Recent Netflix Cartoons Junji This crazy guy maybe a mixed bag for fans, but that’s okay by anthology standards. Junji Ito Maniac is the latest attempt to bring the horror works of mangaka Junji Ito to television. Following on from the Junji Ito Collection in 2018, the series has a lot to prove due to the fumbling of the previous show’s source material according to fans. Maniac compiled twenty stories into twelve volumes from different periods in Ito’s career, and for the most part, Ito’s stories of disturbing creatures work very well.
What makes anthologies so appealing to a wide audience is that it is a series of short stories that have a common theme or creator tied together. They have been a popular form of storytelling for many years, especially on television with series like The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. However, what makes them so hard to succeed is knowing how they can be mixed together. Each story tends to be told through the lens of a different creative team, so some stories can be more effective than others. The important thing, though, is that there are more good stories than bad stories, and Junji Ito Maniac really accomplished this with some excellent adaptations of Junji Ito’s iconic nightmare stories.
The best stories in Maniac Good job translating Ito’s works to the screen
When Junji Ito Maniac nailed one of Ito’s stories, it was one of the best horror stories in modern anime. Stories like The Headless Statue and The Whispering Woman strike at the head the eerie nature of Ito’s art style. The way the characters are portrayed is disturbing enough to send chills down the viewer’s spine. The series also succeeds in making some of Ito’s signature touches work as well, if not better, than their original material. In particular, the ending of Ice Cream Truck has a strong impression as a disturbing ending that will make viewers uncomfortable even though there are not many gore scenes shown. However, the best story of the bunch is definitely Hanging Balloon. This iconic story by Ito with many layers of meaning and hidden themes is arguably one of his best, and the way the anime comes to life with the extra emphasis on music. The sound makes it as unsettling as it is on the page.
Stories of the weaker of Maniac biting more than they could chew
Of course, this doesn’t mean that every story in Maniac is perfect. Like most anthologies, there are a few silly things from time to time. Four x Four Walls comes to mind because it feels out of place, even though it features the popular Ito villain Soichi. There’s too much focus on comedy for a horror anime. Perhaps the biggest offenders are the volumes adapting a smaller story from a larger part in the original manga. For example, Intruder is just a story in the series about a boy who is haunted by extra-dimensional beings in his house. By sticking to just one story from this installment, a lot is missing in terms of context. This was amplified even more when the film adaptation of The Strange Hikizuri Siblings, was based on a sequel to the original story and had a hard time trying to bridge the gap. Ito’s short stories are among the best of fiction, but a select few in Maniac don’t nearly work well without the right context.
Fortunately, Maniac’s flawed stories are few and far between. There are so many stories to go with this new adaptation, and it does a remarkable job of bringing what makes the author’s story so terrifying to life. This is Junji madness is a must-see for mangaka fans, and if it avoids the recent string of cancellations from Netflix, it will be interesting to see what stories will be adapted in the following seasons.
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