Junji Ito Maniac Season 1 Episode 10 Recap – “Unendurable Labyrinth” / “The Bully”

January 19, 2023
Jonathon Wilson 0
Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, TV Recaps
4

Summary

The collection focuses on more human horror in a double-bill that contains the most unpleasant story of the series.

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4

Summary

The collection focuses on more human horror in a double-bill that contains the most unpleasant story of the series.


This recap of the Netflix anime anthology Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre Season 1 Episode 10, “Unendurable Labyrinth” / “The Bully”, contains spoilers.


This double-bill episode collects, I think, the weirdest pair of stories in Junji Ito Maniac, not in terms of their actual content but in how different they are from the rest. Neither is even explicitly supernatural, really, instead dealing in more human horrors, especially the second story, “The Bully”, which is an awful little thing precisely because it’s so rooted in actual human behavior.

Junji Ito Maniac Season 1 Episode 10 Recap

Then again so too is “Unendurable Labyrinth”, adapted from Unbearable Maze, the second story in Blood Bubble BushesIt’s about two friends, Noriko and Sayoko, who go hiking deep in the mountains and come across a secluded community of ascetic monks.

Needless to say, the monks are into some weird stuff, most specifically starving themselves to death to prepare for self-mummification, the final rite in their self-suppressing worldview. This is combined with a missing-person plot, since the girls run into Kuramoto, who has been searching for her lost brother.

Novelty aside this is a fairly week story, and I didn’t find the monks, even in their mummified form, to be all that scary or memorable. I did, though, enjoy how the concept roped in the girls’ personal anxieties and fears, such as how Sayoko imagines everyone watching her, and how that amounts to a chilling final image as a form of payoff.

“The Bully”, though, really got to me. This is a story in the same-titled twelfth volume of Horror World of Junji Ito, and has no supernatural elements at all, not even vague or implied ones. It’s about a woman, Kuriko, reminiscing with her boyfriend over the time she spent in a park bullying a younger boy named Nao. Sadistically, she tortures him in worsening ways until he and his family move out of town.

The real-world quality of this story is what makes it disturbing, but it also gets much worse. Kuriko meets Nao again as an adult and ends up marrying and having a child with him. When the child is born, though, he disappears, and in her anger at his absence, Kuriko begins taking her frustrations out on the child, whom she begins to call Nao. Realizing that this is Nao’s revenge on her, she snaps, dressing up as the little girl she once was and taking Nao to the same park, presumably to make his life a misery.

It might not be the most striking in terms of its visual horror, but “The Bully” is the story that I found the most actively unpleasant.

You can stream the Netflix anime anthology Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre Season 1 Episode 10, “Unendurable Labyrinth” / “The Bully” exclusively on Netflix.


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