Prepare to get sick of this guy real quick.

On the off-chance that anyone doesn’t know who Junji Ito is, he’s known as the master of horror and has penned numerous unnerving manga, from long creepy series to short and disconcerting one-shots. The concept behind Junji Ito Collection is an animated anthology of his most famous works.
In the first episode, we get Souichi’s Convenient Curses, in which an insufferable boy called Souichi monologues about how great he is while putting curses on everyone who slights him in any way (even if it’s only in his head) – curses which often work. Everyone else thinks he is extremely annoying.
Next, there is Hellish Doll Funeral, a much briefer story about a couple whose daughter transforms into a doll, and then again into something even creepier.

You know this actually -could- have looked creepy if it was animated right.

‘There’s gonna be an anime of Junji Ito short stories? Awesome! I hope i–oh its studio deen? never mind then.’

So…I do like Junji Ito, he’s a master at what he does. I already knew that it would be very, very difficult to animate his stories in a way that captures the right tone his manga have – he has a commendable command on linework and shading that gives a creepy and almost claustrophobic feeing so the images alone make you feel anxious. This is something that would have been absurdly hard to capture in animation regardless of the studio, but a good studio would have tried a little harder, or at least tried something completely different (as Orange did when adapting Houseki no Kuni last season). Then there’s Studio Doesntgiveafuck Deen, and this episode alone was bad enough to  have me start taking notes for 2018’s Worst Adaptation award.

It’s almost absurd how many things they managed to get wrong in just one episode. First of all, Junji Ito is a famous horror mangaka, as I’ve established. Some people aren’t familiar with him, so ideally this anime would be an introduction, and the first episode should show us a great example of what he’s known for. So good old Studio Deen choose to open with Souchi’s Convenient Curses. You know, that one Junji Ito manga everyone loves! The one that’s so famous! …Yeah, so, there’s a reason I’d never read this one myself, and that’s because aside from being one of his weaker works it’s….not even a horror one. Souichi isn’t meant to be scary, he’s just meant to be creepy and pathetic. It’s more of a dark comedy than anything else, but if you’re not familiar with that source and come in here expecting ‘masterful horror storytelling’ like you were probably promised, you’re going to spend the whole episode hating this slimy little git more and more while waiting for something bad to happen to him. I was certain that something bad or scary was going to end up happening to Souichi, but the story ends without any real conclusion. All that really happens is that he tries out different curses (which are often hard to take seriously anyway), and at one point dresses up and puts stilts on his arms and legs to creep out one of his classmates, all while his family get annoyed at him. It’s not scary, and Deen stretch it out so long it’s honestly just boring. This was possibly the worst choice of material to open with.

After that, there’s another story that actually is suitably scary – about the doll transformation and then the…whateverthehell transformation, in some kind of reality where this is something that regularly happens. If you’re wondering ‘so did Deen fuck this one up too?’, of course they did, and they did this by making the whole segment roughly two minutes long, because we’d already spent most of the episode on Souichi. As a result, it goes by too fast to really settle in, and it leaves you feeling more ‘wait what?’ than actually scared.

Content matter aside, there’s other things Deen got wrong. As I’ve mentioned, Ito’s striking artwork is now lifeless and dull, complete with wooden, boring animation. Instead of the cross-shading for which he’s renowned, we get…some kind of hideous swampy greenbrown filter on everything? In short, the show is ugly as sin.

Then there’s the opening, which, to be honest, has some decent enough visuals for a Junji Ito showcase. Except the opening song itself is an extremely ill-suited rock-song that doesn’t seem to match the visuals – or Junji Ito’s work – at all.

I’ll probably give this one more episode just to see if Deen fares a little better with a different Junji Ito story next time, but honestly, if this is what the whole show is going to be like don’t bother with this and read the original works. I feel like it’s been years since I’ve complained about Deen anime so there’s something kind of nostalgic about ragging on them again, but its disappointing to find out they’re still as lame as ever.

‘Anyway here’s something actually pretty scary-looking but too late, episodes over.’

Out of 5,

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