Unendurable Labyrinth / The Bully
Episode 10 of Junji Ito Maniac starts with Noriko and her friend Sayako heading through the forest together. They uncover a whole bunch of monks walking in line and seemingly entranced. They shoot menacing looks their way but don’t say anything. There are also men under the waterfall praying too.
A monk approaches and informs the pair the these guys are training and they have over a million different members. This piques Sayako’s interest as she and Noriko decide to get involved and try this out. Their roommate Aya is actually there to try and find her brother, who went missing years back.
That night, the Hundred-Man Contemplation gets underway. This ritual is held once every three years and happens to be a private ceremony where monks enter coffins buried underground for self-mummification. They restrict their diet, which in turn makes the process that much simpler. It’s not like normal fasting either and it’s very secret.
Aya is convinced her brother has something to do with this and she decides to head out and investigate. The trio find a door from the creepy Buddha statue they saw earlier and press on, with Noriko and Sayako starting to have doubts over where they’re going. In fact, the hallway is lined with mummified bodies, leading into a grotesque mummified labyrinth.
Aya eventually finds her brother, mummified like the others. Eventually the girls go mad, unable to make it out, as all the faces appear to be staring at them.
The second tale switches things up to see a girl called Kuriko at the playground helping a young boy called Nao. He clings to her al through the night, as he calls her big sister and implores her to keep playing. However, he ends up clinging to her and in the end, Kuriko winds up growing resentful of him, ignoring the kid and eventually dunking his head in the water and beating him down.
All of this ends up paving way for the present, where a grown-up Kuriko points out she was a horrible child and feels bad about bullying poor Nao. The “sequel” to this though sees Kuriko meet Nao again, now much older. Kuriko is now deeply in love with Nao and the pair even get married together. Hiroshi, her son, is very similar to Nao. Asa result, Kurkio decides to head to the park and “play” with her son that night, sporting menacing make-up and a pretty chilling demeanor.
The Episode Review
What’s particularly interesting about the second part of this episode, The Bully, is the way it ties into psychotic tendencies and that idea that psychos are among us and we would never really know it. The signs are there as children but despite trying to repress those animalistic tendencies, it becomes too much and they show their true colours eventually.
There’s a lot of shock value to this, and that’s also transposed across to the first story too, which depicts an isolated group off trying to find the truth of this cult. Eventually they find all those mummified bodies and what a way to go! It’s goosebump-inducing to even imagine being stuck in there with all those bodies.
You can read our full season review for Junji Ito: Maniac here!