For Comic-Con@Home, which featured popular panels in a virtual setting, VIZ hosted A HAUNTING CONVERSATION WITH JUNJI ITO. Featuring the master of horror manga himself, Junji Ito and hosted by Urian Brown and interpreter Junko Goda, the panel was focused on everything from his newest upcoming manga, Venus in the Blindspot (available August 18th), to what Junji does to relax and whether he prefers Freddy over Jason. Spoilers: he does.

When asked what drew him to create his monstrous characters, Junji Ito reflects that when he was growing up, he was naturally drawn to scary things so, “I naturally started telling scary stories”. His popular horror mangas range from a retelling of Frankenstein to a story of the demonic girl Tomie, which he describes as, “[A]ll the negative characteristics of humans”. Part of his popularity stems from his use of graphic and nightmarish images throughout his mangas, including one of the most popular images from his story Uzumaki, in which a girl seems to have a large spiral stemming from her eye socket outwards towards the back of her head. When asked about how his creative process has changed over the years, Junji Ito mentions the switch from analog to digital and how he still sometimes prefers analog, “Drawing with pen and paper still has a lot of details you can’t quite capture digitally.”

Junji Ito went on to describe his newest manga, Venus in the Blindspot as the story of someone trying to get away from a stalker by always remaining in that stalker’s physical blind spot. He thought of the human eye and how there is always a blind spot and tried to figure out, “How someone physically would put themselves in someone else’s blind spot.” He cites his favorites in this newest collection of stories as The Human Chair and The Enigma of Amigara Fault, in which the characters in the story “discover these specific human silhouette holes” in a mountain.

They moved on to some fan questions, in which he mentioned a fondness for jazz and classical music as his preferred method of unwinding, as well as one of his big fears being when photographs are taken and a ghost appears in the background. He was also asked about any possible video game collaborations in development at the moment, mentioning Hideo Kojima and his super-popular Death Stranding and stating, “I do know Kojima and we have been in conversations that he might have a horror-based game that he might be doing. He has invited me to work on that but there’s no details just yet.”

In closing the panel, he was asked if he had a message for his fans, particularly those who were attending SDCC as he was supposed to attend this year and do his panel in person but was unable to due to the ongoing pandemic: “I really look forward to meeting you all in the states in the near future. I will keep writing and creating and telling you stories and I hope that you continue to read them. Thank you.”

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