Mimi’s Tales of Terror Is an Intriguing Junji Ito Manga
Image via Viz Media

Mimi’s Tales of Terror Is an Intriguing Junji Ito Manga

Viz’s Junji Ito manga release Mimi’s Tales of Terror is a fascinating one. Rather than being entirely original, he’s adapted stories from Shin Mimibukuro by Hirokatsu Kihara and Ichiro Nakayama. Each one is an allegedly true story, with Ito’s retelling using a young woman named Mimi as a common thread in the same way as Cat-Eyed Boy does. The result is an accessible anthology.

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How Mimi’s Tales of Terror works is these “true” stories are reinterpreted and retold, only with Mimi and her boyfriend as adjacent fixtures in them. Because these are based on urban legends, the length varies from story to story. In the same way, so too does the degree of horror tied to each one. The majority aren’t as unsettling and haunting as a regular Junji Ito tale. Rather, these are reports of unnerving situations someone else’s friend of a cousin may have went through. This also means the depth of the story varies, and you can tell ones where the mangaka perhaps had a bit more liberty to editorialize, like “Scarlet Circle.” I’d say that’s almost a boon though, as the extra experiences and involvement of Mimi herself really help with making the tales more interesting.

Also, as you’d expect from Junji Ito stories, the artwork is impeccable. The designs for otherworldly beings is fantastic. The juxtaposition against the quite cute Mimi and her ordinary friends is great too. There’s a lot of care put into telling these stories, and the afterword comic helps provide more insight into that and makes those efforts clear.

I will note that because this manga involves a Junji Ito adaptation of others’ stories, it can feel a bit different than his other works. Some do have some of the same overall ambiance. I felt like “Seashore” and “Scarlet Circle” did a good job of that. Even “Grave Placement,” to an extent, overall feels like one of “his.” But perhaps it’s just me, but stories like “On the Utility Pole,” “The Woman Next Door,” and “Sign in the Field” had his signature art and look, but none of the same atmosphere and punch due to the nature of the collection.

Speaking of his signature work, I did very much appreciate that not only his original work “Monster Prop” is here, but that it gets special treatment in the Viz volume of Mimi’s Tales of Terror. It gets two color-pages as an introduction and is divided in a way that helps set it apart from the rest of the collection. Also, due to it dealing with more ordinary people in the “real” world dealing with an unexpected and unsettling phenomenon, it really blends in well with the other stories here.

Mimi’s Tales of Terror is an unexpected Junji Ito manga that shows the mangaka’s versatility. We see how he’s able to interpret someone else’s already written story, adjust it to allow for a new protagonist to tie experiences and themes together, illustrate it vividly, and make a more cohesive experience for everyone to enjoy. While some of the storytelling might feel a bit different than his completely original works, it’s all quite entertaining and otherworldly.

Mimi’s Tales of Terror is available now via Viz Media.

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Jenni Lada
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.