Junji Ito Showcase, Part 3: Ito & Comedy

For as well-known as Ito is for his horror stories, a surprising aspect of this author is how genuinely funny he is.

One of the most infamous examples of this is in Junji Ito’s Cat Diary, an autobiographical tale about Ito and his wife adopting two cats. On the surface, it’s a standard story about a couple of cats. What makes it genius and hilarious, however, is that Ito does the series in his full horror style-complete with body deformation, intense shading, and selective use of detail. The result is a series which depicts a man’s love of his cat as horrifying, and hilarious, experience.

cat

However, Ito’s comedy can be seen in many of his other works, some which combine horror and comedy in weird and interesting ways. This can be seen in Mimi’s Ghost Stories, a series focusing around the (mis)adventures of a girl named Mimi, and the paranormal events that always seem to follow her. Some of these stories are fairly standard horror fair, while others, like Graveman, are not. I’ll let the following images speak for themselves.

Mimi1

Mimi2

Perhaps one of the most interesting examples of this, however, comes in the form of a character named Souichi. Souichi is a child who seems to personify the typical Junji Ito horror story, having some amount of supernatural power which he mostly uses for “mischief.” As the main subject of a full two volumes of short stories (plus a separate story featuring an adult Souichi), Souichi sets himself apart from other recurring Ito characters not only through his powers, but through his willingness to use them for purely self-serving and ridiculous purposes, the likes of which only a child could dream up. Souichi’s antics include: Replacing his teacher with a living mannequin, placing curses on classmates, spitting nails at just about every other character, and bringing his grandfather back to life so he can build Souichi a coffin.

Coffin

The weirdest one of them all, however, is a 4-page story entitled “A Shit to Remember” that is nothing but shit jokes about a fake pile of shit. No, I am not joking.

shit

From self-parody and cats to real fake shit, Junji Ito has proved that he is not only a master of horror, but of comedy as well. Truly, the shitmonger is a man of many talents.

Next up: Further Reading

Image sources:

Image 1: Junji Ito’s Cat Diary

Image 2: Mimi’s Ghost Stories: Graveman

Image 3: Souichi’s Diary of Curses: Coffin

Image 4: Memories of a Real Shit

Of the stories mentioned in this article, Junji Ito’s Cat Diary is the only one which has been localized. I highly recommend picking it up, as it is fantastic and well worth buying.

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