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Junji Ito Reveals the One Story He’s Embarrassed About

Horror mangaka Junji Ito has revealed to fans which of his stories embarrasses him the most. From iconic villains like Tomie and Souichi to landmark stories like his terrifying Hanging Balloons tale, Ito has tapped into the nightmares of readers worldwide. His stories are so popular that they have been adapted in two different series with the most recent one finding a home at Netflix under the name Junji Ito Maniac. With such an impressive catalog, Ito is sure to have his favorites and least favorites. Surprisingly, a recent interview gave fans a glimpse into one of his least favorite stories he wrote because of how embarrassing it is to him.


A brief interview clip on the Netflix Anime YouTube channel sees Ito discussing the story The Sandmans Lair, which was originally titled Den of the Sleep Demon. This tale explores a haunting night in the life of an artist who’s been having haunting nightmares about a mysterious Sandman. When his girlfriend agrees to watch him for the night, she discovers to her horror that his nightmares are real as something tries to crawl its way out of her boyfriend. It’s a disturbing moment of body horror that makes it one of Junji Ito: Maniac‘s most twisted sequences. However, its origins in manga aren’t looked upon fondly by Ito himself.

Related: Junji Ito Maniac Ruined One Episode By Leaving Out a Key Detail

The Sandman’s Lair‘s Writing Doesn’t Hold Up for Ito

Ito describes Sandman’s Lair as one of his “earliest stories.” Due to this, he’s noticed some heavy flaws with it since it was made in a time when he was still perfecting his voice. The biggest elephant in the room for him is the dialogue as he describes it as “pretty immature” with his main character having “these pretentious-sounding lines.” It’s a common moment for writers when they read what they wrote years ago and ultimately cringe at how off their own writing sounds. The way his characters speak just doesn’t work well among Junji Ito’s scariest comics. In fact, he even mentions that he’s “a little embarrassed by it” even though he wrote it. However, this doesn’t mean that he’s completely ashamed of it either.

Junji Ito Actually Sees the Anime as an Improvement

Sandman's Lair from Junji Ito Maniac

What’s surprising about this reveal from Ito is that even though he doesn’t look kindly on Sandman’s Lair today, he felt the adaptation did a good job bringing it to life. In fact, one could say that he feels like the anime improved upon it even if the dialogue he dislikes is still in it because he says that Netflix “did a great job in bringing it to anime form.” He compliments the series for giving it “great pieces of animation” that allows it to stand out and show off the scariest elements in “this bizarre, fantastic story.” Bringing the story to animation was ultimately a success for this story as it was able to use the medium to improve it similar to how sound was used in Junji Ito’s Hanging Balloons.

It’s not uncommon for artists to not see all of their stories in a positive light. It takes years for them to hone their craft, and that includes making small or big failures along the way. Junji Ito is no different as he explains why The Sandman’s Lair doesn’t quite hold up for him. However, this doesn’t mean that he feels that it can’t be improved as shown by his surprise when Maniac managed to make it into one of Maniac‘s better adaptations. The Sandman’s Lair may be the story Junji Ito is most embarrassed about, but its anime counterpart is handled so well in the final cut that he actually felt “pleased and embarrassed at the same time.”

More: Junji Ito Makes His Own Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark in New Collection

Source: Netflix Anime

Watch Junji Ito Maniac: Tales of the Japanese Macabre now on Netflix!

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