Junji Ito Maniac – Season 1 Episode 1 Recap & Review

The Strange Hikizuri Siblings

Episode 1 of Junji Ito Maniac begins with a body being burned outside. A whole family stand together and watch the flames hungrily engulf her body.

Among those here are big brother Kazuya Hikizuri (who’s 19) and big sister Kinaki Hikizuri (who’s 18). There’s also 16 year old middle brother, Shigoro, as well as 14 year old middle sister Narumi. Finally, there’s little brother (Hitoshi) and sister (Misako). This dysfunctional family have a huge inheritance so they don’t need to work.

Their days are eventually numbered though when a photographer shows up on the property and begins taking pictures. She’s taking “spirit photos”, as it turns out, looking into the death regarding several kids who have drowned. The woman’s name is Sachiyo and she soon meets Kazuya, who invites her over to their place.

Dinner that night turns sour when everyone falls out and half the table end up crying and running off. Misako slashes Hitoshi over the face with her nails. Kazuya decides to invite Sachiyo over to his again, believing that he can channel their dead parents through a séance. However, he wants Sachiyo to attend as a witness. However, she doesn’t show alone. She’s there with a guy sporting an equal interest in the paranormal.

During the ritual, Shigoro starts vomiting but Sachiyo realizes that it’s actually ectoplasm. As a result, Gozo (the family’s patriarch) seems to control him and starts wandering around. Gozo calls Kazuya lazy and accuses him of not taking good care of the family. When he leaves, Father’s spirit does too.

Kazuya smashes a stone into their parents’ grave while Sachiyo heads home. However, she happens to have a sample of ectoplasm. Only… it’s all a ruse. The ectoplasm isn’t that after all, and in fact Shigoro put on the whole charade. Back at the house Kazuya hits out at Shigoro… until the real spirit of Gozo shows up. It’s actually Hitoshi who’s possessed after all this, and the real ectoplasm seeps out and chases them, all the way to his grave.

The Episode Review

The first episode of Junji Ito Maniac gets off to a decent start, with a suitably creepy story about the different siblings inside this old house. Junji Ito is well known for delivering a variety of different horror styles and hopefully this is just a palette cleanser for much scarier tales to come.

The quirky tone and the bits of humour actually take away from the horror elements on occasion, and the abrupt ending is a bit disappointing too. However, there’s plenty to like with the art style, which feels very Junji Ito. With 12 tales in total, there’s plenty to whet the appetite!

Next Episode

You can read our full season review for Junji Ito: Maniac here!

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