Conventions SDCC

Junji Ito: New Releases and Further Horror at SDCC

Source: SDCC @ Home, VIZ Media

Those familiar both with horror and manga would be no stranger to the name of Junji Ito. Known most for his works Tomie and Uzumaki, it’s no wonder that many refer to Junji Ito as ‘The Master of Horror’ himself. The panel involved questions to Junji Ito, as well as watching him draw.

Junji Ito’s Newest Release

The panel discussed Junji Ito’s newest book, Sensor. The book’s plot is described as being a grand cosmic tale, in which a woman “has her way with the world.” The background for the panel, of the wise woman’s eyes, is our first glimpse into this new story. Sensor will be available on August 17th, 2021, in hardback. The synopsis:

A woman walks alone at the foot of Mount Sengoku. A man appears, saying he’s been waiting for her, and invites her to a nearby village. Surprisingly, the village is covered in hairlike volcanic glass fibers, and all of it shines a bright gold. At night, when the villagers perform their custom of gazing up at the starry sky, countless unidentified flying objects come raining down on them-the opening act for the terror about to occur!

VIZ Media

When asked about the inspiration for Sensor, Ito explained that he always was interested in UFOs as a child. He explained that he read about angel hair, a phenomenon when golden strands rained down from the sky. Theories surrounding the hair suggest it was from a UFO. However, many have explained it away as a reaction from a volcano called Pele’s Hair. It took inspiration from both of these, making it into the story of Sensor.

Source: Amazon

Junji Ito’s Thoughts on Horror

One of the questions Junji Ito was asked was if the world was already so scary that his manga would not be able to compete. Ito answered stating that, while the world has seen its fair share of terrible incidents, his stories are far removed from reality – and wouldn’t happen. However, Ito did say that if science developed to do things unimaginable, then maybe that would be the end of his stories.

Ito also shared his thoughts on why people enjoy being scared. He explained that the feeling of terror stimulates the brain and the ‘natural instinct’ that people have. Ito also suggested that it could be so people can withstand terror that may happen in real life. When asked about how he felt knowing he likely gave people nightmares, Ito explained that if the nightmare was “enjoyable,” he would high-five himself. However, if he had genuinely ruined someone’s day, he would feel bad.

Junji Ito was also asked about whether he would write shonen or shojo manga. He explained that before he became a manga artist, he had created a rom-com about youth and how he enjoyed those genres, especially the work of Rumiko Takahashi and Mitsuru Adachi. He explained that Tomie, in some ways, was a horror shojo; she wanted to be loved, however, only to be loved and not give love herself.

Other Questions for Junji Ito

When Ito was asked about the pandemic, he explained that one of the first places he would like to go would be San Diego, as he hadn’t now been able to attend for two years. So one of the first things Junji Ito said he would do is go out somewhere to get some good food. He also explained how he picked up the ukulele over the pandemic and would like to continue learning – even if he isn’t the best yet.

Junji Ito also talked about folklore and recited the legend of Noh. Noh is said to be a large giant. Ito explained that he had heard a legend of a girl being sacrificed to appease Noh and thought it would be something fun to write. While he has no plans to write it yet, he said he would like to when he had the opportunity.

Junji Ito working during the panel. Source: SDCC @ Home, VIZ Media

As part of the panel, fans will have a chance to win a one-of-a-kind drawing. All that people have to do is favorite the VIZ Junji Ito page with a chance to win.

Are you looking forward to Sensor? Let us know in the comments!

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