Strong, interesting concepts keep this double-bill engaging.
This recap of the Netflix anime anthology Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre Season 1 Episode 6, “Mold” / “Library Vision”, contains spoilers.
“Mold”, a story adapted from the seventh volume of Horror World of Junji Ito, Slug Girl, is another creeping tale of rapidly-worsening circumstances that revolves heavily around one of my least favorite things — messy homes.
Junji Ito Maniac Season 1 Episode 6 Recap
“Messy” is an understatement here, though. Akasaka, the protagonist, returns home from a year overseas to discover that in his absence his brother Seiji has rented his abode out to the family of his former homeroom teacher Mr. Rogi. Akasaka finds the place trashed with mold growing everywhere. Through flashbacks, which Junji Ito Maniac hasn’t employed too much thus far, we see how Seiji was pressured into the rental, though we crucially don’t see what caused the dilapidation of the house — at least not until later.
The mold, which steadily worsens and takes over the entire property, is impressively rendered here, and the atmosphere within the house is convincingly damp and disgusting. Through Seiji, Akasaka eventually learns that the Rogi family were infected by it, and the image of the family’s infant crawling around while bubbling with the fungus is one of those images that’ll definitely stay with you longer than you’d like.
Eventually, Akasaka discovers that the dead Rogi family are the source of the mold and that it has grown out of their corpses and spread through the entire property. The episode ends with Akasaka, increasingly fatigued and corrupted, muttering the word “itchy” to himself as he scratches off his own face.
“Library Vision”, based on Library of Illusions from New Voices in the Dark, is a creative take on generational trauma. It’s also deliberately ambiguous rather than explicitly supernatural.
The general idea is that a man named Goro is obsessed with his library. He psychopathically berates his wife, Koko, for reading a book without telling him, and he has committed several volumes of his daily journal to the collection.
Eventually the books most beloved of Goro’s mother and father go missing, and he begins to see apparations that manifest as characters from those books and recite their prose aloud to him. Goro’s diaries, read by Koko, help to fill in some context around how Goro’s literary obsession is a mask for personal trauma, and he eventually succumbs to the same fate as his father, convincing himself that he must commit his entire collection to memory — a process which quickly drives him mad.
The episode ends with Goro’s library, his diaries, and himself all burning.
You can stream the Netflix anime anthology Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre Season 1 Episode 6, “Mold” / “Library Vision” exclusively on Netflix.