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Tombs Junji Ito Story Collection Review!

Tombs Junji Ito Story Collection Review!

-Written by: Chris S | April 2023

Don't get me wrong; I love Junji Ito's work! If you don't believe me, go through our blog and take a look at how many of his manga I've reviewed over the last two years. There's been a lot! However, that's sort of become the problem. Just like Star Wars and Marvel, two other franchises I am a fan of, there always seems to be so much new material that I start to get fatigued from trying to keep up. Either time is moving quicker, Junji Ito is working overtime, or Viz is just getting around to releasing years of his backlog that hasn't been published in English yet. I'm guessing the latter is the case because many of the stories in Tombs are not new to me. Many of them have been featured in the anime series Junji Ito Collection or Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre. One of these stories is "Slug Girl," which I've seen images from for years. Are we seriously just getting this story in English for the first time?

Of course, I don't blame Viz for this. In fact, I should be thanking them for bringing so many official translations of Junji Ito's stories to the west. But one suggestion I might have is including some sort of brief introduction to when each story was first released in Japan or what publication it was originally included in. For a Junji Ito fan, it feels very unclear which material is brand new versus which material us English speakers have waited years to read without doing research. Just food for thought.

With those gripes aside, what else can I say? Many of the stories in Tombs, the newest in Viz's line of "Junji Ito Story Collection" titles, are as terrifying and gruesome as you'd expect from the horror mangaka. Unfortunately, many of them are not new to me because of the aforementioned anime series. These include the iconic "Slug Girl," the titular "Tombs," the story of the grotesque woman in "The Window Next Door," the unfinished story of "Washed Ashore," and the honestly dull "Strange Tale of the Tunnel." Needless to say, I was disappointed with the lack of stories that were new to me.

Fortunately, the few stories that were new to me were mostly memorable and engaging. While "Tombs" is clearly the best story (which is why it was probably why it was featured as the title of the entire book), "The Bloody Story of Shirosuna" was a close second favorite. Without spoiling anything, the overarching story had a very Ito-esque feel and familiarity to it. Somehow it felt like stories he has written before, yet totally different at the same time. A desolate town in the middle of nowhere with citizens cursed by something supernatural and mysterious? That's classic Junji Ito! Yet, the story kept me engaged, and I thought the payoff was clever and memorable.

"Bronze Statue" was another story that was new to me that I still enjoyed. Yet again, it contains ideas similar to what Junji Ito has done before, this time with the focus on statues or sculptures of people. This one may take the cake for creepiest, though. Speaking of creepy, "The Window Next Door" features what I consider to be the scariest looking character Junji Ito has ever drawn. As I said before, it was a story I knew from the anime, but it is nice to have the original manga story now.

Sorry to be a negative Nancy yet again, but the remaining two stories, "Clubhouse" and "Floaters," really didn't do anything for me. In fact, I was almost falling asleep as I read these two at night. That being said, I still think Tombs is worth adding to your collection. There is enough quality content to please Junji Ito fans, especially if you haven't seen either of the anime series I mentioned before. If you have seen them, don't expect too many new things, but be happy that we now have a book with these stories officially printed in English.

Tombs Junji Ito Story Collection Manga (Hardcover)

Tombs features story and art by Junji Ito.

Three-time Eisner Award winner Junji Ito invites you to the horrific Tomb Town and beyond.

Countless tombstones stand in rows throughout a small community, forming a bizarre tableau. What fate awaits a brother and sister after a traffic accident in this town of the dead? In another tale, a girl falls silent, her tongue transformed into a slug. Can a friend save her? Then, when a young man moves to a new town, he finds the house next door has only a single window. What does his grotesque neighbor want, calling out to him every evening from that lone window?

Fresh nightmares brought to you by horror master Junji Ito.

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