Remina: Science fiction Junji Ito style

1 Jan

Junji Ito, is one of the most contested and debated authors of Japanese manga that scares readers who need more than Stephen King novels have done since the 1980’s. Junji Ito’s Remina (2020), released on December 15, published by Viz Media, is a reminder why Junji Ito, when he studies a subject, the results are purely terrifying and sublime. What is honest proves scary, at times, in Remina. Honesty has never been Junji Ito’s problem, but only consistently proves his abstract nature leaps into the readers subconscious. Only in Remina, Ito studies what it means to become a celebrity and the mass hysteria surrounding it. 

            The premise is simple: Remina, whose father discovers a planet and names it after his own daughter, is now the center of mob attacks after the planet, Remina, is eating up planets, as Earth is the next target. We don’t know what the planet wants or why it is eating up planets in our solar system. Only Remina’s father is crucified for discovering the planet, but also Remina is a celebrity, as guys fawn over her, a mysterious group wants to kill her. 

            What we see now is the disease that celebrity creates, and blaming Remina for the problems of an alien planet consuming all who face extinction, is the easiest metaphor to see. What is terrifying about Remina is that Junji Ito deliberately challenges the narrative of fame and how one can be blamed for a natural disaster. People, in the middle of being confronted, change sides quickly. And how certain hero’s aren’t the main characters, at all. Unlikely hero’s in the name of pure accidental consequence, such as Daisuke, create new archetypes, as the homeless man becomes a hero who saves Remina’s life. 

People, in the middle of being confronted, change sides quickly.

            Only in the later half of the narrative, the survivors try to land on Remina, only to find it’s inhabitable. And if they take there mask off they will die, in gruesome skin melting horror. What is obvious is that Ito never claims that reality is best spent on another planet, because leaving earth is not a guarantee of survival. Ito is best at never allowing the ending to become predictable or think we have the best answers, but Ito delivers what others may call “science fiction” but with Ito’s proof behind popular science fiction body horror hits like “GYO: the Death Stench” allows us to believe in his mastery of accomplished story teller qualities. 

            Subtlety is Junji Ito’s style as an artist and a writer. Is this is classic in Junji Ito’s palate? The story is not a masterpiece or original, but it does prove that Ito can carry a story with characters we can hate but also relate to. The result is proven when the leader of the mysterious mob is also her fan club leader, as this also makes the comment on fame far more relevant, as fame can destroy a fan’s life as well as a planet consuming life all across a galaxy. What proves far more terrifying is that Junji Ito may makes you remember all the details of the plot without much effort being used by narrative techniques. No long soliloquies or conversations that might take up page after page. 

            What is odd is that we start to forget Remina starts off as a science fiction story but becomes a narrative about fame and how blaming our problems on one person can lead to disasterous conseuqences. The strongest quality is Remina is a critique of society and how we turn on each other. Each time the planet attacks, the reader is asking the question, are the crowd projecting there pain onto Remina. 

            Oddness is Junji Ito’s strength as a writer but it’s his paired down drawing that helps Ito tell his story without post modern details that would blemish the pages. No character in a Junji Ito story has moles, but some have beards to accentuate intelligence, which can be a sign of psychological defect. In Gyo, the Uncle embeds himself with the sea creatures attacking the harbor. The psychological defect in Remina is when mass group think is eating away at the survivors who blame Remina for the death of the planet. 

            It’s when Spocks twin has a goatee that we know he’s evil, sort of thinking, if you are a Star Trek fan. What we see in Remina is the willingness to have fun but also explore deep themes that portray the psyche of group think but reward the reader in a harrowing tale of desertion, fale group think gone awry, and loss, both personal and a global scale.            

Final Rating: 8 of out 10.

-Louis Bruno can be found on Gab https://gab.com/thereallouistbruno, and Parler https://parler.com/profile/therealLouistbruno/posts, and will not be found on Twitter as much (only to shitpost). Louis is the author of 16 books, on Amazon, Lulu, Kobo, and anywhere books are sold.

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