Author: Junji Ito
Publisher: VIZ Media
First Published: December 19, 2017
Genres: Horror, One Shot, Seinen
This volume includes nine of Junji Ito’s best short stories, as selected by the author himself and presented with accompanying notes and commentary. An arm peppered with tiny holes dangles from a sick girl’s window… After an idol hangs herself, balloons bearing faces appear in the sky, some even featuring your own face… An amateur film crew hires an extremely individualistic fashion model and faces a real bloody ending… An offering of nine fresh nightmares for the delectation of horror fans.
Shiver is a collection of Junji Ito’s personal picks for his best stories and I honestly have to agree. The one-shot’s chosen for this collection really are some of Ito’s all-time best. His commentary about his inspirations were a wonderful bonus and gives some insight into his creative process.
Old favorites from previous collections such as Glyceride and The Hanging Balloons make an appearance in this collection and I was happy to see them included, as they are ones that have really stuck with me since I read them. One of the Tomie stories was also included and it’s a great introduction to the character for those unfamiliar with her.
The titular story, Shiver, while not necessarily the scariest of his stories was perhaps one of the ones that impacted me the most. The reason being that it was a concept straight out of a recurring nightmare I used to have in my youth about large holes appearing on my arms with itching and insects. It’s a nightmare that I never breathed a word of to anyone else, so it caught me off guard finding a story that was eerily reminiscent of those locked away memories.
“I just can’t shake the feeling that the puppets work us.”
With the exception of the final bonus story, Fashion Model: Cursed Frame, everything in this book has been previously published. Nothing wrong with that per say, but folks that are already fans and have read several of his works won’t find anything new. If I include the bonus story, of the ten pieces in this collection I had previously read four. This wasn’t the end of the world for me as I had only read them online and was happy to have these stories in a nice physical copy, but this may be a negative for some.
Besides Uzumaki, if there was one book that I’d recommend to someone new to Ito’s work it would be this one. This is definitely a collection where you can’t go wrong, I was able to appreciate every story for its concepts on some level. Ito continues to blow me away with the sheer creativity of his work, coming up with memorable stories that never fail to unsettle.
Warnings: body horror, violence, bullying, assault