‘Tombs’: my favorite Junji Ito collection yet!

April 10, 2023

TITLE: Tombs
AUTHOR: Junji Ito
GENRE: Horror
PAGES: 344pg

Countless tombstones stand in rows, forming a bizarre town. What fate awaits a brother and sister after a traffic accident in this town of the dead? In another tale, a girl falls silent, her tongue transformed into a slug. Can a friend save her? Then, when a young man moves to a new town, he finds the house next door has only a single window. What does his grotesque neighbor want, calling out to him every evening from that lone window?

Fresh nightmares brought to you by horror master Junji Ito.

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Tombs is a collection of horror stories ranging from mildly unnerving to downright bizarre, and is easily one of my favorite of Junji Ito’s books thus far. In most of his collections, there’s at least one story that didn’t quite click with me, but I genuinely loved every single installment here and could barely even choose a favorite (though I did eventually narrow it down to ’The Bloody Story of Shirosuna’, the final story. Whether you’re brand new to Junji Ito books or a seasoned fan, you absolutely can’t miss this one.

→ Tombs ★★★★★
I loved this story and thought it was such a fantastic tone-setter for the collection. In typical Junji Ito fashion, we have a mixture of body horror and Weird Shit in a Small Town™️ with no real explanation for why any of it’s happening.

→ Clubhouse ★★★★☆
This was a really short, fun little paranormal story that I think would make an awesome short in a horror film anthology. I loved the ending!

→ Slug Girl ★★★★★
This was absolutely DISGUSTING and, as someone who hates slugs as much as Yuko does, I’m probably going to have nightmares.

→ The Window Next Door ★★★★★
How creepy! There’s something so unsettling about the idea of a mysterious neighbor trying to crawl in through your window, and that last page made me a little queasy.

→ Washed Ashore ★★★★★
Despite loving the ocean and sea creatures, I actually have a solid case of thalassophobia, so the idea of this bizarre deep-sea creature unlike anything ever seen before washing up on a beach intrigued me from the start. While it’s a very quick story, this is one of my favorites!

→ The Strange Tale of the Tunnel ★★★★★
This reminded me of a few other of Junji Ito’s stories, though I can’t say why without spoiling the twist. That said, I’m always amazed by how he can take the most mundane things and turn them into something terrible that I’ll never look at the same way (like spirals!).

→ Bronze Statue ★★★★☆
This was my least favorite in the collection, but as you can see by the rating, I still enjoyed it a lot! It had a bit of an “urban legend” feel to it that was a lot of fun.

→ Floaters ★★★★★
This one was so bizarre and fun! What an awful idea, to think of little things floating around mimicking your darkest thoughts—and what a tragic ending!

→ The Bloody Story of Shirosuna ★★★★★
The final story in this collection was, in my opinion, the best one of them all — in fact, it’s one of my favorite Junji Ito stories out of all of his books! It’s such an incredibly unnerving piece that, in his usual way, leaves us with no real explanation for why these awful things have happened, and that ambiguity is part of what makes it work so well.

Thank you to the author and publisher for the review copy! All thoughts are honest and my own.

content warnings →
WARNINGS (click to expand):

violence, death, gore, body horror, stalking, grief, suicide

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More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

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