Uzumaki (translation: “Spiral”) is the manga that introduced horror master Junji Ito’s works to the West. It’s not his first or earliest work, but it was the perfect entry point for his themes of cosmic horror, paranoia, madness and squishy, slimy body horror.
Cartoon Network‘s Adult Swim has announced that it would be co-producing a new 4-part anime adaptation with Production I.G. in Japan. The series will premiere in the US on Adult Swim’s “Toonami” anime block schedule in 2020. Hiroshi Nagahama, who previously adapted Mushi-Shi and Flowers of Evil, will direct the miniseries -with Colin Stetson composing the soundtrack.
Uzumaki follows a teenager and her boyfriend as they witness a town become slowly overwhelmed by a supernatural curse. Spiral patterns start to appear everywhere – in snails, in objects, in hair. Then the spiral patterns get bigger and becomes a contagion. People become mesmerized. Their bodies start to twist and swirl and warp into spirals. Spirals become a contagion that slowly overtakes the town. The heroine and her boyfriend have to escape the town before the curse engulfs them all.
Junji Ito’s Horror Universe Explained
In Ito’s horror stories, there often isn’t a single monster to defeat. The horror is frequently an unseen force, an unfathomable Lovecraftian cosmic horror whose motive is unknowable. It is indiscriminating, claiming anything and everything, anyone and everyone. The manifestation of the horror is often surreal and irrational. People succumb to madness. Their bodies warp and contort in Cronenbergian images of body horror. You should be glad you can’t smell any of it, because things get wet and squishy.
Uzumaki had previously spawned two video games and a 2000 live action movie. The movie was part of the early 2000s J-Horror craze. Ito had previously refused offers to adapt the manga into an anime, but he has finally changed his mind. Nagahama is a critically acclaimed director and Ito is reportedly a fan.
Uzumaki will premiere on the Toonami slot on the Cartoon Network in 2020 ahead of the Japanese premiere.