Junji Ito is an undeniable master of manga horror. His works can give even a hardcore horror fan nightmares, but what is the best Junji Ito reading order for newcomers? Here's how best to read Junji Ito's manga!
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The Nightmarish World of Junji Ito
Junji Ito is a manga artist chiefly known for his horror works. It's hard to pick one story as Ito's most characteristic work, as he's quite prolific and specializes in shorter works.
Uzumaki, one of Ito's most well-known and slightly longer works, follows a teenage girl, her boyfriend, and the other inhabitants of their small town as a series of supernatural events related to spirals begin to occur.
The manga series was nominated for the Eisner Award, which rewards literary achievement in comics.
Tomie, another notable and chilling Ito work -- which won him the Kazuo Umezu award for horror manga -- follows a succubus who manages to be the downfall of many characters that encounter her.
The subgenres that best describe most of Ito's works are body horror and cosmic horror.
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Why Should Horror Fans Read Junji Ito?
Junji Ito is an extremely talented artist with nightmarish concepts and creepy designs, the likes of which we haven't seen elsewhere.
Ito has often been praised for his artistic achievements, and rightly so. Some of his images are likely to stay with you long after your first read.
Few other artists are able to create such dark and wild scenarios with completely mundane situations as a starting point.
This brand of horror is not for everyone, but fans swear by the underexplained terrors which somehow manage to stay relatable and play with very real fears we've all experienced to an extent.
Junji Ito's Works in Chronological Order
If you read Ito's works in chronological order, you will be able to see how he started and how he grew as an artist.
However, since many of his manga are standalone works, don't worry if you skip some.
Here are all of Junji Ito's manga works by order of publication:
- Tomie (1987)
- Flesh Colored Horror (1990)
- Museum of Terror (1997)
- Uzumaki (1998 - 1999)
- Frankenstein (1999)
- Gyo (2002-2004)
- Remina (2005)
- Black Paradox (2009)
- Junji Ito's Cat Diary (2009)
- Deserter (2011)
- Lovesickness (2011)
- Dissolving Classroom (2013)
- Smashed (2013)
- Fragments of Horror (2014)
- Shiver (2015)
- No Longer Human (2019)
- Sensor (2019)
- The Art of Junji Ito (2019)
- Venus in the Blind Spot (2020)
- The Liminal Zone (2022)
What Is the Best Junji Ito Manga Reading Order?
There is no official reading order for Junji Ito's manga, as most of them tell self-contained stories.
To become acquainted with some of Ito's best-loved works, we recommend starting with Tomie, the first manga he created.
From there, you can move to Uzumaki and Gyo -- also quintessential Ito works.
Fans of Tomie, which is self-contained but follows the same character over several stories, might appreciate Lovesickness.
If you prefer more self-contained stories, Dissolving Classroom, Remina, and Black Paradox might be right for you.
Fragments of Horror is ideal for anyone who prefers shorter stories and wants to sample Ito's world before committing to his long-formed manga.
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong starting point, and we strongly recommend picking up any Ito work that intrigues you -- chances are, previous knowledge of his work isn't a necessity.
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