This week’s Junji ItoCollection was, by far, its most unpleasant episode yet. From some unprecedentedly poor art to a really disturbing second segment, it didn’t do the already struggling show any favors.
Japanese Original Episode Title: ご先祖様 / サーカスが来た
In the first part of the episode, Risa is found on the street by her fiancé, suffering from amnesia. As she is recovering, she keeps having nightmares of a giant caterpillar sneaking up on her in her sleep. Her fiancé urges her to leave the house and go outside, arguing that she needs some fresh air. He later convinces her to visit his home, and once more meet his ill father. His father is so sick he can only crawl using his feet while lying on his back. He encourages Risa to resume the engagement to his son. Risa has an eerie feeling about the house and the father, and this feeling only gets worse when her fiancé unexpectedly comes around out of the blue and urges her to follow him home, because his father is dying. When visiting this time, Risa sees that the dying old man’s head is connected to that of all his ancestors… that’s something you can’t really picture unless you witness it, trust me. Risa obviously fails at escaping and is forced to mate with her fiancé’s weird bloodline or something.
The second part of the episode is about the circus visiting a small town. All the circus staff keeps dying one after another, trying to earn the favors of the ringmaster and the hand of the tight-rope walking Leila. When the ringmaster runs out of people, he asks for the audience to become a part of his troupe, aiming to kill them and steal their souls, just like he did with everyone before them.
Themes & Trivia
Amnesia: To my surprise (not), amnesia in popular media is not exactly as portrayed. Losing your memories works in much more complicated ways. If you’re interested in examining the difference between actual amnesia and its use in popular culture, read more here.
The exorcist walk: Did you notice how Risa’s fiancé crawled out of the room on his back, just like that little cute girl that was possessed by the devil? No pun intended.
The circus: A tradition spanning close to 250 years, the circus is a company of people displaying various talents by moving around from city to city. I find circuses horrible and disgusting animal abuse centers, and the stats are not doing them any favors. If you think you’d like to learn more, enjoy.
Where do I begin? The giant caterpillar that looked like the offspring of a seal with a sea urchin? The fact that Risa’s nose changed sizes a million times during the episode, or that she mostly looked like a disfigured man? And the second part of the episode, it was painful to watch… out of all the Junji Ito stories, this is probably the one with the most deaths/second. Not great.
What did you think of the Junji Ito Collection’s eighth 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!