Junji Ito Stories That Should Be Turned Into Horror Video Games

Junji Ito is a horror mangaka whose work has an impressive cult following, thanks to his beautiful and grotesque artwork and impactful storylines. From an immortal girl to floating heads, his works’ influence on horror manga can’t be underestimated, and it would be great to see his works translated into scary horror games.

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Video games such as World of Horror and the canceled P.T. have already felt the impact of this legendary mangaka. It would be great to see his unsettling works translated as horror games, putting you in the shoes of one of his protagonists as you must navigate these terrifying situations.

Updated on October 4, 2023, by Casey Foot: Junji Ito’s iconic stories have left a mark on the horror genre. Ito’s terrifying stories and gruesome artwork are the perfect combination for creepy horror games, so we’ve added a few more that we’d like to see adapted. With an Uzumaki anime on the horizon, maybe there’s room for a Junji Ito game in the future.

13 The Window Next Door

Split images of the woman at the window and reaching with a pole in The Window Next Door

After moving to a new house, Hiroshi Sakaguchi and his mother introduce themselves to the neighbors, and they hear of a strange woman living next door. Creepily enough, the neighbor’s house only has one window, where a figure is often seen at nighttime.

Hiroshi’s bedroom is directly opposite the window and when he tries to sleep that night, the horrifying woman speaks to him and asks him to come over. If The Window Next Door were a game, you could investigate the woman in the daytime by speaking to the neighbors. Then, when nighttime comes, you would need to make sure Hiroshi’s bedroom is impenetrable and resist the neighbor’s eerie calls.

12 Village Of The Siren

Split images of the three main characters in Village of the Siren and Yukari holding her hands over her ears

Kyoichi decides to visit the village where he grew up to see his parents after receiving a concerning letter, saying that his father has abandoned their family farm and is now working at a new factory. The village and its citizens aren’t how Kyoichi remembers, and he discovers that this is because of the influence of the siren that is being used to control them.

Village of the Siren would be the perfect atmospheric horror game, similar to the likes of Silent Hill with its occult storyline and seemingly normal town that’s secretly harboring demonic entities. The sound of the siren could also play into it, with Kyoichi having to find ways to resist it.

11 Secret Of The Haunted Mansion

Split images of Souichi and the two children and the haunted house in Secret of the Haunted Mansion

In Secret of the Haunted Mansion, one of Junji Ito’s staple characters, Souichi Tsujii, runs a haunted mansion with his family members taking a starring role. When two children attempt to get inside after closing time, Souichi lets them in for free, hoping they will never come out again.

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Traversing Souichi’s haunted mansion in a game would be a horrifying experience, especially when you know what lies deep within it. A horror game based on this story could expand on the family’s dynamic, similar to the dark comedy in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.

10 Tomie

A split image screenshot of a girl looking at pictures in an art gallery and a man holding up a grotesque picture of a woman, saying ‘At last, I’ve captured it. This… is your beauty.’

Perhaps the most popular of Ito’s works, the titular Tomie is a beautiful and manipulative girl who has the ability to make any man fall in love with her presence alone. Men under her thrall are driven into a frenzy, leading them to lose control and brutally kill her over and over.

Tomie’s regenerative abilities would make for an interesting gameplay mechanic, allowing her to join the ranks of other video game characters who are invulnerable to damage. It would be great to play as this powerful character, manipulating men to do your bidding while dodging their attacks.

9 House Of Puppets

A split image screenshot of a boy looking at a girl strung up like a puppet, covered in blood and a side profile of a man with a puppet next to him.

In this story, the puppeteers are the ones being controlled rather than the puppets. In a reverse of the classic Pinocchio fairytale, this family of puppeteers become wooden puppets themselves – manipulated by the creepy puppet, Jean-Pierre.

Puppets aren’t a new concept in horror games, with series like Five Nights at Freddy’s highlighting their creepy factor, but Junji Ito’s influence could take the concept to the next level. A video game iteration of this story could lean into this fear, blurring the lines between puppet and puppeteer as you attempt to retain your humanity.

8 Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu

A split image screenshot of giant cat behind a scared man and a cat biting someone’s hand.

Yon & Mu is an autobiographical manga chronicling J-kun and his fiancėe’s experience as cat owners. Despite being a comedic manga, it blends together its slice-of-life elements with the disturbing imagery Ito is known for.

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The video game industry is saturated with cute life simulation games – many of which involve you looking after a pet. It would be great to see this genre turned on its head as you play owner to your own Ito-inspired cat, complete with his unique art style. It might not be the most conventional horror game, but it would be interesting to see how these two genres coexist to create an eerie atmosphere.

7 The Hanging Balloons

A split image screenshot of two balloon heads floating in the sky and the title page of The Hanging Balloons featuring a girl with a noose on her neck.

The Hanging Balloons has a terrifying plot, where your own floating head chases you, goading you into taking your own life. This work presents a surreal situation where you must hide from a giant balloon version of your head, generating a lot of disturbing images of these haunting specters floating in the sky.

The balloons of this work would make for a scary horror game antagonist, as you would have to trap yourself inside your house, safe from the terror floating just outside your window.

6 Long Dream

A split image screenshot of a man lying in bed with a bulbous head and protruding eyes and a close up of a scary, cracked face with white eyes.

The Long Dream involves a patient called Tetsuro Mukoda, who has terrifying nightmares where time works differently – one night being the equivalent of a year. Over the course of the work, his dreams become longer, causing him to age rapidly. The story shows you the darker side of living for such a long period of time.

In the game adaptation, you could enter an endless dream, using the differences between the awake and sleeping world to play into your psychological fears. Imagine a game where a sleeping mechanic is pushed to the extreme, having you awaken only to discover that your entire life was only a mirage.

5 The Enigma Of Amigara Fault

A split image screenshot of a man crawling into a hole saying ‘This is my hole! It was made for me!’ and a boy and a girl next to a mountain with the title ‘The Enigma of Amigara Fault’.

The plot of this short story involves the discovery of human-shaped holes exposed by an earthquake. Following this incident, people become compelled to enter ‘their’ holes, claiming that it was created for them.

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Although this story is mainly based on a scary concept rather than an overarching narrative, the compulsion these people feel and not knowing what happens to them after they enter their hole makes it a chilling situation. A horror game could adapt this scenario – examining the shared hysteria behind such an event through engaging dialogue.

4 The Long Hair In The Attic

A split image screenshot of a girl looking at another girl in a dark attic and a severed head hanging from the rafters by its hair.

You’ve heard of bad hair days, but this story takes it to another level. After breaking up with her boyfriend, Chiemi decides to cut her hair, only for her hair to become sentient and fight back – killing her and hanging her head from the rafters of the attic.

It would be interesting to see this story adapted using the premise of a point-and-click horror adventure game, having you find clues to discover who murdered Chiemi. The twist is that she was killed by her own hair.

3 Glyceride

A split image screenshot of a girl sitting in a pool of grease and a man forcing a girl to drink oil.

This plot isn’t for the squeamish. Glyceride tells the story of Yui and her family who own a barbecue restaurant. Yui’s brother, Goro, has a violent temperament and a fixation with oil – drinking it to the point where it seeps out of his body. After Yui’s father kills Goro, he serves his body to his loyal patrons, resulting in a boom in business.

The plot could be represented as a survival horror game, involving checking the saturation level of grease in the air and stopping your father’s attempts to serve you up as dinner. This game would give the likes of Resident Evil 7 a run for its money, following in the footsteps of the Baker family’s hazardous lifestyle.

2 Army Of One

A split image screenshot of a girl sewing two corpses together and two corpses sewn together with the text ‘Army of One’ in the foreground.

The Army of One is another of Ito’s stories that plays into the concept of mass hysteria. It features a mysterious organization, the Army of One, that’s linked to mysterious deaths taking place in Japan, with bodies being found sewn together.

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A horror game of this story could involve you using stealth elements to hide from the Army of One while uncovering the secrets behind this sinister group. The game could place you in intense situations where you navigate through environments, doing your best not to become the next victim.

1 Uzumaki

A split image screenshot of a girl and a boy looking off into the distance with a big spiral in the background and a man in a room surrounded by spiral objects.

Uzumaki is an epic series about a town that’s terrorized by a spiral curse that causes the denizens to become obsessed with spirals. The paranormal effects of this curse cause the citizens to mutate and the town to change in mysterious ways.

It would be incredible to explore this town in a video game format, uncovering the intricacies of this town and encountering the twisted townsfolk as you attempt to escape the spiral. As the spiral curse causes time to speed up, it would also be interesting to see a time mechanic, like the one in Majora’s Mask, implemented to add an extra challenge to your terrifying adventure.

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