Junji Ito Month – Demon’s Voice

Today, we take to the high seas for this chilling story in Demon’s Voice.

This story is Junji Ito’s take on the classic siren story. It was done as part of a promotional campaign for the horror video game series Siren.

The story begins with the crew frustrated at the lack of fish lately. Our main character, Koji, is seasick and decides to go to sleep. While he’s asleep though, the crew hear a distant siren. It grows loud enough to cause pains when we cut to Koji wakingup from his sleep. He finds that the crew is celebrating a big catch and is heaving to pull it in.

What I say after that point is spoiler town, so let’s talk about the classic Siren story and Siren the video game.

In Siren the game, the titular Siren is the voice of a demon compelling people to “approach the red water”, and causing them to turn into corpselike killers known as shibito. It’s easy to see how a simple change of setting gave us the setup of a classical Siren story.

Sirens have been a part of sailor stories since time immemorial. There’s just something deeply unsettling of hearing a hypnotic sound, especially when you’re in the middle of the biggest mass of nothing in the world. Junji Ito foregoes the pleasant singing in favor of an aggressive ringing sound, which only makes the later reveal more terrifying.

I’ve tackled the stories Human Chair and Fixed Face, which are realistic fears. Demon’s Voice is our first foray into Junji Ito’s knack for writing Lovecraftian horror.

Spoiler town from here on out!

Read Demon’s Voice here.

Spoiler Town

The nature of the siren in this iteration of the classic siren story is a tad more terrifying. It still causes hallucinations, but it also has the disgusting effect of attracting the bodies of its previous victims. Not only that, but making them appear as food. If Koji had not been asleep during the siren, nobody would have realized their “catch” was a pile of corpses. The implication of previous victims not knowing this and eating said bodies is a great case of Ito’s use of implied horror.

The sheer volume of corpses on display here speaks to how unstoppable this force is. Not only that, but Ito’s illustrations framing of these nightmarish scenarios are stunning in execution.

From here, the story basically follows the game. It turns out, the corpses are still living, and our unfortunate crew ends up dead at their rotting hands.

Unlike Human Chair and Fixed Face, the horror of this story is based on the overwhelming helplessness of people against Lovecraftian horror and good ol’ hordes of zombies.

That’s all for today! Tune in tomorrow for more Junji Ito goodness.

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