One of manga’s masters of horror presents ten twisted stories in the compilation Shiver.
Junji Ito has been drawing manga since 1987, with some of his stories adapted into live-action and animated films. Shiver includes ten of his horror tales, along with sketches and commentary, giving a fascinating glimpse into Ito’s creative process.
Some of the short stories in Shiver have a Twilight Zone-esque quality, but in general, Ito is less concerned about delivering twists and sending a message than he is about providing good, solid scares and discomfort. That said, the most memorable of Ito’s stories work as horror and as a form of social commentary. “Fashion Model” features a title character with sharklike teeth who seems frightening and repulsive yet appears in fashion magazines regularly—an amusing dig at the sometimes extreme standards of beauty in that industry. Another story, “Greased,” takes a common plight of teenagers—oily skin—to a new level with characters who regularly drink salad oil from the bottle and pop pimples at each other (it’s even more disturbing than it sounds).
Though Ito’s horror is mostly idea-driven, his art lends a critical element to the stories. The scenes mentioned above—or panels of a town plagued by killer giant floating heads—create indelible images that take full advantage of the medium in a way that text or even video cannot.
Horror fans looking for something new would be well advised to check out Shiver—a title that serves as both a warning and a promise for what will follow.
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