes. And then of course there's the actual last 5 pages or so.

Anybody watch that Gyo anime yet?

How the %@#$ did I not hear that existed?

Edit: And one quick trailer search later- That actually looks pretty terrible.

Gyo is one of Ito's weaker works, and the anime is even worse. it doesn't have Uzumaki's slowly escalating dread or the spooky humor of some of his shorts, so you're just left with gross-out rot imagery

Yeah. I mean, it seriously has has its moments, like the plastic bag scene and the whole bit with the shark (http://www.kekkai.org/google/random/gyo.jpg), but it really overstays its welcome and just kinda turns stupid. And the worst part of course is that after the halfway point (if that) the premise has been well-enough established that you're really just sticking around to learn where all these corpse-gas-powered robo-leg things came from in the first place, which never gets anything approaching a satisfying answer.

as a dude who's grown up having weird aquarium dreams, this (http://monsterbrains.blogspot.com/2010/12/junji-ito-thing-that-drifted-ashore.html) is one of my favorite Ito works. what did they see down there???

Oh yeah! I was actually going to single that out as one of his better one-shots, but I couldn't recall the title off-hand.

Why did we make an entire thread to defend what we like against Wolfgang? Will he care? Do we?

Wolfgang didn't really enter into it. I just noticed we were starting to get into a serious sidetrack in an inappropriate thread and figured hey! Why not start a thread just to talk about one of my two favorite horror manga weirdos?

Kishi
03-06-2012, 04:56 PM
Wolfgang is spot-on about Ito. He definitely works in a formula, and it's not a satisfying one. I think I'd like him just fine as a dedicated artist rather than any kind of author, since about all he does well is conceptualize fascinating images (and whatever his narratives might contribute in context could be expressed without words).


Also.



http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e200/grokyou/kaorisucks.gif

Googleshng
03-06-2012, 05:59 PM
Well, he usually works on a formula anyway: We've got our viewpoint girl, she discovers something kinda weird. The weird thing proves increasingly more weird and deadly. The viewpoint girl moves further and further towards doing nothing but scream.* We end up with a tangled mass of human bodies.

* This is the only part of the formula I really have a problem with, and how true/fast it is is usually pretty heavily connected to how weak a given story is. The girl from Uzumaki manages to keep her @#$% together pretty freaking well, and Uzumaki's great. The girl from Gyo snaps completely pretty freaking early on, and eventually kills herself after getting infected by fishbot fin rot, leading us to see her as a fat bloated naked corpse hanging from a rope and spinning around in circles propelled by her nasty-semi-supernatural gut-rot-disease farts, and it's all pretty much downhill from there. Again, Lemina's hard for me to assess, because on the one hand, the main character becomes a Useless Screaming Victim Girl fairly early on, but since the entire premise of the story is a panicked mob composed of basically all of humanity singling her out as a scapegoat and going all witch hunt, it's pretty well justified.

Plus, he doesn't always run with that formula. It's a lot more common in his earlier stuff. His later one-shots and movie-adaptations have a lot more variety to them.

You do more or less always have that factor of "... well that's just @#%$ing WEIRD," and people being generally powerless in the face of the @#$%ing weird, but you can't really call that a formula. That's just a running theme (and the one that makes me compare him to Lovecraft).

shivam
03-06-2012, 06:22 PM
ok, maybe i'm weird then, cause i was scared shitless by that story.

Zef
03-06-2012, 06:29 PM
Lemina's hard for me to assess, because on the one hand, the main character becomes a Useless Screaming Victim Girl fairly early on, but since the entire premise of the story is a panicked mob composed of basically all of humanity singling her out as a scapegoat and going all witch hunt, it's pretty well justified.

I just finished reading that.

And I was enthralled. Not by any semblance of plot or characterization (they were nothing but vehicles to deliver the dreamlike imagery,) but because of how close to home it hit, personally. Once Remina licks Earth and sends it spinning out of control, the whole atmosphere was identical to every last "end of the world" nightmare I've ever had. I blame those nightmares, their sense of detachment and surrealism, for my fascination with eschatological horror, and Hellstar delivered in spades. The visual of countless people flying across the world, gripped by terror and zealotry, with the stars blurring into lines and the landscape blowing up, would be right there with experimental animation from the 70s and 80s (the blurred stars, especially. I would LOVE to see that animated.) The clincher was when the survivors are sealed off in the shelter, with the peaceful acceptance that there's nothing to do but wait for either death or another miracle after Earth has ceased to exist, because that's exactly how one of those nightmares ended too. Seeing the most vivid, strangest, and horrifying dream I've had captured so perfectly (or, at least, the feelings it left me with after waking up) was indescribably weird and I'm still shivering from it. Damn you, Ito.

In a way, Ito's stories are literally nightmarish, in that whenever you try to describe a real nightmare you've had to someone, their reaction is typically "yeah, that sounds pretty weird, I guess..." because they aren't experiencing the same inexplicable, inner dread that you are.

At least as far as Lemina goes, this is it, exactly! Except that Ito somehow tapped into my nightmares, the bastard. I'll reread Uzumaki now, since I haven't done so since I bought the books.

Lemina's backup story was simply bizarre. I don't know if there was supposed to be a message there (probably not) but I liked the twist at the end with the jet fighters. Reminded me of Suicide Club and Kairo/Pulse.

sergiocornaga
03-07-2012, 02:31 AM
Wait, are there people for whom this is NOT completely horrifying? How fucked up do you have to be for that to be the case?

I guess that would be me. Hi!

Before coming to this thread I'd read Uzumaki and Amigara Fault, and now I've also just read Hellstar Lemina, Army of One, Thing That Drifted Ashore and Glyceride (http://www.mangafox.com/manga/yami_no_koe/v01/c001.5/1.html).

For me these stories are mostly too bizarre to be horrifying, and I've been pretty disappointed by all their endings (not so much for Amigara Fault). Glyceride's ending is so dumb it's funny: guy cuts off his own leg for no reason and has grease instead of blood. I think that story is at its best when plausible everyday things are made gross and horrific.

I'm planning to read the New Voices in the Dark anthology next, which is newer so maybe it will be better.

BEAT
03-07-2012, 04:34 AM
I just tried to read that thing you linked to about the supernatural horror of uh... oily skin.

I couldn't.

I got to where the brother is fucking chugging grease in his room all day and closed the tab. And I feel kinda bad about it because I'm sure the end is totally insane or whatever but not bad enough to go back and finish it.

Gunther, an Otter
03-07-2012, 04:56 AM
I think for a lot of readers Comics are less scary than say Movies, because of the absence of sound. Not to mention you maintain control of the pace you're viewing things at. So you can linger and look at the intricacies of the horrible in the dark that a movie whisks you by.

Of course in something totally repulsive like Glyceride that only makes the stomach churning grossness even more awful.

SPEAKING OF STOMACH CHURNING AWFUL, Does anyone know how Junji Ito's Frankenstein holds up? I haven't read it but the bits I have seen tell me one thing. Ito knows how to make "The Monster" Repulsive. Scarred, oozing, bubbling and weeping, its something that almost hurts to look at and for once I can sort of understand Frankenstein's difficulty in accepting his creation.

Time Punch
03-07-2012, 05:55 AM
First off: awesome thread title.

An article on the main page (maybe part of one of the old "GameSpite Issue" series?) lead me to Uzumaki some years back. While the ending was unsatisfying, the journey getting there was absolutely fascinating. I'd never before encountered someone who approached horror the way Ito does, and I couldn't quite put my finger on how or why.

Thanks to this thread, I just read "The Enigma of Amigara Fault" a few minutes ago (very cool story, unsettling as ever,) and I think I have a better handle on why Ito's work...works.

His approach to horror is much more personal, and much more rooted in the fear that your own sense of self will somehow be corrupted or twisted. That Cronenburg style of horror where you're much more terrified of losing yourself, than of anything outwardly nasty happening to you.

Ito compounds that fear by adding compulsion into the mix. At least in the two stories I've read, the characters are irresistibly and inexorably drawn to whatever ends up corrupting them. A double dose of horror: not only are you going to lose yourself, but you can't do anything to stop it. In fact, you'll probably be totally complicit (even if you're scared to death the whole time.)

Take Amigara Fault as an example. The whole "noodly people" ending may not be scary to those not in the holes. At worst, you have noodle people who move bizarrely (if they can move at all) and are probably still very vulnerable to all the things that would kill a non-noodle person. At best, the noodle people emerging from the fault would be hilarious, like Judge Doom after he was flattened at the end of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and everyone has a good laugh at their expense before giving them merciful deaths.

What's really horrifying about that story is what happens to the people who go into the holes, and the fact that they can't stop it from happening. Putting aside even claustrophobia, imagine how awful it would be to wedge yourself into a slot of rock, then slowly wiggle yourself through it.

As you move along, you feel yourself twisting, stretching, and contorting into something not at all human shaped anymore. As that's happening, your mind is doubtless twisting as well. Whatever pops out of the other side of that fault, it isn't you anymore. That's what is so horrifying about that story. Losing yourself, and being unable to stop it.

And Ito does a great job of reinforcing that aspect of his horror. In almost all of his panels there are people (at least in that story, but I remember there being a lot in Uzumaki as well.) Whether it's one of the main characters or some extras, there is frequently a person in the panel. You get used to seeing normal people, and then at some point that is juxtaposed with very not normal people (who were probably normal just a page ago.)

That transformation/transition really slams home how horrible the changes that befall those characters are. Even when you don't see the result directly, just having those familiar human shapes around for most of the story makes it really jarring when something isn't right anymore (spirals/snail people/noodle people/etc.) Ideas that would normally not be creepy become creepy, primarily due to context.

Writing all of that up, I think I understand the ending of Uzumaki a little better, which is actually pretty cool.

I definitely understand how Ito's work may not resonate with some folks, but at least for me it really sticks in my mind. Even years later, I vividly remember moments from Uzumaki; not because of the imagery (though some of that was very striking,) but because the concepts are deeply disturbing.

Glass Knuckle
03-07-2012, 07:18 AM
I'll counter by saying that the "describing a nightmare" analogy from earlier applies perfectly here. The idea of being forced to crawl into a hole like that can be terrifying, but Ito doesn't seem to be able to transfer that feeling over to the reader. It feels like he's just throwing the idea out there and leaving the rest up to you, which works very well for artwork. As I said before, if he just drew some of his ideas as a few pages worth of narrative art with no dialogue, I think the effect would be far more powerful. As it is, he ruins some things by overexplaining them or including an explanation that simply doesn't work, and can't make good use of any of the advantages of text, like getting attached to the characters or being walked through someone else's reaction to something.

I couldn't get to sleep last night so I read the first 13 chapters of Gyo in bed. I'm not certain if the girl ever got a line that wasn't at least tangentially related to the smell and her weakness to it, but otherwise the first few chapters were ok, and the fist bag scene even managed to mix horror and humor without detracting from either. The second bag scene was the point where things started getting stupid, and by the time we got to the researcher uncle calmly telling a story about the leg creatures and generally not giving a shit that he just had to cut off his own arm, which is now crawling around the lab, I was done taking anything seriously. Everything beyond that was ruined by bad pacing, assuming it was worth showing in the first place. After the military story and the severed arm thing, it was obvious that the machines were going to start using people, so readers should have been waiting for a mechanical-leg-zombie takeover long before it happened, and nearly all of the horror that can be taken from that was already used up on the girlfriend, so by the time we get there all the shock and tension is gone.

Had we seen a person being used by one of these things before all the explaining, we'd have gotten the full arghwtfeww effect all at once, and there really wasn't much farther it could go beyond that. The gas thing feels more like it's own tangent and just has me wondering if the guy has a fetish for this somehow.

Whatever the intention behind it, Ito plays it so straight that the more obviously humorous moments detract from the horror for being silly while also being hard to laugh at. His artwork might play a part in this too, as I could find Franken Fran hilarious and disturbing at the same time, but the art here is pushing it too far into disturbing for that to work.

I'd also mention all the things that make absolutely no sense here, but I don't think I have to. The problem with trying to have a scientific grounding to the horror (as opposed to the legs just being aliens or demons or something) is that it has to make a greater effort to be believable, at least for the duration of the story.

Behemoth
03-07-2012, 09:33 AM
Just read Glyceride. Grease, grease, grease, grease, oil, grease, grease, oil, oil, grease.

Zef
03-07-2012, 09:41 AM
http://i.imgur.com/nyCJh.jpg

BEAT
03-07-2012, 09:49 AM
I love you Zef.

Re: My last post, I wasn't really Scared or horrified of the adventures of oil family, though it was definitely gross. I just didn't really want to keep reading it, so I just quit. It was like my Gyo experience on a smaller scale, Finding myself asking "Why on earth am I still reading this" and being unable to come up with a response.

Also I don't like horror that much.

That might be a factor.

PapillonReel
03-07-2012, 09:59 AM
My Little Enigma

Amazing.

I vote we turn this into an EoAF thunderdome. It really is the funniest thing.

EDIT:
http://img214.imageshack.us/img214/1949/ddrddr.jpg

Loki
03-07-2012, 10:13 AM
I don't get the pony one. Why is a tree funny?

Might as well post this...

http://supersquad.gamespite.net/wp-content/uploads/supersquad.gamespite.net/2011/10/SS_095.jpg

Chu
03-07-2012, 10:18 AM
I don't get the pony one. Why is a tree funny?
Is it supposed to be funny? When I didn't perceive a joke I just immediately assumed it was someone's fetish. :(

DemoWeasel
03-07-2012, 10:19 AM
"DRR DRR DRR" sums it all up quite nicely!

Googleshng
03-07-2012, 01:54 PM
Just read Glyceride. Grease, grease, grease, grease, oil, grease, grease, oil, oil, grease.

o/` That icky sticky ooey gooey greasy kid stuff! o/` (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FU5rkuAyX4)

Glyceride's ending is so dumb it's funny: guy cuts off his own leg for no reason and has grease instead of blood.

Er... you did catch that he did that because people so thoroughly enjoyed his barbecued son Mrs. Lovett style, wanted more, and failed to get his daughter treated with the same greased-in goodness, forcing him to chug it himself and cook his own leg, didn't you? Still kind of a cheesy ending, but "no reason" nothing.

First off: awesome thread title.

Yeah, I'm pretty proud of it.

An article on the main page (maybe part of one of the old "GameSpite Issue" series?) lead me to Uzumaki some years back. While the ending was unsatisfying, the journey getting there was absolutely fascinating. I'd never before encountered someone who approached horror the way Ito does, and I couldn't quite put my finger on how or why.

I'm pretty sure nobody ever managed to work a reference to Uzumaki into a GameSpite book, and I don't think Parish has ever read it. Sure it wasn't when I plugged my thing on the movie (http://www.kekkai.org/google/cs/uzumaki.shtml) like 2 years ago?

I'll counter by saying that the "describing a nightmare" analogy from earlier applies perfectly here. The idea of being forced to crawl into a hole like that can be terrifying, but Ito doesn't seem to be able to transfer that feeling over to the reader. It feels like he's just throwing the idea out there and leaving the rest up to you, which works very well for artwork. As I said before, if he just drew some of his ideas as a few pages worth of narrative art with no dialogue, I think the effect would be far more powerful. As it is, he ruins some things by overexplaining them or including an explanation that simply doesn't work, and can't make good use of any of the advantages of text, like getting attached to the characters or being walked through someone else's reaction to something.

This is why Long Dream is one of his better stories. It just takes a weird premise (having longer and longer dreams every night), implies some of the freakier possibilities without actually trying to show it from the perspective of the person dealing with it, and then just lets your imagination do all the heavy lifting. The movie version actually works much better than the original one-shot manga since it's so much slower-paced, so you're pretty much forced to really stop and put yourself in patient 0's shoes there.

Whatever the intention behind it, Ito plays it so straight that the more obviously humorous moments detract from the horror for being silly while also being hard to laugh at. His artwork might play a part in this too, as I could find Franken Fran hilarious and disturbing at the same time, but the art here is pushing it too far into disturbing for that to work.

Yeah, but the thing with Franken Fran is, humor is the goal 90, if not 100% of the time, and the depraved violence and gore is really just in there because the author has a really sick sense of humor. Ito actually is legitimately going for disquieting concepts and imagery as a goal unto itself, even when he's also going for a laugh, and I'm fairly sure in at least a good chunk of his stuff, that weird, confused, "this is just downright wacky but I think I might still have trouble getting to sleep tonight" reaction people tend to get from stuff like the snail chapter of Uzumaki, the circus scene from Gyo, or the "Licked" bit from Lemina is exactly the reaction he's going for.

As for WHY that's his goal, well, it's something nobody else ever goes for, and it's an emotional state that under day to day conditions you usually have to go a bit insane to to reach.

That or he's legitimately scared to @#$%ing death of the craziest stuff, and needs to work in some humor to take the edge off.

That or almost his entire body of work really does just exist solely to establish the expectations one has to have to fully appreciate the glorious creation that is the cat manga.

Dizzy
03-07-2012, 01:59 PM
His work always has one kind of unsettling idea that falls apart as soon as any thought is put into it, and he puts all the thought into it. With intensely goofy art that has his victims end up with googly eyes or noodle limbs or farty or what have you. It's just... it's just laughable.

That's enough truth-speaking from you Wolfgang!

But yeah, this guy is hilarious. I do admire his art. He doesn't skimp on the graphic detail and disturbing imagery... it is objectively disturbing in my mind, and I sense a dedication and hard-earned talent lacking in other comics-artists-types who'd pursue this genre. But he can't craft a nightmarish tale at all. Like a campfire ghost story, he begins with the promise of something intensely foreboding but once the boogeyman is out of the bag so to speak, you can't help but feel disappointed and then tickled.

I thought the original point was that nobody DID like this. I also don't think I have anything to do with it. I also don't understand why you're making it personal, or why it upsets you.

lollerskaters

ur such a bizarrely sensitive asshole, why do you have to make things personal poop-eater

SilentSnake
03-07-2012, 02:10 PM
I'm pretty sure nobody ever managed to work a reference to Uzumaki into a GameSpite book, and I don't think Parish has ever read it. Sure it wasn't when I plugged my thing on the movie (http://www.kekkai.org/google/cs/uzumaki.shtml) like 2 years ago?

He's talking about this thing (http://www.gamespite.net/toastywiki/index.php/Media/Uzumaki) Nich wrote.

Wolfgang
03-07-2012, 02:21 PM
ur such a bizarrely sensitive asshole, why do you have to make things personal poop-eater

Keep it in the Pit, droid.

ajr82
03-07-2012, 02:28 PM
Since we're posting the funny Amigara fault stuff, I guess I'll post the chainsawsuit (http://chainsawsuit.com/2009/12/23/amigara-fault/) comic.

The comic's okay, but it's the news post that really makes me laugh:
sometimes you get a raw deal when it comes to your hole

i hope you’re not as unlucky as our hero in today’s strip

it is arguable that it wasn’t even made for him

it is arguable he just got jealous and went into a dumb cave

Zef
03-07-2012, 02:41 PM
Dammit. I've been going through an Ito binge because of this thread. And I'll say this: if Tomie wasn't inspired by something else, the guy has serious issues with women. I'm curious about the film (http://www.mandiapple.com/snowblood/tomie.htm) adaptations (http://www.mandiapple.com/snowblood/tomierebirth.htm) though (even though Higuchinski's Uzumaki (http://www.mandiapple.com/snowblood/uzumaki.htm) was the crappy, regrettable kind of "weird.")

And I swear I read a story identical to The Hanging Balloons elsewhere. And no, it wasn't Pokemon (http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Drifloon_%28Pok%C3%A9mon%29).

Googleshng
03-07-2012, 07:31 PM
He's talking about this thing (http://www.gamespite.net/toastywiki/index.php/Media/Uzumaki) Nich wrote.

I need to have that thing taken down. It's an embarrassment.

Really? I'd say it's a pretty decent review honestly. And oh yeah, I totally forgot about that period where a bunch of random people were selected to write random front page updates to keep the site active.

Dammit. I've been going through an Ito binge because of this thread. And I'll say this: if Tomie wasn't inspired by something else, the guy has serious issues with women. I'm curious about the film (http://www.mandiapple.com/snowblood/tomie.htm) adaptations (http://www.mandiapple.com/snowblood/tomierebirth.htm) though (even though Higuchinski's Uzumaki (http://www.mandiapple.com/snowblood/uzumaki.htm) was the crappy, regrettable kind of "weird.")

And I swear I read a story identical to The Hanging Balloons elsewhere. And no, it wasn't Pokemon (http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Drifloon_%28Pok%C3%A9mon%29).

I don't know if I'd particularly call issues with women with regards to Tomie. I mean, the stated premise is pretty much "Tomie is the embodiment of any and all negative traits that could be found in a woman cranked to 11" (vain, jealous, selfish, manipulative), but a significant number of Tomie stories (most?) have a normal average girl who isn't portrayed in a negative way, and honestly, Tomie herself, surprisingly often, actually comes off as a totally reasonable and sympathetic character. Especially in some of the original-script movies (which have the benefit of not being The First Thing He Ever Wrote And Awkward Because Of It).

I would however be open to calling Probable Issues With Women on the girl from Gyo (and various lesser examples of the protagonist girl who just freaks out the whole time), or the way he acts around his wife in the cat manga.

But anyway yeah. Tomie movies. You can pick up a boxed set of the first 5 dirt cheap. (http://www.amazon.com/Tomie-Collection-Artist-Not-Provided/dp/B000H5U66G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1331175457&sr=8-1) I have it and gave them all the review treatment a while back. Overall they tend to be a LOT more focused on the human aspect of things (having an immortal girl around who turns any guy who sees her sucks, and being said girl also sucks) where the manga focuses way more on the body horror potential of the regeneration angle.

Specifically...
Tomie (http://www.kekkai.org/google/cs/tomie.shtml) I watched after the prequel the covers the same ground so I can't fairly judge it.
Another Face (http://www.kekkai.org/google/cs/tomie-another-face.shtml) is a shorts collection that's pretty light hearted and enjoyable if you can get by how painfully made for TV it is.
Replay (http://www.kekkai.org/google/cs/tomie-replay.shtml) is a pretty solid adaptation of Basement.
Rebirth (http://www.kekkai.org/google/cs/tomie-rebirth.shtml) is terrible.
Forbidden Fruit (http://www.kekkai.org/google/cs/tomie-forbidden-fruit.shtml) is original, has a decent budget, and quite enjoyable I thought.
Beginning (http://www.kekkai.org/google/cs/tomie-beginning.shtml) (not in that boxed set, but Netflix had it) is a prequel to the first movie oddly enough, and frankly, Quite Goofy. I watched it before watching/reading any of this other stuff which probably gives me an unfair bias towards it, but it's largely about Self-Aware Snarky Jerk Tomie just breaking the whole thing down for people, which is just great.

And then there's like 4 or 5 more at this point I haven't seen because I can only watch this premise get run into the ground so long without needing a real long break. One's by the Machine Girl guy though, so... that one at least I'll eventually have to check out I suppose.

SilentSnake
03-07-2012, 07:34 PM
Really? I'd say it's a pretty decent review honestly. And oh yeah, I totally forgot about that period where a bunch of random people were selected to write random front page updates to keep the site active.

Actually, this was before even that (and before print issues!), when GameSpite articles were arranged into virtual issues and anime and manga articles were allowed.

Also, I know good writing, and that's good writing, Nich. It made me reconsider my indifference of Ito, and that's saying something.

Maggie
03-07-2012, 08:47 PM
I need to have that thing taken down. It's an embarrassment.

It's what got me to read Uzumaki in the first place.

sergiocornaga
03-07-2012, 10:06 PM
Er... you did catch that he did that because people so thoroughly enjoyed his barbecued son Mrs. Lovett style, wanted more, and failed to get his daughter treated with the same greased-in goodness, forcing him to chug it himself and cook his own leg, didn't you? Still kind of a cheesy ending, but "no reason" nothing.

But he closed the restaurant. Surely he has no reason to cook himself?

Googleshng
03-07-2012, 10:29 PM
But he closed the restaurant. Surely he has no reason to cook himself?

"Sign: Closed for business, reopening as circumstances allow."

Read: We will reopen once we have more super-greasy meat in stock.

Read: After I grease-infuse and murder my daughter to provide said meat.

But as that's clearly not working out (at least not fast enough because she's on to him), he just goes with plan B- Severing cooking and serving his own grease-tastic leg.

Wolfgang
03-07-2012, 10:37 PM
That sounds less like J-horror and more like Goosebumps. Or Treehouse of Horror.

Googleshng
03-07-2012, 10:51 PM
I did specifically call it a cheesy ending. Just pointing out it isn't out of left field.

Also, a couple of his short collections actually are compilations of old campfire stories for little kids. Don't recall if this was from one of those though.

blinkpen
03-08-2012, 02:24 AM
It's what got me to read Uzumaki in the first place.

Same here.

I like Junji Ito. His stuff is creative an bizarre and sits comfortably in a surreal nightmare territory that not enough horror occupies in my experience.

Time Punch
03-08-2012, 05:02 AM
He's talking about this thing (http://www.gamespite.net/toastywiki/index.php/Media/Uzumaki) Nich wrote.

That's the one! I tried to dig up a link to that article, but I had no luck.

I need to have that thing taken down. It's an embarrassment.

Just wanted to echo what others have said: your article pointed me towards Uzumaki, and as a result I wound up reading something I really enjoyed. So, thanks for that. :)

Glass Knuckle
03-08-2012, 05:11 AM
Just finished up Gyo. That...really did not go in the direction I thought it would.

Zef
03-08-2012, 09:31 PM
Ito's horror is more like a series of extremely morbid jokes without punchlines. he writes like a malicious trickster-god playing pranks on his characters; the ones who lose their minds/souls get that manic grin because they're in on the joke

http://i.imgur.com/EmCZc.jpg

Googleshng
03-08-2012, 09:54 PM
Just finished up Gyo. That...really did not go in the direction I thought it would.

Yeah, Gyo takes a pretty sharp turn around halfway through. Unless you compare it to Black Paradox. Seriously, it's pretty amazing like that. It seems crystal clear what you're in for with the first two chapters and then all of the sudden you are reading a very very very different story.

Glass Knuckle
03-09-2012, 02:21 AM
Yeah, you're going to have to take everything I said about it earlier with the understanding that I thought, overall, this was still trying to be primarily a horror story.

I read a few of his short stories, and they seem to work a little better as straight horror aside from his habit of making it kinda silly on the last page, or even the last line of text. Like, the one where a girl's hair beheads her and runs off on its own. That image of it tied up in the rafters was amazing, but in the last panel or two the girl running from it suddenly understands exactly what it is and explains it to the audience for no reason.

Behemoth
03-09-2012, 07:51 AM
http://i.imgur.com/EmCZc.jpg

In the last panel, are those thousands of spider crickets under that whatever-it-is? If so, that's certainly representative of my nightmares.

Googleshng
03-09-2012, 12:45 PM
Yeah, you're going to have to take everything I said about it earlier with the understanding that I thought, overall, this was still trying to be primarily a horror story.

Black Paradox.

Seriously.

Pajaro Pete
03-09-2012, 12:53 PM
Has anyone watched the GyoVA? Is it any good?

Glass Knuckle
03-11-2012, 09:33 AM
I don't get the pony one. Why is a tree funny?


Bit late to this but... (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1V7utCUmS8&feature=related)

shivam
03-11-2012, 10:16 PM
I showed the hole made for me to some friends and they had nightmares and shit too. My friend Amanda read it, and the next morning there was an earthquake and she woke up screaming. You guys who aren't scared but this story are terrifying to me.

upupdowndown
03-12-2012, 11:06 AM
Horror's really subjective, so I'm not surprised that there's varying reactions to Amigara. Personally, i think that itwould have been so much more effective and horrifying if it closed with the protagonist monologuing as he inched slowly towards an unknown destination, in the dark, and he felt himself began to change. the DRR DRR DRR noodle people sting at the end suddenly makes things too literal and laughable (for many).

As for the glyceride/grease story... yeeeeesh, I needed a shower after reading it. I don't think this one is meant to scare you. It's essentially a story about abuse and shame.

Dizzy
03-12-2012, 12:09 PM
If I have to stretch my imagination in order to feel fear, it's not horrifying (in the non-grotesque sense) for me.

Googleshng
03-15-2012, 04:19 PM
Has anyone watched the GyoVA? Is it any good?

I have now! And...
NO. (http://www.kekkai.org/google/cs/gyo.shtml)

The short version is it's terrible because they decided to cram every single plot point from the original manga into an hour long movie without even the slightest understanding of how the slow boil pacing is kinda the whole appeal.

The medium version adds in the fact that they arbitrarily wrote the main character out entirely, pretty much doing the whole thing from the viewpoint of screamy girl (who they split into 3 characters), but still had the original main character do all the plot advancing stuff. Just... off camera and summed up in a recap later. Also, some of the time they saved by glossing over everything at ridiculous speed was used to toss in a double penetration sex scene. Also, visually it's just a terrible mess of bad lazy unshaded 2D humans fleeing totally out of place CGI fish.

The long version is behind that link there.

Queen Possum
03-31-2012, 07:57 PM
So if I was gonna read some Junji Ito, where would be a good place to start*?

*Other than Amigara Fault, because I've been on the internet for more than five minutes so obviously I've read it already, geez.

Pajaro Pete
03-31-2012, 08:08 PM
Uzumaki.
Hellstar Remina.
Cat Diary: Yon & Muu.

Queen Possum
03-31-2012, 08:09 PM
Well. It's good that they have Uzumaki at the local bookstore then.

Googleshng
03-31-2012, 10:18 PM
Everyone loves Uzumaki. For good reason! It's weird, transitions nicely halfway through from loosely connected one-shots to a single major storyline, and there is some really really nice art. So yeah, start with that.

The cat thing is wonderful, but read a bunch of other stuff first.

Gyo is kinda iffy and overstays its welcome, might as well put it off or skip it (or, read it up until the shark and accept it's all downhill from there).

Hellstar Lemina (or Remina if you prefer) is kinda weird, but good and short.

Black Paradox fits the same bill, but it starts downright goofy and ends up weird.

Short story collections, in general, are some pretty good stuff (although, the adaptations of a bunch of old ghost stories aren't really his storytelling style). The big exception here being...

All the Tomie stories kinda suffer from being The First Thing He Ever Did. So... really awkward art, and he hadn't quite found that Lovecraft style fear-of-the-unknown-and-inexplicable voice yet.