Junji Ito appeared at the Netflix Geeked Week event and introduced the new anime project based on his works, titled Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of Macabre. The legendary mangaka stated that he selected 20 of his stories that will be adapted to anime for the first time. He introduced the three of them in the video: Tomie, Souichi, and The Hanging Balloons. It is still not clear which Tomie and Souichi stories will be adapted, so Ito asks fans to please wait for further announcements. Junji Ito Maniac is slated to air in 2023.
Ito went on to explain the development behind some of his iconic stories and characters. He started with Tomie, which was his debut work. The idea for the titular character’s story came from the concept of a lizard’s tail growing back after it’s cut off and the feeling of loss. “It’s that feeling when you think that perhaps that person could still show up at any moment,” says Ito.
Next up was Souchi from the series of the same name. The mangaka took the time to reflect on the importance of eyes when it comes to faithfully portraying facial expressions in drawings – something that is very prominent in Souichi’s character.
And lastly, the idea for Terumi Fujino from The Hanging Balloons series was explored. Ito says he had an idea of a corpse floating in the sky while being carried by a balloon and then he added a town below and strange events that would occur whenever the balloon showed up. But, after some pondering, he decided to make the balloon look like a severed head that would attack people.
Junji Ito’s Works in Anime
This is not the first anime adaptation of Junji Ito’s works. Studio DEEN’s Junji Ito “Collection” aired in the Winter 2018 anime season. It adapted some of Souichi’s stories. Two-episode special centered around Tomie by the same studio premiered in April, with the second episode airing in May of 2018. Uzumaki, another one of Ito’s works, is also getting an anime adaptation which is set to air this October.
Viz Media licensed the Tomie collection and describes the plot as:
Tomie Kawakami is a femme fatale with long black hair and a beauty mark just under her left eye. She can seduce nearly any man, and drive them to murder as well, even though the victim is often Tomie herself. While one lover seeks to keep her for himself, another grows terrified of the immortal succubus. But soon they realize that no matter how many times they kill her, the world will never be free of Tomie.
Most of these are not licensed, in fact, only 3 stories are, and they are featured in Smashed: Junji Ito Story Collection. Two of them are focused on him as an adult, while only one explores his teen years. Souichi is known as a prankster, but his pranks often backfire in the most horrible ways (for himself).