Otaku USA Magazine
Can’t Wait for Uzumaki? Fill the Gap with These Horrific Short Subjects by Junji Ito

Junji Ito's Uzumaki is making its way to Adult Swim soon

Junji Ito’s twisty, terrifying Uzumaki is on its way to Adult Swim, thanks to Production I.G. The manga series, about a town with a bizarre curse that turns everything (and everyone) into spirals, is set to be a chilling addition to Cartoon Network’s late-night block. If you’re just as antsy for the upcoming adaptation as we are, we’ve got a few things to help you bide your time.

Ito’s backlog is prolific, and — fortunately for American readers — more of it is becoming available in print all the time. Collections like Shiver and Venus in the Blind Spot will bring us beautifully published editions to have and hold… and to give us nightmares for the rest of our lives. So which of his previous works will best help you scratch that uncanny itch until the Uzumaki premiere?


Layers of Fear

A small skull in an oddly-layered grave, from "Layers of Fear"

First published in 2017 to celebrate Ito’s 30th year as a manga creator, Layers of Fear brings the same strange horror to a seemingly innocent pattern as Uzumaki does. Archaeologist Soya breaks into a multilayered grave, revealing the skull of a child — and potentially a lasting curse on his own family. Many years after his death, his daughter and former child star Reimi is revealed to be composed of layers herself, with each year of her life creating a new one. That’s horrifying news… unless you happen to be the widow Soya, a stage mom obsessed with the child Reimi used to be. The short subject is not only skin-crawlingly creepy, but an apt metaphor for the damage clingy parenting can do to a family.


The Window Next Door

"The Window Next Door," as seen in the anime "Junji Ito Collection"

Like the earlier events of Uzumaki, The Window Next Door has a very personal, urban legend feel to it. The short story follows Hiroshi, a young man whose family has recently moved to a new house, and their next-door neighbor who can apparently see him from her window. She’s very insistent that he come visit her… and for obvious reasons, he’s not exactly keen on doing so. But the longer he resists, the more insistent she gets — to the point that her request begins to seem inescapable.


The Groaning Drain

The Groaning Drain by Junji Ito

If Uzumaki isn’t enough proof that anatomy is for the birds in Junji Ito stories, we present The Groaning Drain — also a nightmare for neat freaks. When the unhygenic Kari starts following around his crush Reina, she and her sister Shinra decided to sic their clean-freak mother on him. The intent is to simply scare him away; but the plan leads to messy murder, mysterious clogs, and one of the most claustrophobic manga pages since The Enigma of Amigara Fault. (Which, if you’re a Junji Ito fan, you’ve probably already read multiple times.)

We still don’t have an official date for Uzumaki, but with 30 years of Junji Ito content waiting for you (including the Uzumaki manga itself), there’s plenty to do while we wait.

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. She is a contributor to the celebrated Black Archive line, with many other books, short stories, and critical works to her name.