Junji Ito Maniac Season 1 Episode 4 Recap – “Four x Four Walls” / “The Sandman’s Lair”

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

Summary

Some shocking body horror in the second half keeps this episode from feeling like too much of a step down after the previous high point.

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4

Summary

Some shocking body horror in the second half keeps this episode from feeling like too much of a step down after the previous high point.


This recap of the Netflix anime anthology Junji Ito Maniac Season 1 Episode 4 Recap – “Four x Four Walls” / “The Sandman’s Lair” contains spoilers.


We’re back to the double story structure in the fourth episode of Junji Ito Maniac, and this is a decent pairing that still feels like a bit of a step down after the obvious majesty of “Hanging Balloon”. “Four x Four Walls”, originally known as The Room of Four Heavy Walls, The Room With Four Walls or The Silent Room, is taken from Horror World of Junji Ito Volume 6, Souichi’s Diary of Curseswhile “The Sandman’s Lair”, or Den of the Sleep Demon or Where the Sandman Lives, is from House of the Marionettes and contains some exquisitely appalling body-horror.

Junji Ito Maniac Season 1 Episode 4 Recap

“Four x Four Walls” is an interestingly constructed episode because it itself revolves around an interesting physical construction. It revolves around Koichi, an older boy whose studying is constantly interrupted by his younger brother Soichi, and a mysterious carpenter who is hired to “soundproof” Koichi’s room and ends up turning into several rooms within rooms which only exacerbates the spatial confusion but doesn’t actually dissuade Soichi from terrorizing his brother.

Some of the tension here, like in the first episode, comes from ambiguity. Koichi is convinced that Soichi is to blame for the noises he’s hearing, Soichi blames a poltergeist, and you’re never quite sure who’s telling the truth. The introduction of the carpenter character adds a layer of more explicit otherworldly weirdness, but the bulk of the action revolves around Koichi pursuing Soichi through an increasingly labyrinthine idea of the house while trying to circumvent his Home Alone-style traps.

It’s worth noting that Soichi is a familiar character in Ito’s stories, a recurring figure known for his scheming.

“The Sandman’s Lair” takes the very familiar concept of someone trying to stay awake out of fear of what may happen to them while they sleep, and contorts it — quite literally — with a dose of really nasty body horror. This story is about Yuji, who thinks a dark doppelganger is lurking inside his dreams, waiting to drag him to the dream world and replace him. He enlists Mari to help keep him awake.

The thing here, though, is the visual depiction of what happens when Yuji falls asleep. Mari finds him in the night being dragged around by his own arm, which has disappeared inside his own body, emerged from his mouth, and is pulling him across the floor. His shadow self taking over him results in him literally turning inside out, which is a striking image.

Yuri thinks his flip side shares his desires, so wants Mari. At the end of the episode, she tapes her arm to Yuri’s as he falls asleep, being pulled inside his body and into the dream world.

You can stream the Netflix anime anthology Junji Ito Maniac Season 1 Episode 4 Recap – “Four x Four Walls” / “The Sandman’s Lair” exclusively on Netflix.


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