Anime to watch this Halloween: Junji Ito Collection

Written by Tundun Folami

When it comes to horror anime and manga there is probably no name as prolific as Junji Ito. With a career spanning over 30 years, and with classics such as Tomie and Uzumaki under his belt, my recommendation for the horror anime you should watch this Halloween should come as no surprise: Junji Ito Collection.

The Junji Ito Collection doesn’t follow any cohesive plot, instead, it is a 12-episode anthology collection. The series brings to life 24 short horror stories from the terrifying mind of Junji Ito, with each episode featuring two different stories with their own separate worlds and characters. Although originally released in 2018, any time is the right time to visit (or revisit!) the work of the master of horror. The anthology format is also perfect for binging or selecting specific episodes for your Halloween viewing.

True to Junji Ito’s brand, there are no profound life lessons or morals being told in these stories. Instead, the main intention is to unsettle or distress the viewer as much as possible through creepy imagery and themes. Even if you’ve never consumed any stories by Ito, there are no doubt certain iconic characters that may be recognisable to the standard anime fan: familiar faces such as Tomie and Souichi make cameos throughout the series. However, the spotlight in this anthology is on some of Ito’s lesser-known works, which arguably makes them more interesting to watch unfold.

If you’re not feeling up to a marathon, some personal highlights from Junji Ito Collection include The Long Dream, Shiver, and The Window Next Door.
The Long Dream features some of the series’ most outlandish depictions of body-horror, as patients begin complaining of increasingly long dreams and transform into Lovecraftian creatures. Depending on your disposition, Shiver will either be one you love or hate as it contains some of the more chilling scenes where mysterious holes start appearing on the bodies of those that come close to a cursed object. Similarly to Uzumaki’s iconic spiral imagery, The Window Next Door’s defining character is haunting and satisfyingly macabre.

Music, and sound in general, within the horror medium is probably one of the most important things to nail as it dictates the atmosphere and drives the tone. A lot of the eerier moments in the series are intensified by the choice of sound direction, and it makes the experience more immersive. The opening and ending themes may not be what you would typically expect from a dark horror anime, however, I’d argue that the subversion of this expectation adds another layer of fascination to the series as a whole.

There’s enough content to enjoy in this anthology collection for those that may have previously hesitated to dive into the waters of Junji Ito’s frightening and fascinating imagination. The anthology format allows you to start with any episode and offers a great starting point to explore Junji Ito’s stories both printed and animated.

With Junji Ito’s signature unnerving imagery, great music, and easily consumable episodes, Junji Ito Collection is an ideal watch this Halloween.
You can watch the Junji Ito Collection on Funimation right now.

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