Image source: smiral animation on YouTube

Now if you don’t mind, I’d like to go sleep with the lights on for the rest of my life.

Junji Ito is the Japanese manga creator responsible for such works as Uzumaki and Gyo—and the likewise terrifying The Enigma of Amigara Fault. His particular brand of unsettling horror is being adapted in the upcoming anime series, Junji Ito Collection, the first episode of which was shown at a special premiere event.

[Note: This article contains spoilers for the first episode of Junji Ito Collection.]

The first episode is divided into two self-contained short stories from Junji Ito’s vast array of horror stories.

The first is Sōichi’s Self-serving Curse (rough translation) featuring one of Ito’s reoccurring characters, Sōichi. Sōichi is a gloomy little elementary school boy with a highly toxic personality and the supernatural ability to curse others. This exceedingly dangerous combination of traits leads Sōichi to regularly place curses on the people around him to feed his own twisted ego. And yet, despite the legitimate danger he presents, Sōichi’s self-destructive nature prevents him from living up any potential threat.

The second story is Hellish Doll Funeral (rough translation) about a horrifying disease that turns people into dolls.

Image source: TVアニメ伊藤潤二『コレクション』公式‏ on Twitter

Anyone familiar with Junji Ito’s work will instantly recognize the creepy, unpleasant feelings that his stories can evoke. Junji Ito Collection captures the disturbing atmosphere of the original stories with a diluted color palette and eerie sound design. The first story, while unnerving at points, is not exactly straight up horror. If anything, it could be described as “comedic horror,” if that’s a thing. There are moments that, if you think about the implications, are genuinely creepy. But, the protagonist’s rather boisterous personality have him constantly shooting himself in the foot and flailing around both figuratively and literally. It’s like watching an impotent buffoon who happens to have access to a nuclear arsenal.

While the first story is both sinister and oddly quirky, it’s the second story that dives right into horror that is sharp, concise, and genuinely scary. At the end of it, you’re left with an ugly aftertaste that lingers with you long after the episode is over.

All in all, Junji Ito collection looks to be a faithful adaptation of the original manga that properly captures its dark, macabre atmosphere. It doesn’t necessarily offer any unexpected plot surprises for people who have read the individual stories that are being adapted, but seeing them in motion adds a refreshing element as well as an additional unsettling dimension to help keep you up at night.

Junji Ito Collection is scheduled to begin airing in Japan on January 5, 2018. It will be available to watch with English subtitles on Crunchyroll and English dialogue on FUNimation.

Image source: TVアニメ伊藤潤二『コレクション』公式 on Twitter

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