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Meet the Recurring Stars of Junji Ito’s Manga Universe

Meet the Junji Ito stars who keep surviving... or, in some cases, keep dying.

Many Junji Ito manga, by their very nature, don’t lend themselves to recurring characters. When the fate of your protagonists ranges from being twisted into a spiral to being squeezed out the business end of an ancient mountain crevice, you don’t really invite a lot of repeat performances. But the master of horror manga actually does have a handful of classic characters who have appeared in enough stories to warrant their own manga collections. And best of all, you can read them all now with a Viz manga subscription!

Meet three of Junji Ito’s recurring cast of characters, then find out more about them in the ever-growing catalogue of online Ito-verse manga.

 

Soichi Tsujii

Soichi

We’ve all got that one relative who’s a bit weird, but they all pale in comparison to this Junji Ito mainstay. Soichi Tsujii is the youngest child of his otherwise perfectly lovely family, and takes after his aunt more than either of his parents. He delights in filling his mouth with nails, both to spit at people and to bite people with. He’s constantly casting curses on cousins, classmates, and anyone who dares to upset him.

In the end, though, his antics generally catch up to him. Or do they? In one of Ito’s short subjects, we meet a grown-up Soichi who’s spreading his terror far and wide via a haunted house. Though how real that story is is left up to the reader to decide.

 

Mimi

Mimi

When Junji Ito isn’t adapting classic stories, his terrors tend to issue forth from his own. But Mimi’s Tales of Terror is an exception, adapting recorded urban legends into short stories. Tying them all together is Mimi, a university student who somehow manages to stumble into all sorts of paranormal scenarios. And in many cases, her boyfriend simply does not believe her.

From the ghosts of drowned children to voyeuristic gravestones to an eerily tall neighbor, Mimi has run-ins with all manner of terrifying types. Fortunately, she survives them all… even if she doesn’t always learn the full story of what she encountered.

 

Tomie Kawakami

Che

Arguably the most famous (or infamous) Junji Ito character, Tomie bucks the trend of this list. Because rather than surviving longer than the average Ito protagonist, she dies. A lot. Over and over. It’s kind of her whole deal, in addition to being incredibly beautiful. And that’s because technically Tomie isn’t just one person: she can replicate quickly and indefinitely. Like a beautiful, beautiful virus.

Generally, Tomie’s strange beauty will drive men to violence against her, which in turn leads to her replication. There are ways to slow her down, such as acid and fire. But, all things considered, just assume she’ll keep coming back.

Check out more must-read manga with Dandadan!