Deserter: Junji Ito Story Collection

Alt title: Ito Junji Kessakushuu: Dassouhei no Iru Ie

Vol: 1; Ch: 12
1990 - 2011
3.885 out of 5 from 130 votes
Rank #8,098
Deserter: Junji Ito Story Collection

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I've already reviewed each of the one shots within this collection as standalone stories, so this review will be more focused on any shared themes or techniques and how well the stories fit together as a collection. First of all, it should be said that all of these one shots were written between 1987 and 1990, the earliest years in Junji Ito's career. As such, the artwork is much more sloppy and simplistic than what I'm used to from Ito. As is common with Junji Ito, there is a lot of blood and gore. Corpses and body mutilation. There are ghosts and supernatural and sometimes religious elements. There is also a little bit of psychological stuff and some shallow attempts at social commentary, but most of it is just evocative imagery. There are several stories which deal with suicide as a topic. There are several stories dealing with an outsider entering a situation where there's a group or a community who are all acting in strange ways. A few stories include a creepy young girl (which is an idea also picked up in Dissolving Classroom). Unfortunately, a lot of the characters acted in ways that felt unrealistic and were clearly just included in order to progress the plot in the desired way. Junji Ito plays around with plot twists a bit--sometimes in ways that feel alright, but sometimes just coming across as forced--and likes having the stories end in moments that feel like pseudo-cliffhangers, moments with strong imagery and a sense that more action will be occurring without us readers seeing it. Of these stories, most of them fall around maybe 3/10. The only one which I would rate in the positive end of the scale (i.e. higher than 5/10) is Suima no Heya, which I would rate as a 6/10. In other words, none of these stories are masterpieces or amazingly memorable or anything. And most of them are unimpressive or disappointing or bland. And a few are just downright bad (most notably, the three I would rate as 1/10: Akuma no Ronri, Yaneura no Nagaikami, and Ijimetsu Musume). Is this collection worth reading as a whole? Meh, maybe not. I'd probably only recommend it to Junji Ito fans who want to see some of feir early works. * * * For reference, here are my reviews to each of the individual one shots: Bio House [4/10] (my review) Kao Dorobou [3/10] (my review) Suima no Heya [6/10] (my review) Akuma no Ronri [1/10] (my review) Yaneura no Nagaikami [1/10] (my review) Scenario-doori no Koi [3/10] (my review) Re-animator no Ken [3/10] (my review) Chichi no Kokoro [2/10] (my review) Taegatai Meiro [4/10] (my review) Siren no Mura [4/10] (my review) Ijimetsu Musume [1/10] (my review) Dassouhei no Iru Ie [3/10] (my review)

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