Ito was born on the 31st of July, 1963, in Sakashita, now in Nakatsugawa, Gifu, Japan. He is a notable and praise-worthy Japanese horror writer and mangaka. His works are primarily written in the form of a manga and they are fairly terrifying, yet oddly inviting.
Ito was born and raised in Sakashita, Japan. The initiation to the horror realm for Ito began from a young age. The two elder sisters would oftentimes read horror manga stories in a number of magazines, which prompted Ito to read one or two himself. This is how the horror master got his first scares, but also how the first scares of his own were created.
Best Junji Ito Books
Ito grew up in the countryside, in a small town near Nagano. In the home that he and his family resided in, the bathroom that they frequented was at the end of a tunnel underground, where spider crickets could be noticed. This aspect of life is, of course, present in the writing of Ito. Speaking of Junji Ito’s writing, let’s now take a look at our Ito book reviews.
Fans and followers of Ito’s best works were aware that his Uzumaki series would make our list of Ito’s books, and it’s also the first entry we’re going to be discussing. The Uzumaki series is comprised of a total of three novels. These Junji Ito’s books in order:
- Uzumaki: Spiral into Horror, Vol. 1
- Uzumaki: Spiral into Horror, Vol. 2
- Uzumaki: Spiral into Horror, Vol. 3
The small town of Kurouzu-Cho has been cursed and contaminated with the horror that is the “spirals”. How such a thing has come to happen to the often foggy landscape of Kurouzu-Cho, one can scarcely deduce by the current events and even less so when hiding from the terror that prowls, the terror that petrifies.
If we were to listen to Shuichi Saito and his teenage girlfriend Kirie Goshima, they would have us believe that the town is not under oppression from a single sort of being or a single person; what is possessing the town is a kind of pattern or paradigm: it is the Uzumaki, as in the spiral. The spiral is the hypnotic surreptitious form of the world. However, what can a group of humans do to a shape that they cannot even begin to comprehend? One of the best Ito novels. For more information about the novel, see our review of the top Japanese horror books.
The Tomie series, yet another brilliant work, is one of our favorites. Ito’s Tomie series is comprised of three novels, which are the following:
- Tomie 1
- Tomie 2
- Tomie Again
Tomie Kawakami is a definition of femme fatale, her hair is long and black and her allure must not be understated by any means.
The attraction that her eyes bring forth in people that she frequents and meets with is nothing compared to the beauty mark beneath the left eye: it beckons an otherworldly beauty in the lady. There is no man on the face of the Earth, or the galaxy for that matter, that cannot be seduced by Tomie.
Well, that’s not that intriguing, is it? Many women can seduce a lot of men, but Tomie’s specialty and even idiosyncrasy is that she can get them to kill, too. The odd and bizarre part is that she’s usually the one being killed.
As one of her many lovers sets out on a path towards gaining her heart, if she has one, another one is fearful of the parasitic being that is Tomie. No matter how many times they kill her, she keeps coming back. These are some of the top Junji Ito books that you’ll ever read. You can also find this book on our list of the best Japanese horror books.
This is one of the best Junji Ito book series that is not for those whose hearts are liable to faint, to be stressed out easily, and especially not for those that are fearful. The Gyo series is comprised of only two novels, but they are dark and mesmerizingly scary. It is very much in line with reason to say that the Gyo series is the best Ito series, though it is surely subject to preference. The two novels of the Gyo series are:
- Gyo, Vol. 1
- Gyo, Vol. 2
Okinawa has been a prosperous place to live in for many years. Families were made, homes were sanctified by children’s presence, and all was well, until something rotten, decaying came over the city. From the island’s surface, a terrible, floating odor of deathly qualities is hung above the landscape. What could it possibly be that is disturbing the peace?
World of Terror
As the people are trying to understand the ongoing events, a bizarre fish sporting legs comes up on the scene. Thus, the journey of Kaori and Tadashi, Junji Ito’s characters, starts as they enter a world of terror, horror, and everything in between, especially the sea’s unbridled ghastly fumes. Ito’s work on this series showcased his mastery and this is a series that will stick with the readers for a long time.
Fragments of Horror is a collection of shorter stories that Ito published over time until they were serialized under one single name. Fragments of Horror saw the light of day in the year of 2014.
The whole book spans some two-hundred-and-twenty or so pages and, as it stands, it is comprised of some of the best Ito stories. The collection of mind-bending and gut-wrenching dark, macabre, and downright horror stories is what Ito’s mind has in store for us today.
The stories differ in tone, differ in the themes that the particular horror is bringing forth, and they differ in their climaxes; however, what they all have in common is the unwavering and pervading sense of uneasiness and eldritch threats looming, not just in the stories, but in the book’s very pages.
The titles of the stories include, but are not limited to the following: Blanket, Haunted Wood Mansion, Tomio: Red Turtleneck, and Whispering Woman. The seamless transition from a mansion hellbent on killing off those that stalk its halls to a funeral where the dead are not exactly following the ritual, and even a schoolroom tale that will scar the readers. This is one of the best-rated Ito books of all time.
Frankenstein is a manga portrayal of the famous and classical gothic tale of Mary Shelley featuring the Doctor and his creation. However, the twisted mind of Ito’s envisioning of the tale is doubly as terrifying. For Frankenstein, Ito even received an award. Frankenstein was published in the year of 1999.
The brilliant writing skills and storytelling capability of Ito is just what a classic like Frankenstein deserved and it is exactly what it received. The pained, lonesome, and fearful monster that an even greater heathen brought forth is a tale that never quite leaves a person, but when Ito is the one doing the plotting and writing, you know it is going to be one hell of a tale.
In the novel, we believe worth noting, are also some six stories of Oshikiri. These stories feature a high school student whose mansion is somehow a viable connection and even portal to a parallel world of haunting qualities.
There are doubles, there are friends whose lives have been sapped away from them, but the crowning jewel of the novel is none other than Frankenstein and his tragic tale. If we were to give you Junji Ito’s books ranked, this one would be among the top.
No Longer Human is one of the most recent Ito books that we have received from the horror icon that is Ito. It stands to reason, even so late in the man’s career, that it is one of the best Junji Ito books we’ve read. It was published in the year of 2019 and spans about six-hundred-and-sixteen pages, a number that is sometimes viewed as the number of the beast in the Christian religion.
The Horror Within
The human mind and the psyche therein are the sources of the greatest horrors that this world, and the next one, have ever seen, dreamt, or even thought of. The anxiety deeply woven into one along with the dissonance between feeling the world’s joy and one’s own sense of fulfillment are what drive Yozo Oba. Yozo Oba is the clown of his own life; he puts on a mask for those around him even when he is falling into the clutches of death.
What Ito used as inspiration to write the masterpiece right here was the autobiography of Osamu Dazai. You can read more about Dazai and his book in our selection of the best Japanese books ever. The storytelling qualities and the imagery’s potency draw in a special kind of reaction in the reader. The world that Junji has conceived is a gruesome, yet sublime, and even delicate, if grotesque dimension. Ito’s writing knows no bounds – just as his horror doesn’t.
Venus in the Blind Spot, like the last entry, is a very recent release from Ito. In fact, Venus in the Blind was published in the year of 2019 and it is brilliant. The two-hundred-and-seventy or so pages make this to be one of the most popular Ito books to get.
The Master’s Greatest
Venus in the Blind Spot represents a collection of the creepiest, most uneasy, and even bone-chilling stories that the legendary horror writer Ito wrote. They were chosen as some of his best, most loved, and most admired, and boy are they terrifying. The stories range from the ones that Ito wrote during his youth, to ones that he has written not too long ago; what stays the same is his uncanny horror abilities.
In for a Treat
The tales herein range from the Human Chair, the Enigma of Amigara Fault, among many, many others, and even a sort of teaser the brilliant No Longer Human is here for the reader, who is in for a treat. The tales are ones that we recommend picking up as this stands to be one of the best-selling Ito books we’ve been lucky to read.
The four-hundred-page book that is Smashed is a masterpiece. It showcases the terrific author’s abilities to their fullest potential while also making us crave more and more, even in spite of the horror we feel in our quick. Smashed was published in the year of 2013.
The stories herein are not ones that we would recommend for anyone just entering into the strange, peculiar, and tenebrous world of Ito. A bit of a stomach, to say the least, is required before one can or should venture to pick this volume up.
Love and Fear
The tales are ones that leave a print and a series of images on the mind if you are not careful. That is why we love Ito, but also why we fear him. Of the whole list of Ito books, this one might be the scariest.
There is a total of thirteen – the unluckiest number – stories that Ito has in store for us here, but countless nightmares that will surely spawn from them. As a house that is thought to be haunted is finally brought down and is in ruins, the literal portal to hell can be noticed in the subterranean chambers – and this is just one of the many tales and many confusing frights Junji dishes out.
One of the most underrated books and a true gem of the works of Ito is his Dissolving Classroom – a book quite unlike any other. It was published in the year of 2013 and, though it is only two-hundred pages long, its horror is immeasurable. A clear pick for one of Junji Ito’s best books, perhaps even the best Junji Ito manga.
The book in hand, Ito’s Dissolving Classroom, is a story which will chill the very marrow of our bones; it tingles the spine with the first pages alone. The tale in hand is of two siblings, a brother and a sister. Yuuma is a young man whose youth is being spent or devoted in the pursuit of the vilest and most fiendish of all the beings – that is the Devil.
Chizumi, on the other hand, perhaps the worst sister that one could ever conceive of, let alone have, is who brings forth many of the mishaps, all of which are dangerous, perilous, and life-ending, and tragic events that seem to follow them wherever they tread to and wherever they arrive.
The book is told in seven chapters, all of which evoke a sense of depravity and of rancorous fear. We cannot recommend this one enough. In the Junji Ito book list, this one counts among the most frightful.
The Art of Junji Ito is not a book like the ones that we have discussed up until this point. It was published in the year of 2019 and it spans only one-hundred-and-fifty pages, but they count for so much more. It features some of the best Junji Ito comics if you ask us.
This book, as we noted, not a book like the previous ones. It is comprised of the various artworks and experts of the terrifying imageries that one can find in the greatest of Ito’s works. There are more than one-hundred-and-thirty images captured in this volume and many of them are so rare that they cannot be found anywhere other than in this mesmerizing and entrancing book.
We can go from the colored, yet vertiginously mind-bending, to the black and white, though spine-tingling, artworks of Junji and do it so seamlessly that one would think all of his works are connected in a certain undefinable manner. From Tomie to Uzumaki to the scariest of Ito’s creations, all the images captured and portrayed here are the ones worthy of fear. Shiver: Collected Stories is Junji Ito’s best book for many of his readers that we recommend picking up.