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Venus in the Blind Spot
by Junji Ito
Viz Media, $22.99, 272pp
Published: August 2020

A "best of" collection of creepy tales from Eisner award winner and legendary horror master Junji Ito.

This was my first foray into the world of Junji Ito and I was impressed with his art and his story telling. I think this was a good book to start with, since it was a collection of his short stories, including a feature adaptation of Edogawa Rampo's classic horror story "Human Chair" and fan favorite “The Enigma of Amigara Fault.”

The artwork included special color pages and showcased some illustrations from his acclaimed manga, "No Longer Human".

The terror begins with "Billions Alone", where bodies of couples and groups of people are being sewn together like quilts and left throughout the city. I found it a deep and horrifying look into the human psyche. It was delivered and illustrated nicely and left me with a bit of the heebie jeebies after reading it.

I enjoyed "The Human Chair". This is a chilling story, about a story of obsessive love, being told to a budding writer in a shop as she views a chair that once belonged to a famous writer, who in turn was being stalked by a man who had sewn himself into a chair in her home. This was eerie and well done, leaving one looking twice before setting down.

"Venus in the Blind Spot", this volume's namesake, is a story surrounding a young woman who disappears when men who adore her get to close. Then, there's "The Licking Woman," a monster woman who has a long, poisonous tongue. The story of "Master Umezz and Me" gives us a glimpse into Ito's own life and his inspiration for writing horror stories. In "How Love Came to Professor Kirida", an obsessed student violates Kirida's privacy and wishes. "The Enigma of Amigara Fault" tells of weirdly alluring holes that are shaped for specific people who are drawn to them. This collection is rounded out with "Keepsake", where a baby is mysteriously born to a dead woman inside her casket.

Not all these stories instilled terror within me; they were all decent but not of equal power, though I still found them all engaging.

I enjoyed stepping into the world of Junji Ito and will happily do so again. If you like a good horror manga then I'd recommend this book.

Warning: this volume is definitely more suitable to mature audiences. There is necrophilia, stalking, corpse mutilation, and sexual assault. ~~ Dee Astell

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