Why Horror Fans are Excited
Junji Ito’s classic horror manga Uzumaki, originally released in 1998, will be getting its own animated mini-series premiering in October 2022 on Adult Swim. Ito’s Lovecraftian, psychological horror manga has received critical acclaim since its release and has solidified itself within the horror zeitgeist. Uzumaki follows a teenager in a small town, who witnesses strange paranormal events involving spirals. These events and patterns increasingly become more insidious, causing the townsfolk to slowly lose their minds. Ito’s cryptic storytelling leads the reader through a labyrinth of creepy twists that delve more and more into the weird and unexpected world he has created. Even human-slug hybrids play an important role.
The Adult Swim mini-series was originally announced in 2019 set to release in 2020, but due to Covid the show was pushed back. The four episode series will feature the signature art style of Ito’s manga collection. The striking black penmanship that makes Ito’s series so iconic will make a return in the show’s black and white color scheme. Fans admire the attention to detail present in Ito’s books, especially in Uzumaki. The spiral pattern central to the story appears throughout the pages, often hidden in plain sight. This detail is even present in the teaser trailer for the upcoming show. In fact, the word “Uzumaki” translates to “whirlpool” or “swirl” in English.
The director attached to the Adult Swim production, Hiroshi Nagahama, states in the trailer that he is “truly apologetic for the delay,” and cites Covid’s impact on the anime industry as the reason for the show’s set back. He also states his excitement for the scary and grotesque scenes adapted from the manga. Ito’s detailed art style plays well into his unique take on body horror. However, due to spoilers, we unfortunately will not get a chance to see most of these scenes in the trailers leading up to the release of the show.
You might recognize the director of the adaptation, Hiroshi Nagahama, from his director credit In Mushi-Shi, Detroit Metal City, and Flower of Evil, as well as his involvement in Fruit Basket. The show has also attached composer Colin Stetson, known for his work on Hereditary and Color Out Of Space. Stetson will compose a modern, edgy score for Uzumaki.
With a career spanning nearly 30 years, Junji Ito has developed a cult following in the horror genre. He sets himself apart with a graphically compelling, yet frightening art style. His stories transform the mundane world by exploring the supernatural elements that lie just below the surface, and usually come pouring out in an extremely gruesome way. Ito cites H.P. Lovecraft as one of his inspirations, which becomes apparent in the elements of cosmic and apocalyptic horror found in works like Uzumaki.
With many fans and critics claiming Uzumaki to be Junji Ito’s best work, hype for the show is growing as the release date draws closer. With experienced creators at the helm of one of the most iconic Japanese horror stories to date, expectations and excitement for Adult Swim’s adaptation of Uzumaki continues to build to a swirling pitch.
Uzumaki (2022) Official Adult Swim Teaser Trailer