Creator / Junji Ito

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Binjo_Tsuji_4918.jpg
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

The David Cronenberg of manga.

Junji Ito is one of the top leading mangakas in the horror genre, his most popular works being Uzumaki, Tomie, Gyo and The Enigma of Amigara Fault. His Tomie series have been adapted into a series of movies and TV specials, eventually followed by a movie adaptation of Uzumaki.

He used to also work as a dental technician until the early 1990s, which probably explains a couple of things about his work.

Some of his works:


Tropes commonly found in his works:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: A few of these. Kari in Groaning Drain Pipes, the neighbor in The Adjacent Window, and Ms. Fuchi in Fashion Model are all examples. Manami in "Haunted Wood Mansion" is this to a house.
  • Abnormal Limb Rotation Range: Something like this may be possible for the monstrous hikers in "Mountain of the Gods", as we see one pressed against a tent- face on the bottom, hands at standing level.
  • Action Survivor: The default for any heroic character who survives more than one chapter.
  • Adaptation Expansion: His take of Frankenstein - it is actually very faithful, with one exception as to why The doctor made a new creature. Doesn't even go too far Off the Rails.
  • All Just a Dream: The first two stories featuring Souichi Tsujii and his family (Secret of the Haunted Mansion and The Souchi Front) were established as being this (with the first story flat-out retconned from the series canon). This is largely because the later stories involving the Tsujii family are mostly Lighter and Softer Black Comedies focusing on child Souichi, in contrast to the outright horror and gorn of the first two installments, where he is an adult.
  • And I Must Scream: Many of his endings count as this.
  • Asshole Victim: Pretty much every character in Splatter Film, save for Ogi, who obtained the honey as a gift and had presumably been consuming it for years before the other characters interfered.
    • The Earthbound in the one-shot of the same name are revealed to be trapped by guilt over murders they committed.
  • Astral Projection: Possible subversion in Deadman Calling. The "ghost" of a criminal sentenced to death visits the home of his only living victims every night, begging for forgiveness. On the night when his sentence is carried out, the "ghost" stops appearing.
    • The tree in Splatter Film either teleports or projects its branches to attack whoever it catches eating the honey made from its nectar.
    • The Ghost of Golden Time centers on an unfunny stand-up duo becoming famous by astrally projecting to tickle the audience and make them all laugh hysterically. They also tickle the protagonist's friend to death because the protagonist could see spirits and guessed their secret.
    • A Paradoxical Night stone in Black Paradox will unleash the soul it contains if hit hard enough.
  • Author Appeal: Hair and obsessions with beauty often appear in his works. They're never good.
  • Bad Humor Truck: Ice Cream Bus. You are what you eat...
  • Bait and Switch: "The Town Without Streets". It begins with a girl dreaming about a boy, then he gets murdered, leading to her family becoming Properly Paranoid. Then halfway into the story, the girl finds herself in a town where houses are built over the streets. The Ripper comes back, though.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: You can usually get a good idea of who's going to be a nice person/protagonist just by looking at them.
    • However, it is also equally obvious what the character is like if their "beauty" goes a tad over the top.
    • If a character's role in the story shifts at all, there's usually a corresponding shift in appearance. Compare Koichi (the balding man) on this page to a couple of pages later. Regaining one's sanity apparently makes you look a few years younger.
    • Inverted in Dying Young. Girls catch a disease which makes them extraordinarily pretty, but kills them soon after. A rumor is spread that killing another girl on a certain date will stave off death.
    • Downright subverted in Army of One (the short story at the end of Hellstar Remina), where the protagonist's crush was revealed to have stitched her parents together. Whether she became afflicted with the sewing madness by her loneliness and despair, or was one of the parties responsible for the incidents, is left unanswered.
    • Averted in Ice Cream Bus: The bus looks normal and the driver is handsome, but children are slowly turned into ice cream after they ride the bus.
    • Inverted in Memories: The protagonist has lost her memories of her childhood. Although beautiful, she has just one memory of herself with a hideous/deformed face, and is terrified of returning to that state. She eventually learns that her memory is of her twin sister, whom she murdered out of terror of becoming ugly like her sister.
    • Tomie is perhaps one of the biggest subversions of this trope. She is unbelievably beautiful and desirable but also vain, cold, cruel, selfish, chaotic, and enjoys tormenting people by making them become obsessed with her and then ignoring them.
    • The Bizarre Hikizuri Siblings. Subvert this. Narumi is set up as an innocent girl being put upon by her fiendish and bizarre siblings, and is pretty... but she turns out to be selfish, spiteful, manipulative, and incapable of really caring about others. The actual good one of the family is Hitoshi, who is corpse-like, with sunken, bag-plagued eyes, a slouch, and a drawn face with an overly long chin, resembling a somewhat more normal version of his older brother Kazuya. He does turn into a cute kid for about a panel when we first find this out, but after that he's right back to being just mildly less unsettling than most of his siblings.
    • Averted with "The Back Alley" as it turns out that the normally/mildly attractively drawn Shinobu is the one responsible with the killing.
  • Bee Bee Gun: The boy in Beehive who can control bees and uses them to fend off hive robbers. Then, after the boy is killed and buried, they make a hive around the boy's head and start tending to him.
  • Beware of Hitchhiking Ghosts: Subverted to Hell and back in Anything but a Ghost.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Bizarre Hikizuri Siblings. They're like an abusive Addams Family
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Misaki in Anything But a Ghost, Shinobu in Back Alley, Satoko in Orphan Girl to name but a few. Tomie very often starts out as one of these.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Intersection Fortune Telling. Ryuusuke ultimately dies without protecting those he cares about or stopping the Intersection Pretty Boy, but the ending implies that he's actually become the Pretty Boy's Good Counterpart who can oppose him on his own level.
  • Black and White Morality: The Intersection Pretty Boy vs. the aptly-named White-clothed Pretty Boy AKA Ryuusuke in the Intersection Fortune Telling mini-arc.
  • Black Comedy: Creepy as they are, it soon becomes obvious that he's more interested in having fun with his stories than in treating them as matters of deadly seriousness. See also: Uzumaki's human jack-in-the-box and the continuing misadventures of Soichi Tsuji.
  • Body Horror: His work essentially runs on this trope.
    • In Hell'o Dollies, Doll's disease is turning children into dolls. And that's before things go From Bad to Worse.
    • To say nothing of Flesh-Colored Horror...when we see what Chikara's mother's idea of "beauty" is.
    • Uzumaki
    • The Enigma of Amigara Fault
    • Tomie runs on this. When you kill her, each part becomes a new Tomie. You get to watch her body slowly reform over the course of weeks. Also, the only way to kill Tomie is to burn her entirely. Any parts left are still alive and capable of speech!
  • Came Back Wrong: Soichi's grandfather in Coffin and Shibayama in The Supernatural Transfer Student
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Characters cheating on their wives/girlfriends will suffer horrific consequences as a result, such as Shigeru in Anything But a Ghost and Tomio in Fragments of Evil.
  • The Chew Toy: Soichi Tsuji, the sinister, nail-eating villain of several short stories, tends to have his various evil schemes backfire on him in the most gruesome, humiliating manners possible, in marked contrast to the usual fate of an Ito antagonist.
  • Clothes Make the Maniac: The titular Sword of the Reanimator always possesses its owner and makes them carry out its will, including Keiji after he acquires it.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: His stories hardly ever have a corporeal villain or a clear explanation for why horrible things are happening to people; instead, the source of everyone's misfortunes will be some unknowable, untouchable, faceless force like the spiral in Uzumaki or the titular enigmatic fault at Amigara.
  • Covers Always Lie: Just from looking at the front cover of Mimi's Ghost Stories, you would get the impression that she's the villain. In the actual manga, she's just a random college-aged young woman who happens to be an incredibly unlucky Weirdness Magnet.
  • Creepy Cemetery: This setting is sometimes featured, and played for additional horror in context- Japan rarely practices burial, so the notion of whole corpses interred in the ground is seen as very bizarre and disgusting.
  • Creepy Child: Especially Soichi and his potential son.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: In "Nanakuse Kyokumi", the titular author is a transvestite played for horror, though this aspect is never key to the story.
  • Creepy Doll: In "A Doll's Hellish Burial", this is taken to a horrifying extreme. The daughter of the protagonist, Maria, is afflicted with a disease that first turns her into a doll, then into something more disturbing for its passing resemblance to a human being.
  • Creepy Twins: Soichi's Birthday gave Soichi an equally terrifying twin (whether a ghost or a conjured figment of his imagination isn't clear.)
  • Daddy's Girl: Akiko in Lingering Farewell is probably the best example. Miho in Heart of a Father was one until her father started turning against her. Also Mizusu from Approval, whose father lied and used a man for years just to be able to see her spirit.
  • Darker and Edgier: His adaptation of Edogawa Ranpo's The Human Chair, which is about an author reading a letter that gradually reveals that the man who wrote it is a stalker who's been concealing himself inside of her sofa. In the original story, the twist is that there never was a man in the sofa and it's a story he's written for her to critique. In Ito's version? Nope, he's really in there.
  • Dead All Along: Furukawa in A Deserter in the House.
    • Lingering Farewell is based around a family that creates living "memories" of loved ones who have died, which linger for twenty years or so to give the family time to say goodbye, before disappearing forever. Yuka turns out to be such after having died from a childhood illness, as does Akiko, who was killed by a car on her wedding day and never knew she was dead throughout the story.
  • Death Glare: In the Valley of Mirrors.
  • Determinator: The protagonist in Intersection Fortune Telling is The Atoner who's accused of being the devilish Intersection Pretty Boy who always gives suicide-inducting advice, and is thus blamed for any death from the fortune telling, but nevertheless will do anything to catch the real deal. Not even being mobbed by a giant army of suicide ghosts and most definitely dead from the encounter stop him from continuing to oppose the Intersection Pretty Boy, becoming a Messianic Archetype in the process.
  • Diabolus ex Nihilo: Few of the horrific beings who show up in Ito's works have known backstories or match any creatures from myth or legend... which makes them all the more TERRIFYING. Compare a horror story where the villain is a vampire: the tension only lasts until the characters deduce which of the stock vampiric weaknesses apply in this 'verse. But if the villain's a planet-eating abomination from the sky? A cliffside full of people-shaped holes? The very concept of the spiral shape itself?
  • Disability Immunity: Yukari in Village of Sirens deafens herself so she can no longer be affected by the siren.
  • Disability Superpower: Because of a rare blood disorder, Souichi must have a constant supply of iron to live. He achieves this by feeding on carpenter's nails, which he also sticks between his teeth to bite people with, spits at enemies and hammers into voodoo dolls.
    • Souichi's Birthday implies that he used his curses to bring the condition upon himself. He didn't have it as a young child, and got his habit of carrying things in his mouth from his grandmother, who always had a toothpick in her mouth.
  • The Dog Bites Back: A rather literal case of a cat biting back. Soichi curses the family cat, Colin, and lives to regret it.
    • Chikara from Flesh-Colored Horror gets back at his psycho mom by dissolving her skin suit with acid, dooming her to eventually mummify.
    • In one of the Bizarre Hikizuri Siblings stories, the badly abused and mistreated Hitoshi manages to get back at his siblings by summoning the terrifying ectoplasmic form of their father from his mouth. He's completely oblivious.
  • Downer Ending: The number of stories by him that don't end with the entire cast dead, Armageddon, or a combination of thetwo can be counted on one hand.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • The Intersection Pretty Boy is based around girls being compelled to commit suicide after meeting a mysterious man at intersections.
    • The premise of Black Paradox is strange events happening after four people meet over the internet to arrange a group suicide.
    • Other examples include Yuina in Anything But a Ghost, Masao in Drifting Spores, Furukawa in A Deserter in the House and the father in Heart of a Father. Tomie's adoptive mother killed herself in one story.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: The only difference between Ito's male and female protagonists, appearance wise, are that the guys sometimes have a longer face than the girls.
  • Dying Curse: The plot of The Will is based around this.
  • Easy Amnesia: Risa from "My Dear Ancestors" suffers from this, having abruptly suffered complete amnesia for seemingly no reason. Its revealed that the shock from discovering the truth about her boyfriend's father caused her mind to erase all memory out of sheer horror. The old man has his head connected to a long line of human scalps, with the still living brains of the familys ancestors attached resembling a giant caterpillar. And the boyfriend wants to marry her so he can continue the family line...
  • Ear Worm: A particularly malevolent in-universe version serves as the supernatural menace of the day in 'Songs In The Dark'.
    • In Second-Hand Record, people get obsessed with a song to the point of killing others just to get their hands on the record.
  • The Eeyore: Piitan in Black Paradox (and subsequently the Piitan robot, even more so than the original.)
  • Eldritch Abomination: When the abominations aren't humanoid, anyway.
  • Eldritch Location: The house in "Haunted Wood Mansion" becomes warped, decayed, and covered with eyes after Manami essentially has sex with it. Needless to say, it's stripped of its designation as a national treasure.
    • In Ryokan, the hot spring inside the inn seems to be a literal portal to Hell.
  • Enfant Terrible: Evil children are abound, even more so than just your standard Creepy Child.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: In Mold, Akasaka remembers that he was wary of the Rogi family because his dog growled at them while they were in his house.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: What many folks learn when they try to bend the various malignant forces in the stories to their own purposes. In Soichi's case, repeatedly.
  • Evil Twin: Encountered several times by recurring character Oshikiri, whose mansion home contains a portal to alternate dimensions. One twin in particular has been performing medical experiments on his classmates in an attempt to discover a formula for human growth to make himself taller. Oshikiri dispatches him by injecting him with his own drug, causing his bones to grown uncontrollably and burst through his skin, but the evil twin dies telling the original that there are even worse Oshikiris out there...
    • Oshikiri also encounter evil twins of his own parents, who intend to kill him so they and their son can live in the main Oshikiri's world after an earthquake destroys their version of the mansion.
  • Family Relationship Switcheroo: In The Will, the protagonist's "sister" turns out to be her cousin who was adopted by Hiroko's parents as a baby.
  • Fan Disservice: If there's nudity or skimpy clothing in his works, don't expect it to be played for titillation.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: The protagonist of "Ghost Heights Management Association" is in an apartment complex full of monsters and the undead, but takes nearly until the end of the one-shot to realize it, even though it's obvious by the second page. Why? He doesn't believe in ghosts.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: The honey tree (The South American God) in Splatter Film. If it catches you being gluttonous with the delicious honey made from its nectar, it will teleport one of its branches to your location, and then crush you flat. This tree can also be seen as a Genius Loci, and a Nature Spirit.
  • Genius Loci: Ito writes about a few of these, including the Spiral City under Kurozu-cho in Uzumaki and the apparently living soil and trees surrounding the community from "The Blood Sickness of White Sands Village".
    • The tree in Splatter Film also counts.
  • Grossout Show: Things get nasty in Ito's artwork.
  • Hellgate: In Ryokan, Mitosuyo's father has an unnatural obsession with turning his house into an inn with a hot spring, digging a very deep pit into the ground to find one. But it's not water that pools into the pit, but hot blood; he never gets any guests either, only demons emerging from the pit.
  • Hikikomori: The main character in Army of One. Tomio became one in Futon
  • Hive Mind: A subversion in My Dear Ancestors. Risa's amnesia was caused by her seeing the scalps and brains of every member of Shuichi's family grafted to his father's head. The end implies that each one still actively thinks.
    • This is a main plot point of The Conversation Room.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Soichi, in almost every story.
    • In Back Alley, the girl whom Ishida was staying with turns out to have killed many of her classmates and buried them in the alley. At the end, she becomes trapped there and their ghosts advance on her.
    • Second-Hand Record is about a record which supernaturally compels people to listen to it, to the point of killing others to get it. At the beginning of the story, one of its victims kills her friend to get it back from her - and later dies herself when she is blockaded into an alleyway because she'd stashed her friend's body there.
    • Love As Scripted: A playboy makes a videotape for his girlfriend so that she won't feel bad after he dumps her. When he tries to break up with her, she stabs him in a frenzy, and then finds the tape he made for her. Unfortunately, she decides she prefers the tape to the real him, and finishes him off with a broken bottle rather than save his life.
    • Map Town: A couple are in a town where everyone magically loses the ability to navigate, forcing them to rely on maps everywhere. The husband is the only one unaffected by the curse. Later, he and his wife go looking for treasure and plunder an urn filled with gold Koban coins. As expected, the townspeople are not impressed, and try to apprehend them. In an attempt to lose the townspeople, the duo scribble over as many maps as they can. To the husband's horror, he discovers that the curse has hit him, as well, leaving the couple unable to find their way out of the town.
    • The Bronze Statue: A vain woman commissions several statues of herself from her ex-lover, a sculptor. She also has him kill the neighboring women who gossiped about her, by encasing them in concrete. After discovering that the body of her husband, whom she murdered, has turned into wax from being buried in a swamp, she comes up with a plan to drown herself and have the sculptor retrieve her and turn her into the most beautiful statue ever seen. Unfortunately, he dies just as he was going to fill the mold with liquid gold. Her conscious spirit remains trapped inside a plaster cast in a cellar forever.
    • A variation happens in The Whispering Woman. The father is a good man who genuinely wants to aid his metally ill daughter Mayumi, though many maids have given up on her. He hires a new maid named Mitsu who shows competence during her interview test. However, as time passes on, he grows suspicious of her dedication and her showing up to work with unexplained bruises. After digging up dirt around her, the father realizes she's being abused by her boyfriend. He decides to ignore it, reasoning he needs her to keep working hard for his daughter's sake. Cue her dying of domestic abuse, and ordering Mayumi in spirit to murder her boyfriend.
  • Humanoid Abomination:
    • Soichi's son, pictured above. Soichi's wife also counts, considering that he's absolutely terrified of her.
    • The doctor from The Chill is also revealed to be one that has to do with the jade carving's curse.
    • Fuchi, too, considering that she's some sort of horrifying demon-lady but still acts very human (but not a good human) and looks relatively close to one. She even has a job.
    • Mimi's neighbor in The Woman Next Door is not exactly humanoid, but still pass as one and seems to have a fairly normal life.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: These sometimes occur.
  • Idiot Ball: In Frankenstein, Henry Clerval is involved in the chance to make a female wretch... and then runs off on his own. Just like in the novel, he is killed by the wretch and Frankenstein is blamed for it.
  • Idiot Plotinvoked: He frequently does this intentionally, and plays it for horror. The people in his works quite often do not act, by any stretch of the imagination, like real people, and this quite frequently seals their doom and ruins any chances they might have to escape their gruesome fate. Sometimes their Weirdness Censors go into total overdrive and cause The Cassandra to remain the Cassandra to people who have previously been direct witnesses to as many as three separate instances of the supernatural craziness he regularly warns people about, and other times they turn a young lady into an overnight celebrity over something as trivial as having a celestial body named after them, and then, when that celestial body turns out to be a world-devouring Eldritch Abomination, proceed to attempt to kill that woman in the insane belief that because it was named after her, killing her will somehow stop it.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Soichi's potential son.
    • And the mother of that son, who eventually eats Soichi for trying to run away from her.
    • Also all the customers at the Greasy Restaraunt, after Yui and her father kill her brother.
    • A weird subversion in Anything But A Ghost. Misaki doesn't eat people...she eats ghosts. And they bleed.
    • Fuchi is a petty monster-woman who resorts to eating when people bother her.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Soichi is genuinely nasty, mean-spirited, and all-around evil, but he's so bad at it that it's hard not to feel sorry for him all the same.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The titular character in Dissection Girl is tortured by her organs, which have mutated into those of the animals she kills and cuts open. It doesn't kill her, but she is shown to suffer from it.
  • Lighter and Softer: Junji Ito's Cat Diary Yon and Mu compared to the rest of his works.
    • Pretty much all of the works involving Soichi and the Tsujii family after the first two stories. The first two installments portrayed Soichi as an outright murderer with his family as a group of emaciated slaves, while the subsequent stories are mostly Black Comedies where nobody really dies and Soichi is more of a quirky neighborhood menace than an outright antagonist.
    • "Ghost Heights Management Association" also tends more toward black comedy, and the protagonist, Shougo Yanagida, seems pretty happy in the end. Even if he does end up as an undead monster.
    • "Scarecrows", atleast compare to the rest of the stories in the anthology series. The scarecrows are just disturbing, not actively trying to kill someone. And the one death that happens is because someone becomes so obsessed about the scarecrows of their love ones.
    • Ito's work for the Pokemon franchise is this for him, although it's considerably Darker and Edgier than most of the scenes depicted in other canonical works. The scenes don't feature as much overt creepiness or violence as most of the author's artwork, although the image of Gengar does include an attack on an apparently defenseless person, while the drawing of Banette has deeply disturbing implications when the Pokemon's canonical backstory is considered. The former is more of a mean-spirited prank, but given that Banette is abandoned and vengeful, the child in its panel is likely to be in more serious danger.
    • It seems that he will usually have one story in every anthology book that focuses on drama and is more character-driven with a supernatural element as a plot device as opposed to the main story. Lingering Farewell, Heart of A Father, Approval, The Giftbearer are easily the most obvious examples while Deadman Calling, The Long Dream and Memories focus equally on both side.
  • Karma Houdini: Souichi is Junji Ito Kyoufu Manga Collection Volume 5's resident Karma Houdini. No matter how many times his plans are foiled, he somehow manages to escape to plot another day.
  • Living Statue: Inverted in The Earthbound, in which living people attach themselves to a certain spot, totally unmoving. Eventually, they turn to stone.
  • Love Before First Sight: Soichi for Ms. Fuchi, after seeing her in a magazine if the future with Binzo Tsujii is to be believed.
  • Mind Rape: Nanakuse Kyokumi is an author whose odd gestures, or "quirks", have the tendency to be replicated unconsciously by the people in her range, or even the readers of her novels. She gets some much-needed inspiration when her newest prisoner displays a "quirk" she's never seen before.
  • Monster Sob Story: To varying degrees. While the antagonists of his stories are often Eldritch Abominations or worse, there is the occasional antagonist who has more sympathetic motives.
    • For example, the father in Approval cruelly and repeatedly denies the hand of his daughter to a suitor because asking for his permission to marry is the only way that he can see his daughter's spirit.
    • The father in Heart Of a Father possesses his children's bodies against their will, forces both his sons to commit suicide, tries to do the same to his daughter and almost kills a boy who had pursued her romantically - but admits that he just wanted to be young and have fun again by living through them, as he missed out on his own youth.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Ms. Fuchi in Fashion Model. Binzo Tsujii, her possible future son with Soichi, has even more of them.
  • Murderous Mannequin: One short story is about an artist who makes headless mannequins (though his reason is for people to appreciate the body language, not the face). Then his creations come to life, begin killing people, and place the victims' heads on their necks. Yeah.
  • The Napoleon: Oshikiri in Hallucinations.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Souichi's grandmother, who appears once a year on his birthday and does not take kindly to anyone upsetting her beloved grandson.
  • New Media Are Evil: The Town Without Streets is a pretty blatant parable about the dangers of the internet.
  • New Transfer Student: The title character of The Supernatural Transfer Student is one.
  • Nightmare Face: The page image shows Binzo Tsujii with his demonic face. There are worse faces in most of his works.
    • The Adjacent Window. Hello, neighbor...
    • Yuma makes the protagonist permanently experience this at the end of Worshipping Beauty as a result of his demonic powers melting her face. Perhaps having your brain melt and ooze from all the orifices in your head isn't so bad as it seems, given that this is the alternative...
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Ito himself is a pretty clear example.
  • No Sense of Direction: In Map Town, the entire town of Shirube is cursed so its inhabitants have no sense of direction and are forced to rely on a complicated system of maps and signposts.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Mostly averted, as Junji Ito seems to enjoy depicting extreme Body Horror. "The Seashore" from Mimi's Ghost Stories, however, has a straight example. The photographs taken at the story's haunted beach are often deeply disturbing, but some (depicting a waitress) are so frightening that the man who develops them destroys them immediately, leaving the reader to only imagine what they must have depicted.
  • Older Than They Look: The ending of The Face Burglar implies this about Kamei.
  • Only Sane Man: A few of these, including Tsukiko in volume one of Tomie (and Yasuko in Tomie: Again). Koichi or Michina usually take the role in Soichi stories.
  • Only Six Faces: Particularly noticeable in his short stories. The character designs used for Kirie and Shuichi from Uzumaki appear all over the place with different hairstyles.
    • Mayumi from The Whispering Woman really looks like the waitress from The Seashore and Remina.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Uzumaki, Bio House and Blood Bubble Bushes all have different takes on vampirism. "The Blood Sickness of White Sands Village" features a particularly unusual example in the form of a vampiric Genius Loci.
  • Overly Long Tongue: A recurring feature of various characters in his works—and never a good sign.
  • Over-the-Shoulder Murder Shot: This panel.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: The premise of Approval.
  • Perverse Puppet: Jean-Pierre in House of Puppets.
  • Playing Against Type: Junji Ito's Cat Diary Yon and Mu compared to the rest of his works.
  • Planet Eater: Hellstar Remina is centered around one named after its discoverer's daughter.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: Auntie Tamae is a bit too unconcerned with her lack of privacy, and her niece Saiko reacts accordingly.
  • Posthumous Narration: If there's any good in the world.
  • Portal Cut: The portals in Oshikiri's mansion tend to open through the walls and have the unfortunate tendency to sometimes cut off, leaving the poor victim to be absorbed into the stonework.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: See the list above? Yes, Junji Ito created a manga adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
  • Promoted To Parent: Kazuya Hikizuri. Haruhiko in House of the Marionettes seems to have been promoted to Natsumi's parent as well.
  • Pun: Village of Sirens conflates industrial sirens with mythological siren song.
  • Pushover Parents: In Ice Cream Bus, it's a plot point that Sonohara is afraid to forbid Tomoki from riding the ice cream bus because Tomoki threatens to leave and go live with his mother instead.
    • Soichi Tsujii's parents often act this way, ostensibly because they see him as their youngest baby and don't believe he is a threat to anyone.
  • Rule of Scary: Applied liberally, in much the same way as other writers would use the Rule of Cool.
  • Scary Stitches: Army of One is about mass murders that result in the stitching-together of the victims' corpses. These also feature on Souichi's cloth mannequins which he uses to replace people.
  • Scary Teeth: A great deal of Ito's monsters have them.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: More of Ito's protagonists do this than many horror characters. It's essentially Saiko's M.O. in "The Town Without Streets."
  • Sea Monster: One of these features prominently in "The Thing that Drifted Ashore". Although it's quite horrific on its own, the titular prehistoric-looking monster is implied to be the least of your worries if you're trapped deep beneath the waves.
  • Self-Deprecation: occasionally appears in the afterwords of manga volumes, looking just as creepy and unhealthy as any other serial murderer in his work.
  • Self-Parody: Ito actually managed to draw a pet diary once (twice if you include the short Dog Diary he would later go on to write). Needless to say, his fiancee wasn't amused when she became his signature scary woman with the Glowing Eyes of Doom.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Featured in one chapter of Uzumaki and in the short story In the Valley of Mirrors.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Suberted with Fuchi. While she's a professional model and around eight feet tall at the least (the Souichi stories show her even larger), she's no beauty.
  • Surreal Horror: A lot of the stories are weird first and scary second.
  • The Faceless: In Second-Hand Record, Paula Bell's face is never seen.
    • Kamie from The Face Burglar doesn't have a face on her own anymore. She thinks the only way to revert to her original face is to live in complete isolation, since simply being near other people affects her face. We never get to see what she actually looks like.
  • The Stars Are Going Out: Hellstar Remina is about a planet doing this.
  • Toilet Humor: One of his stories is titled A Shit to Remember. You can pretty much guess what it's going to be about. Junji Ito takes his sweet time to unload a great number of Puns, culminating in the story's protagonist literally losing his (fake) shit.
  • Together in Death: An old man implied to be the father of one of the main characters who, waiting for the illusion of his wife drowning in Roar of Ages, after thirty years of trying to save her phantom, finally jumps after her when she can no longer hold his net.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Souichi is a plump, spoiled sadistic kid with awesome paranormal powers, usually employed to be little more than a pest and a nuisance with delusions of grandeur, always caught and punished by his family. However, in time with his powers increasing, he becomes a sharply dressed businessman, the owner of an haunted mansion where he enacts his revenge over his cursed parents and siblings and keeps his cannibalistic son with a demoness. He's not actually any better at avoiding gruesome and humiliating consequences for forgetting that Evil Is Not a Toy, though — we're actually introduced to this version of Souichi before the child version, and those two stories kick off his long tradition of gruesome and humiliating defeats. But ...
    • All Just a Dream: The above turns out to be Soichi's dream as a child, and is yet another blow to him since it causes him to oversleep and miss out on playing outside.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: A favorite setting for Junji Ito. Outside of the town of Kurozu-cho featured in Uzumaki, there's also the titular small town from "The Blood Sickness of White Sands Village" and the community from "The Town Without Streets", among others.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Koichi Tsujii and his cousin Yuusuke look very alike, to the point where a girl with an unrequited crush on Yuusuke initially mistakes Koichi for him and faints on seeing Koichi.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Mold and Blood-Slurping Darkness have them.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: The Supernatural Transfer Student. As a zombie, Shibayama is constantly vomiting from his mouth.
  • Voodoo Doll: Soichi's in the habit of using them.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Mimi in Mimi's Ghost Stories. She takes it better than most.
  • With Friends Like These...: In Mimi's Ghost Stories, her friend Misa plots to kill her and shack up with Mimi's boyfriend.
  • World of Symbolism: Many of the reveals only make sense when taken metaphorically.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: If any chapter featuring Soichi seems to end with him happy and successful, it's the first part of a story that eventually ends badly for him.
  • You Are Worth Hell: In Den of the Sleep Demon, Mari's boyfriend Yuuji risks being turned inside out by a dream version of himself every time he falls asleep. When he finally passes out, Mari duct tapes her hand to his, hoping that it will keep him anchored and that his counterpart will not be able to crawl out of his mouth. It fails. When the counterpart's arm comes out of Yuuji's mouth, Mari finds herself being dragged in by the hand as he is turned inside out. Rather than try to free herself, she allows herself to be pulled in so she can stay with him.
    • Through all the events of Uzumaki, not once do Kirie and Shuichi question their love for one another, or consider abandoning each other. Shuichi even decided to stay in the town just to be with Kirie, despite knowing something was wrong since the very beginning.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In Heart of a Father, the titular father is able to possess his children's bodies. He forces both his sons to commit suicide when he decides they aren't living up to his expectations, and later tries to do the same to his daughter, since his wife is pregnant again with her "replacement". Subverted, when you find out in the end, that his sons really did commit suicide by their own free will, and rushed to get his daughter and wife to stop leaving.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Creator/JunjiIto?from=Main.JunjiIto