After the poor reception garnered from The Junji Ito Collection, with its animation doing an injustice to the masterfully creepy short stories that it was adapting, fans of Junji Ito’s work had little hope of there ever being an anime that could properly capture its unique horror.
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But there is light on the horizon: an adaptation of Uzumaki has been announced by Adult Swim, who will be airing it in the US on their Toonami block. The trailer has been met with a huge amount of hype, and it looks like this might finally be the anime that gives Junji Ito fans what they want.
10 A Series That Lives Up To The Trailer
Frankly, as long as the anime is half as good as the trailers, it could easily be the best adaption of Ito’s work so far. The best thing about the trailers is that they don’t spoil any of the series’ big scares or boldest images. For example, the audience doesn’t see any blood or gore and is instead shown a simple scene of Kirie walking down a street in Kurozu-cho. Plus, the attention to detail in just her footsteps is incredible. If that level of quality carries over to the series’ animation, fans are in for a treat.
9 Plenty of Haunting Music To Set The Mood
One of the stand-outs from the trailer is the music from Colin Stetson (the man behind Hereditary’s soundtrack), who uses his saxophone to create truly haunting soundscapes that capture the feeling of wrongness that the manga instills in its readers.
Music is always an important part of an anime adaption, as it’s the element of sound that shows can make completely their own. If all the pieces in the series are as good as in the trailer, this anime could go down as being a truly incredible adaptation.
8 A Great Voice Cast Who Can Pull Of Screams Of Terror
Voice acting for horror series is one of the hardest jobs in the business, as the voice actors have to pull off screams of terror without coming across as cheesy or over-the-top. This is especially true for Uzumaki, whose main character, Kirie, spends a lot of the series screaming in understandable horror at the various events Kurozu-cho throws at her.
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Hopefully, Uki Satake, whose voice audiences heard in the second trailer, will be able to do Ito’s illustrations of Kirie’s terror justice. And with the extremely prolific voice actor Shinichiro Miki taking the role of Shuichi, his paranoid rambling might come across as even creepier.
7 Artwork That Captures All The Details
As The Junji Ito Collection proved, any adaption of Ito’s work that isn’t able to capture his signature fine detail just won’t be able to have the same effect as his manga. And when it comes to Uzumaki, those fine details really take center stage, with many pages being so full of tiny spirals that readers find themselves getting dizzy.
Luckily, the trailers have shown that the team behind the anime is dedicated to bringing those details to life, with the unique use of only black and white invoking Ito’s stunning pen drawings.
6 Truly Terrifying Horror Is The Key To Success
When it comes to horror, anime doesn’t have the best track record, with many struggling to find the balance between build-up and scares, as well as the line between terrifying imagery and over-the-top unintentional comedy.
If Uzumaki is able to pull off its story, then, it could go down in history as one of the best horror anime ever. Even horror fans who have never read the manga will be waiting hopefully to find out how successful it is. Luckily, the quiet, understated tension of the trailers seems like a good sign.
5 A Stronger Overarching Story
One of the complaints that many readers have about Uzumaki is that it can feel like a story of two halves. After a storm devastates the town in Chapter 12, the series becomes a post-apocalyptic survival horror rather than an episodic manga that almost resembled a series of thematically connected short stories.
This could be fixed in the anime adaption by having the stories feel more connected to each other from the very beginning, perhaps through shared characters, or by making Kurozu-cho’s descent into ruin feel less sudden.
4 More Characterization For The Main Cast
Uzumaki’s protagonist, Kirie, tends to inspire mixed reactions in readers. Her dedication to protecting her family in later chapters is admirable, but her seeming obliviousness throughout the earlier chapters can be frustrating to watch.
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Similarly, her relationship with Shuichi is heartwarmingly strong all the way through, but readers never really get a sense of why they care so much about each other. Some quieter scenes of the two interacting, as well as some moments detailing Kirie’s attachment to Kurozu-cho, might help solve both these problems.
3 More Fleshed-Out Side Characters
What would it be like living in Kurozu-cho and experiencing all its horrors, but not having Kirie’s connection to sanity through Shuichi? Uzumaki has plenty of side characters, but they are often introduced and killed off in the same chapter or don’t get much focus at all.
Showing how the town’s residents cope with what’s happening around them might also deal with one of the main complaints about the series, which is that it never offers an explanation for why no one seems to even consider leaving until it’s far too late.
2 Impressively Animated Action For Extra Style
Uzumaki might chiefly be remembered for its body horror and psychological elements, but in later chapters, the story also has the potential for great action scenes as Kurozu-cho becomes the playground for tornado-riding delinquents.
Since animation is something completely new that can be brought to the story, the creators may want to use it to its fullest potential. Great action scenes will help the series both feel like a good anime (rather than just a good story), as well as adding another layer of threat.
1 Hints At Kurozu-cho’s Past
According to the last chapter of the manga, the town of Kurozu-cho has always been trapped in a cycle of destruction related to the massive “city of spirals” that lurks beneath it. While the anime should be careful not to ruin the mysterious origin of this curse, it would definitely be interesting for it to hint at how the curse manifested in the past, perhaps with some exploration of the row houses that have been left behind. A few theories about who built the spiral city could also take this adaptation to the next level.
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About The Author
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Polly Scott is a writer, hobbyist game dev, and long-term anime fan. She lives in Scotland, where she received a first class degree in English Literature from the University of St Andrews. She’s currently studying for a master’s degree. If something’s weird, she’ll probably love it.
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