Junji Ito Maniac Season 1 Episode 8 Recap – “Layers of Terror” / “The Thing That Drifted Ashore”

January 19, 2023
Jonathon Wilson 0
Netflix, Streaming Service, TV, TV Recaps
4.5

Summary

The most horrifyingly memorable story in the anthology is capped off by an efficiently horrid short.

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4.5

Summary

The most horrifyingly memorable story in the anthology is capped off by an efficiently horrid short.


This recap of the Netflix anime anthology Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre Season 1 Episode 8, “Layers of Terror” / “The Thing That Drifted Ashore”, contains spoilers.


Oh goodness, this is a weird one.

There’s a case to be made that this is the most horrifying and imaginative episode of Junji Ito Maniac thus far. “Layers of Fear”, adapted from a one-shot celebrating Ito’s 30th anniversary, is my pick for the most imaginatively disturbing story in the entire collection. And “The Thing That Drifted Ashore”, adapted from a short story from Slug Girl, is a short but effective coda that delivers a really memorable visual just to cap things off.

Junji Ito Maniac Season 1 Episode 8 Recap

Most of this episode is devoted to the first story, though, and it’s an absolute doozy. It begins in 1996 with a brief scene of a team of archeologists uncovering a long-buried skull, but we don’t find out the significance of this until later when we’ve met Reimi, her sister Narumi, and their mother in the present day.

Reimi was a child TV star and has received preferential treatment her entire life, with her mother not being remotely subtle about it, even in front of Narumi. Reimi’s mother is obsessed with how she was as a baby and longs to return to her life when she was two years old. As luck would have it, she gets the opportunity to do so, though not in a way that anyone other than Junji Ito would ever imagine.

So, in a car crash, Reimi loses half of her face, and what the doctors discover underneath is… another face. Reimi is comprised exclusively of layers and layers of skin representing each year of her life, like the rings inside a tree stump. Her past selves literally live inside her.

This is all related to that skull, and Narumi, who is afflicted with the same condition, thinks they’ve been cursed by it. Their mother, though, sees it as an opportunity. She obsesses over Reimi and hears her two-year-old self crying out to her from inside. Frantically, she begins to rip layer after layer of Reimi’s skin off, enlisting Narumi’s help to do so, eventually leaving only a skin skeleton and internal organs with a baby’s wailing head.

Reimi’s mother assumes she must be cursed as well, so decides to peel off her own skin layers until she reveals the 38-year-old version of herself, so she can birth Reimi again. However, she isn’t cursed, and instead just cuts off her own face with a box cutter. Genuinely horrific stuff.

And it doesn’t get much cheerier in “The Thing That Washed Ashore”, a very short story that actually gets through quite a wide range of emotions and ideas in a very cramped runtime. In essence, a giant sea creature washes onto a beach, drawing a huge crowd, including the fiance of a man who disappeared at sea seven years ago. But the sea monster’s transparent skin reveals a fate worse than death for the passengers of that doomed vessel. They have all been living in the fish’s intestines for years and have mutated into scurrying parasites that scuttle across the beach.

This story has some horrific imagery that evoked The Human Centipede for me, and it’s one of the few stories in this collection that is actually better for being very short.

You can stream the Netflix anime anthology Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre Season 1 Episode 8, “Layers of Terror” / “The Thing That Drifted Ashore” exclusively on Netflix.


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