Junji Ito Maniac – Episode Four: Four X Four Walls and The Sandman’s Lair

The fourth episode of Junji Ito Maniac adapts two of Ito’s horror stories. The first story, Four X Four Walls, is a strange one to say the least. Koichi is trying to study in his room, but his brother, Soichi, is always bothering him. He bangs around in the attic and tries to prank his brother to make him believe that there’s a poltergeist in the house. To counter this, the family decide to hire a carpenter to soundproof Koichi’s room, except Soichi helps out. While the story hints at something supernatural, it’s essentially just about an annoying brother and there’s nothing supernatural about it. The idea is pretty great, and there are some good moments, especially as everything ramps up once the carpenter finishes his job. Sadly, the ending is really rushed, and it ends very abruptly without the story really being wrapped up. It just kind of finishes.

And then we move onto The Sandman’s Lair, which is an even stranger and bizarre story about Yuji, a novelist who hasn’t slept in three days. He tells his friend, Mari about his trouble sleeping and his belief that his alter-ego will try to get out while he’s asleep. She agrees to look over him while he sleeps and finds out that he’s telling the truth. This story is so much stronger than the first one, it’s really dark and twisted and takes a really weird and unexpected turn half way through. It’s quite short, under ten minutes, but that’s exactly how long it needs to be. The ending is brilliantly unhinged. The only let down for this one is some of the dialogue, especially the last line from Mari, is unintentionally funny.

Like in the second episode, the two stories presented here have next to nothing in common and they don’t really mesh together. It’s an odd pairing, and they stand up a lot better individually. It’s still a decent episode, although the first story is a bit of a let down. It feels like there’s a lot more to the story than what’s shown. I haven’t the manga version, so maybe that’s better. I’ll definitely be checking it out soon. The Sandman’s Lair is good and twisted, and that’s exactly what you’d expect from the series.

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About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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