Junji Ito’s Maniac: Top 8 stories that could appear in the Netflix series

Junji Ito's maniac poster
Junji Ito’s maniac manga poster. Pic credit: Viz media

Junji Ito has established himself as one of the best storytellers in the realm of horror, not just in the medium of anime but also in the world of pop culture. With the Adult Swim adaptation of Toonami’s Uzumaki scheduled to be released this autumn, Netflix is getting in on the action with Junji Ito’s Maniac, and we thought now was the perfect moment to guess which stories from Ito’s portfolio would be hitting the streaming site.

If you missed Junji Ito’s announcement of the new series, the official Twitter account for Netflix Geeked published a brand new video in which the master of horror discusses the next frightening project:

Because Ito stated that these stories have never been animated, characters like Uzumaki, Gyo, and the Model are unlikely to appear. Still, there are plenty of other topics for the series to focus on. Here is a list of likely stories to appear in Junji Ito’s highly anticipated Maniac series.

Hellstar Remina

Hellstar Remina manga panel of a large ball monster in the sky
Hellstar Remina manga panel. Pic credit: Shogakukan

Hellstar Remina is a strange story, even for Junji Ito, which is saying a lot considering the mangaka’s previous works. The mini-series, which premiered in 2004, follows the daughter of a scientist who discovers a rogue planet on a collision course with Earth. With Remina striving to flee from the members of humanity who believe she is to blame for the threat, Ito can communicate some truly terrible imagery that would translate beautifully to the small screen.

Professor Oguro, a Nobel Prize winner, has found an entity and named the entity Remina after his daughter. She and the planet are both 16 years old, a circumstance that propels the young woman to fame. While Remina appears to be a terrifying tale of space-faring evil, it also casts a hungry eye on society’s celebrity addiction.

However, as the media and devoted fans pursue her, her fame comes at a cost. Meanwhile, astronomers note that the Planet Remina is behaving strangely, exceeding the speed of light at times as it wanders wildly across space. A worrying finding is made: stars around Planet Remina vanish from the night sky.

Ito’s voyage into evil from beyond the stars is a rare treat for fans, inspired by the work of novelist H.P. Lovecraft. The most common risks in Ito’s work are within humanity.

Enigma of Amigura Fault

Enigma of Amigura Fault manga colored panel.
Enigma of Amigura Fault manga-colored panel. Pic credit: Crunchyroll

The Enigma of Amigura Fault centers on a mountainside riddled with human-sized holes “meant” for people, with a peculiar magnetism luring individuals into the cramped environment. It’s a simple story, but it will make anyone who suffers from claustrophobia wince, with an ending that will send shivers down anyone’s spine. Many believe this to be one of Junji Ito’s creepiest stories; therefore, it’s surprising that it didn’t make the cut for the original Junji Ito anthology series.

Although Uzumaki is Ito’s most well-known manga, most of his work consists of short stories. He’s written short fiction about almost every phobia or classic horror cliche. However, few of them are as terrifying as his infamous thriller The Enigma of Amigara Fault. Ito’s longer piece Gyo, which first appeared as an extra after it, follows the story of a young man who climbs into the mountains to explore the weird human-shaped holes discovered there. But what exactly is it that makes it so terrifying?

When Ito gets the reader straight inside the weird person-shaped holes, his excellent use of shading produces darkness that nearly fills the page, save for the little, terrified human figure in the center. The reader can almost feel the crushing weight of the world around them.

Red Turtleneck

Red Turtleneck Demon manga panel
Red Turtleneck Demon manga panel. Pic credit: Viz media

“Red Turtleneck” by Junji Ito is a simple enough story. Still, it mixes the horrifying with the amusing, as a little kid tries to maintain his head on his shoulders after encountering a mystery woman who wants to add his head to her collection. At one point, the woman makes such efforts to obtain the protagonist’s head that it would make anyone wince, especially if you aren’t a massive admirer of insects.


Sensor manga colored panel
Sensor manga colored cover. Pic credit: Viz media

One of Junji Ito’s most recent works, Sensor, combines Lovecraftian horrors with images that only this horror mangaka can create. The official description of Viz Media’s latest eerie tale reads as follows:

“A woman wanders by herself at the base of Mount Sengoku.” A man appears and invites her to a neighboring village, stating he has been waiting for her. Surprisingly, the entire settlement is coated in hair-like volcanic glass threads that gleam brilliant gold. When the villagers gaze up into the starry sky at night, a slew of unexplained flying objects rain down on them—the opening act for the horror that is about to unfold!

Junji Ito was inspired to create Sensor after reading a book about UFOs and learning about the phenomena known as “angel hair,” which occurs when lava from an erupting volcano solidifies into thin, hair-like strands and falls as odd rain.

That may seem like a lot of groundwork for a single story (especially one with fewer than ten chapters), and it is. And if some of the storyline threads don’t always pay off — the story’s final human villain is more plot point than a fleshed-out character — Ito is still taking his signature huge swings and primarily hitting them out of the park.

Army of One

Army of One manga colored panel
Army of One single character manga-colored panel. Pic credit: Viz Media

Junji Ito’s Army of One is so horrific that it’s tough to even publish an image from it, with the story appearing as a side story within the Hellstar Remina publication and seeing a murderer on the run who not only kills but even stitches people and animals together. It’s a terrifying narrative and one that only Ito could have dreamt up and written down.

In the plot of a terrorized town, much like Uzumaki. It gives the same vibe of a violent person who performs terrible things in this town. However, reflecting on our society’s links, no one should be left out, and safety is in numbers.

This story is told through Michio, a twenty-year-old introvert who wishes to live his life as a hermit and rejects the concept of connection. Michio begins to make up for the lost time by attending numerous social functions and getting involved at the advice of his classmate (and previous crush). The weird parallel begins as the victims pile up, accompanied by a rain of papers bearing the words, “Nobody likes a lonely only, everybody link hands now, everybody connects hearts now.”

Any occasion, including singles events, reunions, and even Christmas celebrations, results in the deaths of groups of individuals due to “stitch murders.” Something horrific and monstrous has happened to several people, as evidenced by an artistic statement, papers, and a strange radio transmission.

It’s a story that delivers on curiosity and questions our introverted or extroverted personalities—the choice between living a life and staying within. Despite losing a possible connection, connect with someone or stay out of the crowd for safety.

Den of the Sleep Demon

Den of the Sleep Demon manga panel
Den of the Sleep Demon manga panel. Pic credit: Viz media

Den of the Sleep Demon follows a young child troubled by a strange person attempting to take over his life, with the demon striving to escape into the real world in the most horrific way possible. It goes without saying that this story animated would make viewers’ skin crawl. Consider Junji Ito’s interpretation of Freddy Krueger, and then imagine how the mangaka w able to make the nightmare demon even more horrific than the razor-fingered slasher of Elm Street.

Den of the Sleep Demon is the fifth chapter from House of the Marionettes, the tenth volume of the Horror World of Junji Ito Collection, and the third chapter of Museum of Terror vol. 3.

The Secret of the Haunted Mansion

The Secret of the Haunted Mansion, haunting manga panel
The Secret of the Haunted Mansion, haunting manga panel. Pic credit: Viz media

We don’t know what to say if the above image doesn’t sell you on the tragedy of this story. The Secret of the Haunted Mansion has some of Junji Ito’s most horrifying creatures while also making a pivotal reference to a previous story by the master of horror, which could lead to the concept that some of these stories are set in the same universe.

“The Mystery of the Haunted House” is one of the few Souichi Tsujii stories to make it to the United States. The Mystery of the Haunted House is in the Junji Ito Collection volume Smashed and is possibly the most terrifying story in the Souichi series. The narrative portrays the character as the nasty 27-year-old proprietor of a haunted mansion, a far cry from the 11-year-old Souichi’s amusing pranks. However, as every visitor to the haunted home quickly discovers, the location is less of a fun distraction and more of a veritable house of horrors.

The story is narrated in two parts, from the perspectives of two different characters: a young boy named Kouichi (who shares the same name as Souichi’s older brother) and Michina Hirose, Souichi’s cousin. In the first version, he chooses to investigate the haunted house rumors with his friend Satoshi. Souichi allows the two lads unfettered admission, only for them to discover that Souichi has a son who eats the visitors. Kouichi escapes unscathed, but Satoshi does not.

In the second version, Michina is hunting for the lost Tsujii family, whom she knew as a child. Her inquiry takes her to Japan’s Tohoku region, where she discovers Souichi’s older brother in critical condition. When she discovers the rest of the Tsujii family within Souichi’s haunted house, she is horrified to learn that Souichi had enslaved and abused his own family as sideshow attractions. Michina is only saved by the opportune arrival of Souichi’s wife, Fuchi, a recurrent Junji Ito monster.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein manga panel
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein manga panel. Pic credit: Viz media

Despite being a horror maestro in his own right, with plenty of stories to tell, Junji Ito is a horror enthusiast. It was only a matter of time until he did his version of a well-known horror classic. In this case, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Though not entirely faithful to Shelley’s original novel, Ito maintains the same basic plot of a man who decides to play God and suffers the repercussions in disastrous ways.

Ito’s manga adaptation evokes the work’s gothic visuals and the themes of addiction and desire, humanity and horror, and family and solitude throughout Shelley’s novel. Both Victor Frankenstein and the horror he created are still depicted as the book’s central characters. Victor remains a human with monstrous motivations, while the creature remains a monstrous construct with human causes. The manga adaption is a worthwhile read during the Halloween season due to the combination of Shelley’s words and Ito’s visuals.

Junji Ito, Japan’s most recognized horror mangaka, has earned his position in the spotlight with massive hits such as Tomie, Uzumaki, and Lovesickness. While each of those stories is horrifying in its own right, Ito’s biggest hits aren’t his only best works. Ito has dipped his toe into every horror pool imaginable, thanks to an extensive library of short stories. Junji Ito is a true horror maestro, from eerie ghost stories to slashers to adaptations of horror classics.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x