Junji Ito Maniac – Episode One: The Strange Hikizuri Siblings: The Séance – Review

The first episode of Netflix’s new anthology series Junji Ito Maniac, adapts Ito’s short manga story The Strange Hikizuri Siblings: The Seance into a twenty minute anime. It follows the Hikizuri family who are mourning the loss of the their parents. Everyday they see off the eldest sibling, Kazuya, who pretends to go to work so he can be a good role model to his younger brothers and sisters. He pretends that their inheritance is actually his wages. It’s a strange power dynamic that he holds over the rest of the family.

While pretending to be at work, Kazuya meets a young woman who is taking photographs by a river. She’s actually trying to take pictures of spirits, since several people have drowned at that spot. Kazuya takes an interest in her and invites her back to the family house to take pictures of potential spirits. Afterwards the family decide to try and contact their parents through a séance and invite the photographer as a witness.

The animation in the first episode is pretty good, it’s smooth and easy to watch. It also adds to the more comical moments of the story. The English dub is also fine, with nothing that really stands out as weak or excellent. What lets the episode down is just how weak the story is. The characters are interesting, but the plot is very cliched and throwaway. You can pretty much see every twist coming before it happens. It’s a strange one to start the series with, since there’s definitely better Ito stories.

Aside from the characters, there are other good moments. There’s some creepy moments, and some unsettling imagery. There’s also a really good blend of comedy and horror, with the youngest sibling being both incredibly angry and excitable almost at the same time. Also, stick around for the final credits which without spoiling anything is one of the best bits of the episodes.

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About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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