I hope you haven’t been having any nightmares recently because if you have, you won’t be enjoying this episode of Junji Ito Collection, not one bit.
Japanese Original Episode Title: 中古レコード / 道のない街
In the first part of the episode, two friends are arguing over a nameless music record. Its owner refuses to let it be copied or have her friend borrow it, so her friend decides to steal it. She runs away with it as she’s being hunted down by the record’s owner until she decides to smack her on the head with a stone (and kill her). The girl then escapes and is desperately looking for a record player to play her newly acquired vinyl, but cannot find any analog players. She ends up in a vinyl shop, and when the shopkeeper realizes the record she is holding has been stolen from his shop, she starts hunting her down as well. She seeks refuge in a coffee shop that plays old records and finally manages to listen to her own record there. One of the customers recognizes this to be a song called Paula Bell’s Scat singing, supposedly recorded after her death, and guess what – he starts hunting her down as well. FUN!
The second part of the episode is a story on privacy and nightmares. According to a so-called Aristotelean method, if you whisper in someone’s ear while they sleep, you will appear in their dreams. The story starts with young Saiko’s flirt found dead after appearing in her dream to offer her a ring, killed by someone calling himself Jack the Ripper. After that dream, Saiko’s family begins spying on her, opening peeping holes in her room, yet completely denying their actions. Saiko deals with her nosy family by breaking her brother’s finger and stabbing her father in the eye. What a lovely family! She then decides to escape to find her aunt that lives in Kosako, but to her surprise, there is no bus going there, and she needs to walk. Does this setup sound familiar already?
Upon arriving near her aunt’s house, she realizes it’s been built over by some very crappy wooden houses, through which she has to walk through to get to her aunt’s house. The whole setup is very dodgy and everyone is wearing a mask – apparently, the people living in this shithole have abandoned the privacy of their homes, and their lives and residences are open for everyone to walk through. Also, her aunt has lost her mind. Saiko tries to escape, only to realize that the only person who had been helping her walk through this mess, is Jack the Ripper under a mask, wearing her ring.
Themes & Trivia
Dream Theme: Junji Ito’s work revolves a lot around dreams, as we’ve seen in previous episodes, like Long Dreams. Dreams being illustrated manifestation of our subconscious, it’s not hard to imagine how they can be so creepy. I wonder if his stories are inspired by his very own dreams.
Scat singing: In vocal jazz, scat singing is vocal improvisation with wordless lyrics. Like ‘doo-bee-doo-baa’ sort of thing. For more information, see Ella Fitzgerald.
Aristotle: Ancient Greek philosopher whose theories, despite my recent ventures in philosophy, I’m not familiar with. However, I’m pretty sure he hasn’t said anything about sleep whispering, and his method has nothing to do with it.
Jack the Ripper: Jack the Ripper refers to an unidentified serial killer generally believed to have been active in the impoverished areas of London in 1888. He’s a very common figure in western horror culture, for reasons I find unknown, as I believe he has been ridiculously overused in media.
Manga vs Anime: Transferring the Used Record story to an anime changes its nature very much, as, unlike in the manga, the viewer gets to experience the actual song, something that certainly takes away from its spookiness. Had it been me, I would have left the record blank.
Creepy music: If you’re into that sort of thing, check out the Hungarian Suicide song (also performed in English as Gloomy Sunday by Billie Holiday) and Van den Budenmayer’s Concerto In E Minor. Great stuff.
I chose the wrong time to watch this
And I’m particularly referring to the second part of the episode. I woke up after a horribly exhausting nightmare session only to see a similar version of it on screen. Creepy.
What did you think of the Junji Ito Collection’s seventh episode? Let us know in the comment section! And don’t forget to check the rest of the Winter 2018 anime reviews on MANGA.TOKYO!