This week’s episode gave us a little of Ito’s Lovecraft side and a little of his Burton side.
The first story, “The Further Tales of Oshikiri,” is actually the fifth one centering around Oshikiri, a short high school boy who lives by himself in a creepy western-style mansion. This is an interesting choice on the part of the animation staff, seeing as how the first story, “Hallucinations” is a typical Ito body horror mystery. But no, they chose “Further Tales...” which is Ito at his most Lovecraftian, with a nebbish hero, gothic setting, ghostly apparitions, (in)human monsters, and mad science.
Oshikiri has been seeing strange apparitions of his classmates at night; a ghost of his crush and a giant version of his bully that melts into a puddle of goo. He suspects that his house is a portal to alternate universes, and he’s seeing images from those universes. Unforntunately, his suspicion is confirmed when he meets his other self.
I’m actually happy that the staff chose this particular Oshikiri story to animate (first - ?). The others are seemingly unconnected, and this is the tale that explains why. It’s almost like the “Solution Arc,” for those of you familiar with Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni/When They Cry. There are some great touches of animation here like the goo of a melted classmate sticking to Oshikiri’s slipper as he walks, and a final detail that was not in the original that sent a shiver up my spine.
The second tale is another Souichi story. Not surprising, since he is so prominent in the OP. As much as I can take or leave Souichi, I can see his humor and charm in “Cloth Teacher.” I recently read a post on Reddit that decribed the character as “my chuuni nail son.” I guess thinking of him that way is causing him to grow on me.
Here, Souichi has started draining the life force of people who annoy him and swapping them with life-size, animated doll copies. The tale is told from the point of view of one of his classmates that doesn’t have time for his shit. All the child characters pretty much know right off the bat what’s going on, they just have to figure out how to put an end to Souichi’s shenanigans before they cause lasting harm. It’s weird, it’s wacky, and it’s fun.
Whoever directed this episode added in some nice little details like the slipper goo mentioned above and the female doll’s glasses throwing sparks as they rub against a brick wall. A few elements were cut for time like a female classmate character and some incidental scenes, but none affected the understanding of the plot (unlike last episode).
Next episode will be Collection No. 123 and o67. The Horror World of Junji Ito doesn’t even have 123 chapters, so who know what it will be. Maybe “Junji’s Cat Diary”? A weird choice for animation as it has no really narrative, but it’s a cute reminiscence drawn in creepy style. Chapter 67 is “The Second Hand Record.” But “House of Marionttes” was No. 60, so if I count about 7 chapters down, I sort of land on “The Bully.” So, yeah, maybe next week will be “The Bully.”
P.S. I just found out that there is a collection called Ito Junji Masterpiece Collection from 2011, but I can’t find any chapter listing for it. Anyone out there have these? Maybe that’s what the show is using?