Alley / Headless Statue
Episode 11 of Junji Ito Maniac starts with Ishida staying in a board house, with the landlady showing his new abode. The window overlooks an alleyway in the back, and for now all seems fine. The area itself is rather eerie and it’s clear they’re not alone. The landlady’s daughter is called Shinobu and she’s 14 years old.
Ishida happens to be reading Hell of Thorns, which is the book from that earlier episode regarding the library. Anyway, that night Ishida ends up hearing voices outside of children in the alleyway. Apparently there are lots of alleys and the sound carries…although that explanation doesn’t sound greatly convincing.
The next night, the laughter is joined by a deep, guttural voice that calls out for Shinobu. There’s definitely something going on here and Ishida is confronted by a guy who claims the corner is actually boarded off because there are bodies behind. He claims there’s a window and he saw all of it take place, but he’s scared and doesn’t seem to be making much sense. That is, until Ishida realizes there’s actually a window in his room overlooking that space. A rope leads down, where the outline of three children happens to be on the wall. A locked vault holds the skeletal remains inside. Unfortunately, Shinobu grabs him in the hand and knocks him down to the ground.
If that wasn’t enough, Shinobi points out that she’s the one behind al the murders that have taken place. As she heads down to get a closer look at Ishida, the rope snaps and she ends up stuck in the alley as the ghostly apparitions of those kids begin to bleed through the walls.
The second story here switches things up to follow a girl called Rumi, who happens to be an art student. Mr Okabe ends up murdered that night, missing his head. It’s a bizarre turn of events, especially when he was just joking about being headless.
That night, Rumi heads into the classroom and begins rooting around, trying to find her art book which her friend Masami has left behind. Strange noises inside see them find Mr Okabe’s head covered by what looks like a large sheet around his shoulders.
Shimada, another student, shows up and leads Rumi into the backroom. He locks the door and shows his true colours, pointing out that she’s beautiful. However, it turns out this is actually a mannequin with Shimada’s head. Rumi attempts to get away from this headless mannequin but she’s surrounded and forced upstairs. Once there, she finds numerous other headless students and each of these mannequins meticulously fitted with a brand new face. As they charge at her, Rumi is surrounded.
The Episode Review
The penultimate episode of Junji Ito Maniac delivers another double-bill of tales as we see the price of great art, tying into ideas of vanity and beauty. The first tale however, is by far the stronger one and there’s some definite “Stranger From Hell” vibes with the alleyway and the various strange characters in attendance. For those unaware of that reference, it’s a creepy horror K-drama that’s definitely worth its weight in gold!
Everything is set up nicely for the final episode which should be quite the intriguing watch.
You can read our full season review for Junji Ito: Maniac here!