Spiral Into Horror: Junji Ito’s Manga “Uzumaki” Is Getting An Anime Adaptation

“Adult Swim” programming block “Toonami” released the trailer for the upcoming anime adaptation of Junji Ito’s horror manga series “Uzumaki”. Fans are looking forward to the series after a long hiatus in the animation industry in Japan.

Initially, the project was set to start in  2019 with a release date of October 2021, unfortunately, the pandemic had a major impact on the industry which led to the project being pushed further back. The series has now been set to debut in October 2022, and to hold fans over for the long wait, Director Hiroshi Nagahama allowed for the release of a teaser trailer to give us a look into how things are going with the series. Although not long nor revealing to the plot, it showed the overall style of the anime. The show is in black and white and incorporates some 3D animation. Nagahama’s choice in style creates the atmosphere of a Junji Ito panel come to life.  Along with the teaser, Toonami also held an interview with Nagahama which gave insight on not only his creative process and inspiration but also his challenges bringing “Uzumaki” to life.  

Towns people forcefully merged together in agony (Credit: Uzmaki)

One of the challenges in recreating the art of Junji Ito is the lack of color. Like most manga artists, Ito sticks to traditional black and white panels, yet in doing so, he creates the most vividly horrifying and thought-provoking images. It is for this reason that Nagahma has a hard time recreating this in the series.

A women spiraling into herself. (Credit: Uzmaki)

Nagahama expands on his difficulties in making the show black and white. He feels that lines and shadows when you draw characters in 3D, color helps support them quite a bit.  In comparison he says it’s like going into battle with minimal equipment, There are more risks involved in making it black and white. 

Lovers become intertwined with each other. (Credit: Uzmaki)

Nagahama’s adaptation of the Uzumaki series is not the first.  Back in 2000, director Akihiro Higuchi along with story writer Kengo Kagi made a film adaptation of the series. The film received mixed reviews, mainly because of continuity problems. The reason for this was that the manga series was yet to be completed. Kagi and Higuchi had to delineate from the series in order to make a full feature-length film. 

It’s a common opinion among Ito’s fanbase that his works get adapted poorly into cinema. The prime example of this shared disappointment is The Junji Ito Collection (2018). Fans claimed that it wasn’t a bad show at all, but if you’re a Junji Ito fan they wouldn’t recommend it. The characters were not as fleshed out as they were in the manga. Some felt It wasn’t scary at all either. Other complaints had a bone to pick with the continuity, calling out how some stories in the series strayed from the source material. 

Fans appreciate Nagahama’s willingness to not only stick to the source material but also the fact that he is trying to keep the essence of Junji Ito’s art and storytelling within the upcoming series. In his own way, Nagahama seems to be paying homage to the brilliance and artfulness of Junji Ito’s “The Master of Japanese Horror”. We look forward in anticipation as both Hiroshi Nagahama and Junji Ito lead us into the spiraling horror that is Uzumaki.

Hiroshi Nagahama Interview: Uzumaki Director Hiroshi Nagahama Interview | Toonami Special Edition | Adult Swim Con

Teaser Trailer:Uzumaki Update & Teaser | Toonami | adult swim

By Tyscen Taulawakeiaho, Culture Editor

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