A part of what makes Junji Ito’s work so terrifying is the way it sticks with you. The thoughts behind iconic horror manga like Tomie and Uzumaki takes an concept — whether or not it’s a schoolgirl who can’t die or a small city obsessive about spirals — and steadily pushes the idea as far it will probably go, often towards some sort of disturbing physique horror that forces you to look away. Earlier than you realize it, the concept has lodged itself in your mind, his rigorously crafted black-and-white photos flashing even after you shut the e-book.The brand new Netflix anthology Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre, which adapts a lot of Ito’s tales into animated episodes, captures a few of that terror. The concepts are nonetheless there, the horrifying creativeness that may make even children consuming ice cream into one thing unsettling and grotesque. However it additionally breezes previous the tales so rapidly that they don’t have the possibility to actually get caught. In that manner, it’s a superb introduction to Ito’s work — nevertheless it doesn’t totally seize the dread.Tales of the Macabre options variations of 20 totally different tales unfold out throughout 12 episodes; some episodes are devoted to a single concept, whereas others are cut up into two. There are some classics right here, like “Hanging Blimp” (also referred to as The Hanging Balloons), about unusual inflatable doppelgängers, and the pictures chapter of Tomie, wherein a digicam is used to reveal supernatural secrets and techniques that result in a grisly finish. The tales included are all (principally) standalone and totally different, however they share lots of the identical traits. Specifically, they begin as one thing easy — say, a loud attic or a lacking e-book — and get more and more fucked up from there.Regardless of the change in mediums, the core of Ito’s work stays. You continue to get the visceral physique horror of peeling away uncountable layers of pores and skin or seeing a child’s second head being axed off. Every kind of issues come out of individuals’s mouths that shouldn’t be in there. And also you’ll see loads of characters who simply look shady in a manner that’s laborious to explain (and are folks you positively don’t wish to sublet an house to).For probably the most half, Ito’s distinctive visible model — specifically his characters — stays intact right here. Tales of the Macabre is much less detailed than the manga it’s primarily based on, however in any other case, it appears to be like like what it’s: a comic book in movement. The animation is sparse however serviceable, and the anime workforce has made some attention-grabbing inventive selections that give the totally different tales their very own vibes. All however one of many tales is in shade (all the unique comics are black-and-white), and whereas most episodes are displayed in a contemporary widescreen format, others are extra sq., as in case you had been watching on an outdated tube TV (which is sensible, since lots of the tales are set within the ’80s and ’90s). Sadly, like loads of trendy anime, the visuals are additionally tormented by low-grade 3D parts — principally used for large shifting objects like vehicles or bizarre monsters — that really feel jarringly misplaced. That stated, it does have an unbelievable, surreal title sequence.The true difficulty with the present, although, is that it’s simply too brief. Significantly for the cut up episodes, it seems like every episode is racing to the large scary twist, giving little time for the regular, methodical build-up that makes these twists actually hit you. It’s no shock, then, that the perfect episodes are those devoted to a single story, like “Hanging Blimp” or “Tomb City,” which have sufficient time to dig into, say, the logistics of a city crammed with an not possible variety of gravestones. A lot of the others, although, really feel rushed, and as quickly as they attain the attention-grabbing reveal — say, what’s inside that ice cream truck — they’re over.It’s a disgrace as a result of Ito’s tales are among the most unsettling and engrossing in all of horror. However Tales of the Macabre treats them extra like appetizers than a full meal, and because of this, they don’t have that very same endurance because the supply materials. (One other upcoming adaptation, Uzumaki on Grownup Swim, could possibly keep away from this by specializing in a single e-book.) The most effective I can hope for is that the present evokes some folks to choose up the originals— after which not have the ability to cease fascinated about them for a very long time.Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre is streaming on Netflix now.

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