UZUMAKI (2018)
Creator: Junji Ito
Publisher: Shogakukan
Genre: Cosmic Horror, Dark fantasy, Supernatural

The Duality of Junji Ito

For those of us who have known Junji Ito, we know the duality of one of the most extravagant and visceral creators not only of manga but of universal horror literature. On the one hand, we have the creator whose work is synonymous with creepy and intriguing horror and on the other, we have Junji Ito person, kind, generous, and charismatic. That creative Jekyll and Hyde persona is what makes him strong. There is no better way to have peace with your demons than to take them out for a walk like with a very restless dog.  After a long walk, he calms down. The same way Junji ito does it in the form of a manga. He takes the demons out of him through ink and paper.


Junji Ito creator of Uzumaki
Junji Ito creator of Uzumaki

Uzumaki, the famous horror manga that takes place in a small village called Kurouzu. An unknown evil force begins to affect people through spirals. The action of the story turns towards the center of its protagonist Kirie Goshima and her boyfriend, Shuichi Saitô. Everything begins with his father who begins to suffer an obsessive fascination for spirals in all their representations, everything that has the shape of a spiral. Like the spirals, the story takes a macabre overtone when the obsession becomes physical and his body begins to turn into a human spiral, breaking his bones to be able to turn himself.


Uzumaki (1998)
Uzumaki (1998)

The story unfolds in 3 volumes, each one more macabre than the previous one, all revolving around the same theme of obsession and madness about spirals. The whole town little by little begins to fall into that madness producing a feeling of anxiety and discomfort. When they see what happens Kirie and Shuichi try to escape but it is too late. A cosmic force keeps them locked up without being able to escape. All exits become deadly spirals. Ships sink in sea eddies. The planes in tornadoes and the roads in endless circles.

Cronenberg, Lynch, and Lovecraft

Uzumaki Cosmic horror
Uzumaki Cosmic horror

You cannot deny the influence of these authors especially Lovecraft with his cosmic terror but Junji Ito stands alone. Despite the influences, he becomes a new influence in the horror genre, putting his name at the top. This work cannot be put in the same bag as the more conventional horror stories, of monsters or serial killers. Junji Ito’s terror is both more subtle and more visceral, it attacks your sense of what is possible in our world, at times approaching Lynch’s surrealism and Cronenberg’s Body Horror creating its own universe. “Disturbing visual horror» and «grotesque» are words that describe his work much better than any other term that can come to mind.

Junji Ito Work is  grotesque and fascinating
Junji Ito Work is grotesque and fascinating

In reality, the story can be seen, from a narrative point of view, as a journey towards the center of a spiral where sanity is less and less present, a journey in which we see how the protagonists succumb to madness through these Spiral shapes, which sometimes cause attraction and sometimes repulsion, sometimes obsession and sometimes rejection. Either way, the result always ends up being dire.

Film adaptation

Uzumaki Film Adaptation (2000)
Uzumaki Film Adaptation (2000)

The manga and the movie Uzumaki are very similar, they have practically the same premise that little by little the spirals begin to affect people. The difference lies in the effect. While manga, being drawings, surprises us and does not limit our concept of attachment the film does not achieve the same effect. CGI or practical effects can limit feeling something for the characters. Certain people may be surprised and could be scared, but compared to many other movies of western horror, this movie is different, it does provide a novelty with such a simple premise. It has moments when you say, this has potential but falls a little short.

A 4 part Uzumaki animated mini-series with the voices of Uki Satake and Shin’ichirô Miki is expected in 2021 or 2022.

Junji Ito

Junji Ito master of silent suspense

He is a master of silent suspense, he knows how to cause anxiety that does not fade and does not disappear until the last page. That anxiety is from beginning to end. An important metaphor or allegory of life development that has in its structure the classic opening scene of mystery, a development with some suspense, the shock value, and at the end suddenly there is terror, real and visceral terror that does not leave you alone.

Junji Ito

With Junji Ito, although there is drama, the narrative thread and with it, the tension is never lost. It does not depend only on the grotesqueness of his illustrations or on the shock value, but it shows relatable characters in real situations that make us wonder, what would we do in such a situation?

Delirium Score

Uzumaki (1998)

Junji Ito is without a doubt a master of shocking graphic horror and silent suspense. Uzumaki is one of his finest works. We recommend that you check all his work you will be surprised

Written by Glenn Marte