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Junji Ito is one of the top leading mangakas in the horror genre, his most popular works being Uzumaki, Tomie and The Enigma of Amigara Fault. His Tomie series have been adapted into a series of movies and TV specials, eventually followed by a movie adaptation of Uzumaki.

He used to also work as a dental technician until the early 1990s, which probably explains a couple of things about his work.


Some of his works:


Tropes commonly found in his works:

  • And I Must Scream: Many of his endings count as this.
  • Astral Projection: Possible subversion in Deadman Calling. The "ghost" of a criminal sentenced to death visits the home of his only living victims every night, begging for forgiveness. On the night when his sentence is carried out, the "ghost" stops appearing.
  • Author Appeal: Hair and obsessions with beauty often appear in his works.
  • Bad Humor Truck: Ice Cream Bus. You are what you eat...
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: You can usually get a good idea of who's going to be a nice person/protagonist just by looking at them.
    • However, it is also equally obvious what the character is like if their "beauty" goes a tad over the top.
    • If a character's role in the story shifts at all, there's usually a corresponding shift in appearance. Compare Koichi (the balding man) on this page to a couple of pages later. Regaining one's sanity apparently makes you look a few years younger.
    • Inverted in Dying Young. Girls catch a disease which makes them extraordinarily pretty, but kills them soon after. A rumor is spread that killing another girl on a certain date will stave off death.
    • Downright subverted in Army of One (the short story at the end of Hellstar Remina), where the protagonist's crush was revealed to have stitched her parents together. Whether she became afflicted with the sewing madness by her loneliness and despair, or was one of the parties responsible for the incidents, is left unanswered.
    • Averted in Ice Cream Bus: The bus looks normal and the driver is handsome, but children are slowly turned into ice cream after they ride the bus.
  • Bee-Bee Gun / Everything's Worse with Bees: The boy in Beehive who could control bees and used them to fend off hive robbers. Then, after the boy is killed and buried, they make a hive around the boy's head and start tending to him.
  • Beware of Hitch-Hiking Ghosts: Subverted to Hell and back in Anything but a Ghost.
  • Black Comedy: Creepy as they are, it soon becomes obvious that he's more interested in having fun with his stories than in treating them as matters of deadly seriousness. See also: Uzumaki's human jack-in-the-box and the continuing misadventures of Soichi Tsuji.
  • Body Horror: And how! His work essentially runs on this trope.
    • In Hell'o Dollies, Doll's disease is turning children into dolls. And that's before it gets worse.
    • To say nothing of Flesh-Colored Horror...when we see what Chikara's mother's idea of "beauty" is.
    • Uzumaki
    • The Enigma of Amigara Fault
    • Tomie runs on this. When you kill her, each part becomes a new Tomie. You get to watch her body slowly reform over the course of weeks. Also, the only way to kill Tomie is to burn her entirely. Any parts left are still alive and capable of speech!
  • The Chew Toy: Soichi Tsuji, the sinister, nail-eating villain of several short stories, tends to have his various evil schemes backfire on him in the most gruesome, humiliating manners possible, in marked contrast to the usual fate of an Ito antagonist.
  • Creepy Child: Especially Soichi and his potential son.
  • Death Glare: In the Valley of Mirrors
  • Downer Ending
  • Ear Worm: A particularly malevolent in-universe version serves as the supernatural menace of the day in 'Songs In The Dark'.
  • Eldritch Abomination
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: What many folks learn when they try to bend the various malignant forces in the stories to their own purposes. In Soichi's case, repeatedly.
  • Fan Disservice: If there's nudity or skimpy clothing in his works, don't expect it to be played for titillation.
  • Gross-Out Show
  • Hive Mind: A subversion in My Dear Ancestors. Risa's amnesia was caused by her seeing the scalps and brains of every member of Shuichi's family grafted to his father's head. The end implies that each one still actively thinks.
  • Humanoid Abomination
  • I Ate What?
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Soichi's potential son.
    • Also all the customers at the Greasy Restaraunt, after Yui and her father kill her brother.
    • A weird subversion in Anything But A Ghost. Misaki doesn't eat people...she eats ghosts. And they bleed.
  • Lighter and Softer: Neko Nikki compared to the rest of his works.
  • Living Statue: Inverted in The Earthbound, in which living people attach themselves to a certain spot, totally unmoving. Eventually, they turn to stone.
  • Monster Sob Story: To varying degrees. While the antagonists of his stories are often Complete Monsters or Eldritch Abominations or worse, there is the occasional antagonist who has more sympathetic motives.
    • For example, the father in Approval cruelly and repeatedly denies the hand of his daughter to a suitor because asking for his permission to marry is the only way that he can see his daughter's spirit.
  • Murderous Mannequin: One short story was about an artist who made headless mannequins (though his reason was for people to appreciate the body-language, not the face). Then his creations came to life, began killing people, and placing the victims' heads on their necks. Yeah.
  • Nightmare Face: See the page image up there? There are worse faces in most of his works.
    • The Adjacent Window. Hello, neighbor...
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Ito himself is a pretty clear example.
  • Only Six Faces: Particularly noticeable in his short stories. The character designs used for Kirie and Shuichi from Uzumaki appear all over the place with different hairstyles.
  • Over the Shoulder Murder Shot: This panel.
  • Playing Against Type: Neko Nikki compared to the rest of his works.
  • Planet Eater
  • Posthumous Narration: If there's any good in the world.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: See the list above? Yes, Junji Ito created a manga adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
  • Rule of Scary: Applied liberally, in much the same way as other writers would use the Rule of Cool.
  • Self-Parody: Ito actually managed to draw a pet diary once . Needless to say, his fiancee wasn't amused when she became his signature scary woman with the Glowing Eyes of Doom.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Featured in one chapter of Uzumaki and in the short story In the Valley of Mirrors.
  • Surreal Horror
  • The Dog Bites Back: A rather literal case of a cat biting back. Soichi curses the family cat, Colin, and lives to regret it.
    • Chikara from Flesh Coloured Horror get's back at his psycho mom by dissolving her skin suit with acid, dooming her to eventually mummify.
  • The Stars Are Going Out
  • Toilet Humor: One of his stories is titled A Shit to Remember. You can pretty much guess what it's going to be about.
  • World of Symbolism: Many of the reveals only make sense when taken metaphorically.
  • You Are Worth Hell: In Den of the Sleep Demon, Mari's boyfriend Yuuji risks being turned inside out by a dream version of himself every time he falls asleep. When he finally passes out, Mari duct tapes her hand to his, hoping that will keep him anchored and that his counterpart will not be able to crawl out of his mouth. It fails. When the counterpart's arm comes out of Yuuji's mouth, Mari finds herself being dragged in by the hand as he is turned inside out. Rather than try to free herself, she allows herself to be pulled in so she can stay with him.
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