Story & Art by Junji Ito
Original Cover Design by Keisuke Minohara
Translated by Yuji Oniki (“The Enigma of Amigara Fault” and “The Sad Tale of the Principal Post”) & Jocelyne Allen (All Other Translation & Adaptation)
Touch-Up Art & Lettering by Eric Erbes
Cover & Graphic Design by Adam Grano
Edited by Masumi Washington
Junji Ito is one of the masters of horror, and his work continues to frighten readers at every turn. Viz Media’s most recent Junji Ito manga, Venus in the Blind Spot, is yet another reminder of Ito’s talent, one that covers a terrifying range of tales.
This book contains 10 short stories drawn by Junji Ito, a combination of original works and adaptations of classic horror stories. While these stories aren’t connected thematically, it provides a broader look at Ito’s work. While some stories will place a heavier emphasis on body-horror and shock value, others will take a more subdued approach. Ito can convey horror in many different ways, and these stories show that firsthand.
The titular “Venus in the Blind Spot” story is surprisingly short, but is nonetheless memorable. The story centers on a UFO research society, whose members are madly in love with their leader Mariko. That said, Mariko becomes invisible to society members when they are near her, and they begin to suspect that it’s the work of aliens. While many of Ito’s stories focus on the supernatural, “Venus in the Blind Spot” is grounded in the horrors of reality. The society members’ obsession with Mariko is particularly disturbing, as it slowly shifts from admiration to vitriol. Rather than create a monster, Ito has humanity torment itself and crafts a chilling tale in the process.
Among the other notable stories in the book is “The Enigma of Amigara Fault”. When a series of human-shaped holes appear after an earthquake, people are suddenly drawn to the holes that share their likeness. While this story has been popular for many years, in part due to the absurdity of its premise, Ito’s storytelling cannot be understated. When someone enters one of the holes, their body is slowly crushed by the concaving passage. Yet despite certain death, people are still obsessed with entering the holes. This illogical urge is the core of the story’s horror, entrancing the reader with the unpredictable behavior of the characters. Ito has always excelled at bizarre situations, and “The Enigma of Amigara Fault” is a reminder of his talent to make the strange behavior of human nature even more peculiar.
Beyond his signature horror work, Ito also includes “Master Umezz and Me”, which explores his exposure to Kazuo Umezz’s work. Ito has cited Umezz as a huge influence on his work, and this story provides context to Ito’s approach as a creator. Hearing about Ito’s introduction to iconic series like The Drifting Classroom is incredibly interesting, and it’s immediately apparent why Ito resonated so much with Umezz’s series. While this story may not be what readers expect from Ito, it provides a rare insight into his mindset, making his manga all the more fascinating.
Junji Ito’s artwork is iconic. Ito uses his art to bend reality, creating horror by having natural and unnatural elements intertwine. This can best be seen in Ito’s anatomy, which he often manipulates in grotesque ways. Scenes such as the stitched corpses in “Billions Alone” leave a distinct impression, while also setting a baseline for what to expect from Ito. Ito remains the face of horror manga, and Venus in the Blind Spot takes full advantage of his immense talent.
Venus in the Blind Spot is a fantastic read, collecting stories that will surely excite and terrify readers. Fans of Junji Ito’s work will be fully satisfied with the tales showcased, and these stories are also strong entry points for the uninitiated. Don’t place this book in your blind spot, because this shouldn’t be left unread.