Junji Ito Collection’s second episode is definitely creepier than the first one, but will it really throw you off your chair? Who knows…
Japanese Original Episode Title: ファッションモデル / 長い夢
In the first episode segment, starting off rather humorously, we are being introduced to screenwriter Iwasaki, whose dreams and everyday life are being haunted by the image of a very creepy model he randomly saw in a magazine. His filmmaking group manages to win an award for their amateur film, so they have cast an attractive female protagonist for their next film. To Iwasaki’s surprise, along with a cute girl who the director picks as the new protagonist, one of the candidates is the creepy model that had been haunting his dreams. Against Iwasaki’s wishes, the director decides to cast her for another role in the film. They later meet with both girls, Tamae and creepy-Fuchi, and set off to film their next masterpiece in the mountains. On their way there, the filming crew notices Fuchi’s teeth are not exactly human and look like the jaws of an alligator, yet still consider it a good idea to go to an isolated place with something that is clearly not human. Naturally, Fuchi gets pissed off for some random reason we’ll never know about and kills everyone. Yay.
In the second part of the episode, Mami, a young hospital patient, is horrified of death and keeps seeing the grim reaper around her. Her doctor explains that she needs to calm down and cooperate and that the person she sees is not the grim reaper (or more accurately, a Shinigami), but a patient suffering from some very odd symptoms. The patient, Mukouda, is suffering from unnaturally long dreams; everytime he sleeps, it feels like he has been sleeping for years, even though it has been but a few moments. Eventually, Mukouda loses his mind and his body begins to deteriorate until it turns to dust. The doctor detects some weird crystals in the ashes of his brain and starts giving them to Mami who, he believes, would prefer living an endless dream than face death.
Themes & Trivia
Jealous woman archetype: I am not very familiar with the contents of Japanese mythology and fairy tales, but Fuchi’s character made me think a lot about the Grim Brothers’ stories and the role the disgruntled older woman plays in the lives of the noble protagonists. It is very common, in western lore, to come across spiteful older women who passionately hate their younger counterparts and engage in some really shitty behaviour trying to compete with them. That behavior often includes homicide, just saying.
Nonsensical horror: Being an annoyingly left-brained person who enjoys rationalizing practically anything, I usually find it quite hard trying to put up with the narratives of horror stories that bring their protagonists to making increasingly stupid decisions that lead up to their deaths. In Fashion Model’s case, not only did the filming crew decide to cast the most abnormal candidate ever (which I can justify thanks to artistic stupidity), but they even went to hang out with her in a deserted mountaintop, where they could definitely not escape her previously witnessed vicious fangs.
Dreamy horror: There is always something very eerie and absurd when it comes to human dreams. As they are often affected by manifestations of our unconscious and have the ability to distort our perception of time and place, they seem like a horrifying thing over which we have very little control, while it has great control over us and the way we live our lives. Inception is, of course, a blockbuster that heavily capitalized on the concept of dreams and time (without doing too well imho), yet Junji Ito’s story, despite its absurd ending, is way creepier, probably thanks to the visuals of Mukouda’s corpse.
I guess this week’s episode was better than the previous one – I did find quite a few parts to be disturbing enough. Still, I can’t really help but feeling that the budget for the show is ridiculously low; the animation of Mami falling off her bed was ludicrous, to say the least. As I am not really expecting this to change, all I can do is express my disappointment, for I would love to see a proper Junji Ito show where the producers could have shown off some artistic skill.
At least the story was better
One can only hope. I mean, the show is still watchable and quite unsettling, but the quality of the animation puts me off big time.
What did you think of the Junji Ito Collection’s second episode? Let us know in the comment section below! And don’t forget to check the rest of the Winter 2018 anime reviews on MANGA.TOKYO!