‘Fashion Model’ and ‘Long Dreams’ are two stories that fit the style and tone of what people think of when they hear the name, Junji Ito.
Both stories were recently published in a best-of collection Shiver. This collection is the nine best stories of Ito’s work, picked by the artist himself. Many of the stories contained were introduced to American audiences for the first time ever, such as the stories featured in this episode: ‘Fashion Model’ and ‘Long Dreams’.
Shiver was released as a compliment to the Junji Ito Collection being released. It is no surprise that these two stories are in their own episode. However, it leads to the question why weren’t these stories picked to be the pilot episode?
Episode 2 is significantly stronger than episode 1. The universes are contained within themselves, and the characters do not need an extra explanation for their actions or motives. With these stories being relatively new to American audiences as well, it still serves as a way to bring new viewers in. ‘Fashion Model’ is in the same book as “Souichi’s Convenient Curse” and the main character needs no introduction besides this episode.
If the episodes ever return to Souchi and his world (which Fuchi is part of), it will lead to a confusing storytelling choice and one that leaves the series with a weaker overall arc. Jumping from story to story is fine, but returning to previously-seen characters and their world can be jarring, especially if it is done several episodes later.
‘Fashion Model’ introduces the viewer to Fuchi, a character who is first seen in Souichi’s Diary of Curses. Her first appearance is in the story ‘Rumors’, which comes before ‘Fashion Model’ in this manga. Despite her appearance, Fuchi is a prominent and well-known fashion model. She auditions for a role in an indie movie, much to the dismay of the screenwriter who has been haunted by her image after seeing it sometime before in a magazine.
Fuchi’s appearance and aspects of her appearance are much more vivid in animated form. Certain reveals end up being more menacing than they were in their black-and-white manga form. Fuchi’s voice also pairs well with her towering and terrifying appearance. This is one story that adapts extremely well to an animated medium.
‘Long Dreams’ is one of many of Ito’s works that have been adapted into a live-action film alongside Tomie and Gyo. It originally appeared in The Story of the Mysterious Tunnel. In it, a man ends up in a hospital for experiencing dreams that seem to take longer and longer each time. They start with days and begin to progress into months, then years. It questions the ideas of death and what happens to us when we dream.
‘Long Dreams’, like ‘A Doll’s Hellish Burial’, is separate from the Souichi’s Diary of Curses manga. However, it is significantly longer and more established than the latter story. This makes it a much better second part than ‘A Doll’s Hellish Burial’ since it is more impactful and fleshed out. It even partially explores the cause of the “illness”, which is something the short story in the first episode did not.
Both of these stories earn their place as prime examples of Ito’s work. ‘Fashion Model’ and ‘Long Dreams’ both show well-contained universes that do not need any extra explaining to be well thought out stories. They are creepy and horrifying for entirely different reasons that bring out the dark and questionable in human nature.
If Junji Ito Collection continues to follow in the path of these two strong stories, it becomes a must-see for any horror enthusiast, regardless of if they are familiar with Ito’s works.
Author: Lucian Clark
Lucian is the owner/creator of queer horror website, GenderTerror. They also hold a BA in Psychology from Post University. Favorites video games, rats, and cosplaying. They can be found most of the time writing fanfiction or yelling excitedly on Twitter.
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