Last week’s adaptation was definitely full of ham. Luckily, we get some hearty meat and potatoes this time around. That’s not to say the adaptations are perfect, though. Oh no, not by a long shot. But I love horror so much, I almost don’t really mind the anime’s half-hearted effort. Honestly, the animation here is a big letdown. On the other hand, Ito Junji’s art can be so detailed and intricate, it’s hard to imagine how you would animate it cheaply. But even when the monsters aren’t onscreen, the visuals fall short. As for the voice acting, I can’t say any of the performances really stood out. Take that with a grain of salt, though; I’ve said before that this is not my forte.
What do I think of the first story about the freaky-looking fashion model? I’m kind of reminded of Audition, the horror movie by Miike Takeshi. In the film, a man uses his connections to stage a fake casting call in order to find himself a young and beautiful wife. Women are presented like pieces of meat, judged and objectified. I get the same sort of vibe here. Iwasaki and his buddies are amateur filmmakers, and after a successful project, they immediately begin work on another movie. This time, they want to do a casting call, because even though they’re surrounded by aspiring actresses, they want a really, really cute one. The casting call yields four applicants, and one of the girls really stands out. Well, she only catches their eyes because she’s incredibly cute. Whether or not she can actually act never appears to be a concern.
The fourth and final applicant, however, is none other than Fuchi, the freaky-looking fashion model. Can she act? Oda, the director, doesn’t seem to care. He wants to cast her anyway, because she’s a professional model, and as a result, she would raise the profile of their amateur movie. His justification is not actually in the adaptation, though. Due to probably time constraints, a lot of the finer details in the manga has been left out. In the anime itself, it’s unclear why Oda wants to cast Fuchi so much. In any case, the whole project goes awry when Fuchi ends up tearing her co-star apart and eating her. She then turns her attention onto the team and kills one of them. In an industry dominated by physical appearance, I see Fuchi’s cannibalism as the desperate need to survive at all costs. Clearly, she isn’t a cannibal due to religious reasons. Why else would anyone resort to something so heinous? Survival. Women are objectified and treated like pieces of meat, so Fuchi does the same to everyone around her, even her co-star. It’s just fair game.
As for the second story, I’m definitely disappointed by the adaptation. Lots of details are missing. In the manga, we see glimpses of Mukoda’s dreams and nightmares. What’s so terrifying about some of them? What is he doing for thousands of years in the others? How lonely does he get when he’s trapped in these dreams? An adaptation is the perfect opportunity to capitalize on an interesting but underdeveloped aspect from the source material. But instead, the anime chooses to excise these visions altogether. Lame.
The story itself is kind of interesting to ponder, but unlike “Fashion Model,” I don’t have any interpretation of it that goes beyond the surface level. It’s just kind of a cool thought experiment. Like whoa, what if we could dream forever and ever! We’d be immortal in a sense! Also, have you guys ever experienced a “long dream” before? I can’t say that I have. In fact, I feel as though I rarely dream. Well, either that or I instantly forget them as soon as I wake up. As a result, I can’t really relate to any of these stories. They sound cool in theory, but I can’t even imagine what it must feel like to experience such long, intricate dreams. The only time I’ve ever really been affected by my dreams is when I’m really, really ill. Think high fever ill. All of a sudden, I do get nightmares and they do feel long and terrible. Luckily, I rarely get that sick these days. I’ll suffer a cold and nothing more. I’m actually reminded of a story from a Redditor about how he got knocked unconscious, and in that short moment, he dreamed up this whole alternate life where he had a wife and daughter. I doubt it’s true, but it’s a cool story nonetheless. Have a read, if you’re interested.
Anyways, I’m still kinda enjoying this effort to adapt Ito Junji’s works even though it’s so flawed in many ways. I wish anime dabbled more in horror and less in… well, y’know, everything else. In fact, I think I’m going to go binge watch Yamishibai‘s five seasons over the weekend. My friend actually reminded me of the series today when I was mentioning the Ito Junji Collection to her.