Four x Four Walls / The Sandman’s Lair
Four x Four Walls
Episode 4 of Junji Ito Maniac starts with Soichi banging around upstairs while his brother is trying to study. Koichi eventually has enough and chases the guy downstairs and questions his brother over why he’s sabotaging his study time.
Koichi’s father isn’t much help and Soichi claims that it’s actually poltergeists responsible. When items in Koichi’s room begin floating around, Koichi takes a closer look and finds Soichi in his closet pulling strings.
Eventually Soichi’s antics cause Koichi’s parents to get a carpenter over called Mr Tagaisu, who shrugs off Koichi’s concerns and decides to board up the windows and sound-proof the room. He even lets Soichi help him out too.
The room given is very quiet, in fact it’s eerily silent and apparently completely soundproof…. until Soichi begins making more noise. The sound is amplified this time while he’s inside and Koichi is convinces his brother is messing about in the walls. And of course, there he is, making cicada sounds. A chase ensues, with Koichi heading around to try and find him. Eventually Koichi gives up and decides to study after all, gritting his teeth and suffering through this.
The Sandman’s Lair
The second tale in this episode sees Yuri head outside. He looks awful. He hasn’t slept in three days and he sits with Mari in a smoky café. He talks to her about his dream-self and how he can’t afford to go to sleep anymore. She doesn’t believe his story and eventually tells him to go and see a doctor.
That night, Yuri heads over and watches in shock as Yuji starts to flip, turning inside out. This appears to be his dream self and at night, he ends up flopping inside out. He’s been hollow since he was a child and for Yuji, the dream world is more real than the real world. Yuji decides to slip into his dream self, and after falling asleep, his body does just that. However, as Mari is taped to his hands, she ends up sucked into the dream world, where she’s bound to stick with him forever.
The Episode Review
The problem with tales like this, is the profound lack of exploration for interesting themes and ideas. Both of these stories have intriguing premises that don’t really go anywhere all that interesting. The endings to both are abrupt and while I appreciate the original tales may do the same, it does feel like a missed opportunity here not to elaborate a bit more.
This is easily the weakest episode of the whole collection, which is a shame because it’s one that had the most potential. Hopefully the episodes ahead are an improvement.
You can read our full season review for Junji Ito: Maniac here!