Junji Ito Collection Series Review: Twisted Tales and Weird Delusions, But Something Is Not Quite Right

This horror anime collection was talked up a lot before the season started, but how did it go in the end? Be sure to share your thoughts on the series in the comments below.

Review:

There are many creepy moments in this animated horror collection. Some of these include body horror, disgusting imagery, blood, and just a general feeling of unease and that something is very, very wrong. Where Collection doesn’t quite succeed is in translated these into a memorable narrative that lasts beyond the initial viewing.

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Part of the issue is the format of the show itself. Trying to convey two separate tales per twenty minute episode where the cast and object of horror is completely separate from the previous story means that there is never any build up or connection made with these weird and strange events. While in written form perhaps there is more lasting impact, but in anime form, these stories simply feel like sketches or outlines of a much greater narrative we’ll never get to see.

Even the stories I quite enjoyed, such as Smashed in episode 12 or earlier stories about the doll disease or the weird neighbour, never left more than a momentary impression before they were forgotten. Other stories just never clicked in the first place because we had no reason to be invested. This was definitely the case with the circus story where mostly it just seemed random and stupid rather than in any way creepy or scary. And yet, if time were given to building up the characters and providing motives and actually fleshing out the horror (and spreading out the deaths so it wasn’t quite so in your face) there is still real potential here.

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I’ve read the argument that the point of this anime is to introduce people to Ito’s work and while it might do that the impression it leaves on those who have never read the original work is not a particularly favourable one. You would have to admit after watching this that it is neither a particularly impressive animated series or a particularly impressive advertisement for the source material, though I imagine the source material probably works quite well as some of the imagery in the anime is quite disturbing and in still images would probably be more affective.

Which leads us to the artistic choices for this series. It is very dark (visually, though the subject matter is also clearly dark), but that doesn’t really add much to the atmosphere as at times it is actually difficult to make out what we are supposed to be seeing on the screen. The characters are all very flat and dull to look at and I guess if they are standing in for Average Joe they have succeeded but you would be hard pressed to remember a one of them after the anime was done (except Souichi who most of us will just wish we didn’t remember because that giggle of his was really obnoxious).

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Where the art shines is in some of the moments of horror themselves. The creepy smile, the model, the slug emerging from the girl’s mouth, even the centipede/brain thing, are all really remarkable images that while the animation isn’t amazing, the image itself sticks. Given more time and possibly a larger budget, bringing these moments to life could have lead to something truly amazing and instead we get glimpses of genius underneath a smearing of the very ordinary.

There isn’t a lot more to say about this other than it is basically formulaic with each story setting up a character dealing with or walking into a weird situation which rapidly escalates before the story ends, sometimes without any kind of resolution. The very good thing about this is you are not compelled to watch the whole series. You really could just pick and choose individual tales to watch from the collection and enjoy them for what they are without sitting through a whole series.

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While I’m not really recommending this, I didn’t hate it. Okay, I hated one or two moments where they crossed the line from horror to disgusting for the sake of it, but for the most part I found the episodes worked well enough even if I always felt the series was somewhat lacking. If you really enjoy horror, there’s enough here to make it worth while checking out, but ultimately the potential of this show far outweighs what it delivers.

Episode Reviews:


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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9 thoughts on “Junji Ito Collection Series Review: Twisted Tales and Weird Delusions, But Something Is Not Quite Right

  1. Nice series review. I likewise feel that there was something juuust off from the series. When it was good, it was great, but I think you’re right–frequently, there was never enough time for things to really develop. I found the more satisfactory tales were often the ones that were more slice of life and didn’t try to take place over a long period of time. That said, the atmosphere was always on target. I guess the images are important in anything Junji Ito.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review! You made some great points that I didn’t think of like the characters being flat and how with the two unconnected stories it is easy to forget what you have just seen because it had no real impact! The circus one was weird I didn’t get that one at all, it seemed so random and made no sense to me!

    Liked by 1 person

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