Viz’s Junji Ito manga release Mimi’s horror stories is fascinating. Instead of being completely original, he adapted stories from them Shin Mimibukuro by Hirokatsu Kihara and Ichiro Nakayama. Each is a supposedly true story, with Ito’s retelling similarly using a young woman named Mimi as a central theme Cat-eyed boy does. The result is an accessible anthology.
How Mimi’s horror stories “Works” consists of these “true” stories being reinterpreted and retold, with only Mimi and her boyfriend as adjacent components. Since these are based on urban legends, the length varies from story to story. In the same way, the level of horror associated with each individual is also the same. Most are not as disturbing and haunting as a normal Junji Ito story. Rather, they are accounts of troubling situations that someone else’s cousin’s friend may have gone through. This also means that the depth of the story varies, and you can tell stories where the mangaka may have had a little more editorial freedom, like “Scarlet Circle.” However, I would say that this is almost a blessing, as the additional experiences and involvement of Mimi herself really help to make the stories more interesting.
The artwork is also impeccable, as you would expect from Junji Ito stories. The otherworldly creature designs are fantastic. The juxtaposition with the very sweet Mimi and her normal friends is also great. A lot of care goes into telling these stories and the epilogue comic helps provide more insight into this story and makes these efforts clear.
I would like to note that since this manga is a Junji Ito adaptation of others’ stories, it may feel a little different than his other works. Some have the same overall ambience. I felt like “Seashore” and “Scarlet Circle” did that well. Even “Grave Placement” overall feels like one of “his” to some degree. But maybe it’s just me, but stories like “On the Utility Pole”, “The Woman Next Door” and “Sign in the Field” had his signature art and look but didn’t have the same feel and feel due to the nature of Impact of the collection.
Speaking of his signature work, I really appreciated that not only is his original work “Monster Prop” here, but that it gets special treatment in the Viz volume Mimi’s horror stories. It contains two color pages as an introduction and is divided to stand out from the rest of the collection. Plus, since it’s about fairly ordinary people in the “real” world dealing with an unexpected and disturbing phenomenon, it fits in really well with the other stories here.
Mimi’s horror stories is an unexpected Junji Ito manga that shows the mangaka’s versatility. We see him being able to interpret someone else’s already written story, adapting it so that a new protagonist can tie experiences and themes together, illustrate them vividly, and create a more cohesive experience that everyone can enjoy. Even though some of the stories feel a little different than his entirely original works, it’s all quite entertaining and otherworldly.
Mimi’s horror stories is available now via Viz Media.