Review of Junji Ito’s ‘Shiver’ (2017)

Who likes…


Ren n’ Stimpy style, grotesquely detailed…


Closeups of EYES!??!


Shiver is an ideal Jinju Ito starter kit, serving up a compilation of his vilest manga shorties reaching back from ‘87 to nowish. Sure, the concepts are just original enough and always- ALWAYS- high stakes, so they worm right into your nightmares, but what sells the stories is the imagery. His needle-lined reveal panels are comprised with eyeball-eviscerating detail, and with such apt control, he lets you feel it high and sharp exactly at the right time every time. I literally had to close this book a few times and disturbed my coworkers with my constant audible reactions- and I’m never that guy.

Sorry again, everyone. Sorry.

One of the many keys to a great short story is not to tell a beginning-middle-end, but find a complete moment in a much bigger story. The origins of Ito nightmares may just as well be from the magical land of Whatthefucktopia, and there’s an elevator into our world, sure, doesn’t matter. Each story starts and we’re just in it, usually following an unassuming, average boy or girl, who is just as immersed and caught off guard as the reader when the shit goes down.

Though I don’t think there’s a drop of filler in Shiver, there are some standouts; the titular Shiver is a literal Trypophobia- fear of holes- worst nightmare, a body horror with some WWII affectations.

I can’t hide it from you any longer… I’m Swiss Cheese.

Hanging Blimp is so bizarre and quietly haunting, after I got done reading the anthology, I shut the book, glared at the friend I borrowed it from and he said, “The one with the heads, Right?” Yup. The one with the heads.

OH, FUN! A parade just for us!

The cringiest story is called Greased Oil. Jesus, run your bath NOW. It’s hygienically unsavory throughout, but there’s one image that really got the old acids going. Each story is followed with a short commentary revealing not only Ito’s fertile and anchored horror mind, but his warm sincerity.

Sorry my manga makes you make loud strange noises at work. I’m a bastard, but I love you too.

Even if you don’t get your hands on a Shiver, anything Ito will be reliably haunting, beautifully drawn, and for better or worse unforgettable.


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