RECOMMEND : No…
Yeah its a no for the recommendation to be honest. Junji Ito Collection had the ability to be a fantastic anthology series with some really good stories to highlight one of Japans most celebrated horror writers.
Instead it got everything wrong.
OK so I know what a short story is. I write short stories, I get what they are meant to be. I know that a good short story will be structured as a great story with its own beginning, middle and end, some of the best leave you wanting more…
Having two short stories jammed into one episode just does not work.
Or at least it didn’t for this series.
It does work. Oh does it work. For a very similar non-anime program that does what the Junji Ito Collection was meant to fantastically look no further then BBC’s absolutely wonderfully written and performed TV masterpiece Inside No. 9. Each week a handcrafted individual story, quite a few of them looking at the horror genre as the writers, Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton of League of Gentleman fame, are huge horror fans.
Lets not forget these stories themselves WORK. Junji Ito is a highly regarded short story horror manga writer. People were so hyped up about this series because of how good these stories are.
So when the format works and the work its based off is so highly regarded how could it just not work?
As I said the two stories per episode rule didn’t work. I don’t know enough of his work to comment on them but some of the stories that I know were shortened to fit into a smaller space of time, Long Dreams for example had no real insight into what the Long Dreams were because they cut most of the description of the dreams the guy was having to fit it into the time slot, whilst others were barely long enough to actually deserve air time at all. Things like the Slug Girl could easily have been tacked onto the end of a episode after the credits if the story itself didn’t need to be shortened, or a bunch of the smaller stories could have fit nicely into a eerie mid-season, transformation horror show.
Instead they made baffling choice after baffling choice.
Most baffling of which is that we got THREE Souichi stories throughout the series, a comedy story that does obviously still have horror aspects but from his first showing in episode one to his last in episode 12 just baffled people who came into the show wanting horror.
A lot of the stories just didn’t work.
Not just stories that were shortened either, ones that were given the exact amount of time and care just felt like they were missing something. For example I watched Window Next Door and felt oddly let down by the ending, I then read the manga which was pretty much exactly the same just SHORTER and yet that story worked in manga form and didn’t on the screen. They lost something important in transition and I don’t even know what it is they lost.
Maybe it was just the stories they picked?
Maybe I’m just not that into what stories they decided to show?
I really don’t know but I feel like I should read and review the actual manga stories instead and see if I still feel the same afterwards.
Overall I won’t be watching it again, maybe the Souichi stories but that would be about it. I’d love for a Souichi series but at this point its kind of pointless wanting that. I wouldn’t really recommend it either because whilst it had some good points I just couldn’t with my hand on my heart say I really enjoyed it so wouldn’t make someone else believe they might.
It was disappointing.