Layers of Fear by Junji Itou

Layers of Fear Junji ito Fairy Dharawat Blog

Oh Dear God.

What a horror short. It’s an incredible work of art.

It’s one of the most disturbing short graphic novels I have read. It’s so simple and yet complicated. I mean the plot is as relate able as they come, and maybe that’s why its scarier. The story is triggering. I won’t recommend to just about everyone. But it’s gut-wrenching. 

The plot revolves around a favorite child, an almost envious sibling and a mother with lost dreams vicariously living through her daughter. I say almost as the favoritism is so apparent, you feel sorry for the envious sibling.

Without any element of horror or supernatural the story itself is self destructive in nature, and you can feel the misery rightaway. But no. We are dealing with the master of the horror. Junji Ito knows what he is doing.

He knows how to catapult an already strained relationship, make it ultra creepy and strangle it further with uneasiness that can only come with an acute sense of strong emotional intelligence which he possesses.

A mother daughter relationship is complicated enough and the Manga Horror Master here knows how to make it even more uncomfortable.

Kudos to him. He makes you feel so bad, it’s WOW. I mean, I have to appreciate the tight plot and the raw character emotions laden with strong motivations that make them take steps with questionable outcomes. They know what they do *might* be not ethically correct, and yet, they go ahead and do what they aren’t supposed to.


The protagonist’s mothers wants only the BEST, while the daughter is tired, but also loves her mother dearly. Relatable? ABSOLUTELY! You add a mysterious element that hampers their not so quite life, and you got a rocking recipe for a disaster.

The obsession of a mother is the most scariest part, because it is so human, real, and explicitly states how far one is ready to go to get what they want or what they *think* is right and the best.

The scarier part although is something else, entirely.

The scarier or the SCARIEST part is the one when the mum realizes what she has done. That conclusion is haunting. I say HAUNTING!

The supernatural bit is not the horrific part, just like most of Junji Ito’s stories. Its the depravity of his characters that he depicts with distinguished flourish that makes you commend him. The flair with how he brings the chemistry between the sisters and the mother daughter relationship is something that remains left to be desired. Wish more movies and art depicted the intricacies and complexities of relationships between mothers and their daughters like that, because its not just the sacrifices of the mother that is haunting, nor is the obedient daughters who let their mother rule their lives is haunting. What is haunting is the loving and living with each other knowing the fallacies and jealousies. A tragic daily reminders of what could have been is haunting, and saddening. Even the claustrophobic environment is the most HAUNTING in the series. The uneasiness, the feeling of being stuck, the feeling of helplessness is what is haunting.The entire tale from start to finish, when reading in one sitting looking at the art and feeling it, is haunting. One of the most scariest comics I’ve seen because Junji Ito makes his work so relatable it’s terrifying. It may not be scary for everyone, just like art is subjective, so is horror, but you cannot and I say you definitely cannot take away the pain the protagonists go through, without flinching. That raw emotion Junji Ito is known to capture with skill beyond comprehension. Also the art is crazy intricate and there needs to be trigger warning for this. Read it at your own peril.The grief, the loss, the regret. He captures them all, these raw emotions with a conviction not seen in most of the art we tend to consume. There’s a reason why people love him. He shows the evil in human with a refreshing flourish. That is precisely why Layers of Fear is scary.

Read Layers of Fear online here.

Read more about Junji Ito below

Gentle Goodbye here .

Human Chair here.

Library of illusions here here.

Phantom Mansion here.

Whispering Woman here.<a rel="noopener"

Army of One Here

Ryokan by Junji Ito here

Long Dream here.

Love as Scripted here.

If you like to read my horror fiction then you might like my short horror stories! Please take a moment and read these very short stories and reply with your thoughts I will very much appreciate it.

Christmas & Horror together? Bring it ON!
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Short attention spans so short snackable flash fiction!
Short Twitter Stories – Less than 280 characters

Maybe this short story will make you feel good about NOT sleeping.
Sleep Away by Fairy Dharawat

12 thoughts on “Layers of Fear by Junji Itou

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