Junji Ito is best known among horror genre enthusiasts. The mangaka has penned down numerous horror stories and manga that have been appreciated globally for doing justice to the genre. Junji Ito’s stories are not just scary. They have the ability to send chills down the reader’s spine through the most horrific panels. The best part of reading his manga is that they do not especially focus on an antagonist. It’s the evil change of actions in a human under circumstances like obsession, depravity, crisis, and anything dark and unusual that seems to trigger the worst emotions to the reader. A manga by Junji Ito that fits this description is Uzumaki, a tale about a strange city. Some of the creepiest episodes in Uzumaki depict how people may abandon their humanity when they are hanging on the top of a needle.
Uzumaki is a story set in the fictional town of Kurouzu-Cho. Residents of the town are often drained. The story follows two main characters in recurrence, Kirie Goshina, and Shuichi Saito. Unexplainable and disturbing events take place around, and Shuichi claims that they occur due to the influence of the ‘Spirals’. Uzumaki makes several references to the positive symbol (the spiral) from Japanese media. The manga has sold extremely well ever since its publication in 1998. An anime adaptation is slated for release in October 2022.
Uzumaki is praised by many for its thrill and horror. The various events make one want to check twice for a monster under the bed. However, some events went beyond expectations. Here are the top ten creepiest episodes in Uzumaki that had us sleeping with an eye open.
Creepiest episodes in Uzumaki
Uzumaki offers a wide range of gore but with an addition of a terrifying backstory. Junji Ito is merciless with his characters. Most stories involve only Kirie as it is said from her narrative. Initially, Shuichi is the only one who noticed the ominous presence of spirals. After the death of both his parents, he starts sensing the dangers that these spirals pose as well as those corrupted by them.
The creepiest episodes in Uzumaki deal with a lot of uneasy emotions led by even more uneasy events. The following article contains gruesome descriptions from the Uzumaki manga and contains mentions of sensitive topics like death and cannibalism. If you find these topics triggering, we would recommend you stop scrolling further.
10. Twisted Souls
Amidst the 20 episodes of Uzumaki, Twisted Souls prepares itself discreetly. At first, it’s a tragic love story of two lovers. Kazunorie and Yoriko live in the ruins of Kurouzu-cho. They are constantly told to leave each other, but their hearts do not agree and crave to stay together. So, the two often run away together but also get caught by their families. On a similar day, they notice two snakes tangled, which marks the first sign that the influence of the spiral has begun. However, the creepiest part of this episode is that in an attempt to be inseparable, the couple twists themselves like the snake and goes into the lake, never to be seen again.
9. The Black Lighthouse
The Lighthouse in the town of Kurouzu-cho has been long abandoned. This is why people are absolutely surprised when it suddenly starts beaming with a sharp ray. However, ever since the lighthouse started swirling its light, the people of the town started doing weird things. While they think they are moving forward, they keep moving around in circles. Kirie’s brother enters the lighthouse so she follows. It is here that the actual creepy journey begins. While going up the lighthouse, Kirie finds eerie spiral drawings on the walls. Going further up, she discovers the completely incinerated bodies of about five people who had been inside the lighthouse before them. Even the thought of being up a deadly lighthouse is sure to instigate fear into the minds of the readers.
8. Jack in the Box
The title ‘Jack in the Box’ comes from Mitsuru Yamaguchi’s constant habit of jumping out and surprising people. He was deeply interested in Kirie, to an extent of jumping in front of a car to prove his love and claim her. Things do not go his way, and he (obviously) dies. The manga panel illustrated of him being completely run over by a car indefinitely make it one of the creepiest episodes in Uzumaki. But wait because it gets worse. Mitsuru’s corpse returns to haunt Kirie. To resolve this matter, Kirie and Shuichi decide to stab his corpse with a stake. They succeed after some very graphic events.
Towards the end, it is revealed that his body was so badly battered in the accident that the car’s suspension had become impossible to remove thus the body was buried with it.
7. The Scar
The Scar would leave one wondering what’s going on for a long time. Stories like this are hard to process for their unbelievable events yet chilling outcomes. The story mixes the notions of vanity and obsession and creates something absolutely bizarre. Kirie’s new friend is Azami Kurotani, a beautiful girl who would not budge for any romance. Although many boys ask her out, she refuses them all. With so much popularity, a lot of rumors surround her, the most popular one being that she gets the power to seduce boys due to the scar on her forehead. When Azami finds out that Kirie has a boyfriend, she demands to meet Shuichi.
However, the meeting goes awfully wrong as Shuichi is completely repulsed by her and claims that she is corrupted by the spirals. Having never known rejection, Azami gets obsessed with Shuichi and would visit his house at odd times while he keeps his door shut. Things get freakier as the scar on her forehead turns into a spiral. She crosses all limits by tricking Shuichi to come out, but strangely, the spiral in her forehead grows all over her body and ends up consuming her. Azami is never seen again.
6. The House
This is by far one of the creepiest episodes in Uzumaki where the substance of fear used is something as common as a skin disease. While skin diseases can be repulsive, they have never come off as something one would be fearful of– that is, until they read this horrifying episode from Junji Ito’s well-known manga. After a massive hurricane, Kirie and her family move to a row house since their house gets destroyed. The new house has many shortcomings but the family compromises and adjusts with it. However, the actual problem occurs behind the walls, literally. Their neighbor, Wakabayashi, would peep at Kirie through a peephole.
Stalking is the last thing to worry about in Junji Ito’s Uzumaki. The family encounters a skin disease that grows wart-like abnormalities all over their body. While they suffer from pain, the wall with the peephole breaks and they see a horrified sight of Wakabayashi completely covered in the same wart-like growths. Because such skin infections are not so uncommon, The House sends the chills down the spine on a very personal level.
5. The Umbilical Cord
All episodes in Uzumaki are bizarre, but some are especially capable of keeping their readers up all night. The Umbilical Cord, in our experience, was just the type. While the ending was terrifying, the proceeding events are equally nightmarish. After several pregnant ladies give birth, the babies that are born are very suspicious. Kirie’s cousin gives birth to a boy named Mariko. At the same time, the hospital starts serving a new type of mushroom. The patients start loving it so much that they start showing a hint of addiction to it. Kirie starts doubting the new food and does not eat it. She ends up walking to the infant’s ward, where she discovers that the new mushrooms are actually grown out of the babies’ tummies. But wait, because it gets worse.
Kirie runs to see her sister, but her ward is filled with the same mushrooms. Dr Kawamoto makes and appears and reveals that these are not mushrooms but placenta grown from the umbilical cords. Furthermore, he had just performed surgery on Kirie’s sister and put the baby back into her womb because that’s where they love being the most. The entire episode is messed up at every turn and definitely one of the creepiest episodes in Uzumaki.
4. The Snail
Snails can barely ever be scary. They are slow and slimy. The most negative one can feel for them is the feeling of disgust. To be completely honest, snails still don’t creep us out, but this particular episode from Uzumaki introduced us to a whole bunch of nerve-wracking emotions. Kirie had a very strange classmate who only showed up during the rain. Katayama, the classmate in the discussion, is slightly overweight and slow. Their other classmate, Tsumura, often bullied him. After they lose a match, Tsumura blames Katayama. As punishment, he strips him off all his clothes and drags him in the school’s corridors. They soon notice a spiral on his back.
In the forthcoming days, Katayama’s back starts swelling like a snail’s shell until one day he transforms into a snail. Once again, things get worse. The school puts up a fence and keeps the transformed Katayama on the ground. Tsumura continues to bully him through the fence until he too grows a shell and turns into a huge snail. The school now has both snails within its bounds. One day, the students witness the two snails mating, and a few days later, the two escape by burrowing through the ground. At a distance, their eggs are found.
3. The Spiral Obsession I
Perhaps it’s because this was the first episode in the manga that it manages to make a huge impact. Uzumaki starts very strong, with the very first episode testing the willpower of the readers to continue reading the story ahead. In the very first episode, we are introduced to the main characters, Kirie and Shuichi. Shuichi’s father had recently been very obsessed with spirals. The obsession grows to a point where he would get lost looking at them. When his wife tells him to snap out of the obsession, he goes berserk. But once he calms down, he claims that he no longer wants to spiral objects, for he can become a spiral. Saying so, he starts moving his eyes in a spiral motion, frightening everybody.
A few days later Shūichi’s father dies. Although Shuichi and his mother tell everyone that he died from falling down the stairs, the truth is that he actually died in the most disturbing way possible. In an attempt to become a spiral, he twisted his body in a tub completely, crushing his bones. This revelation is followed by a gruesome illustration of a twisted corpse with gouged-out eyes. In his funeral, a cloud that is shaped like his corpse appears, making things even eerier. From the best first chapter, Junji Ito’s art style gives these creepiest episodes in Uzumaki an aura of omen.
2. The Labyrinth
While the first episode did freak us out, the end did the same job ten times better. Towards the end, in the episode titled The Labyrinth, the supernatural forces need a very little hand at making things gory and scary. Following a huge hurricane, people discover that for some mysterious reason, the only houses that the wind cannot destroy are the row houses. So, a population of 6000 began taking shelter in the row houses to save themselves. They expand these row houses by connecting them all together, but it’s still not enough to house all the people. They are all cramped up together and at some point, they get tangled with each other.
It’s already terrifying to watch thousands of people stuck to each other, but it’s even more terrifying when occasionally these tangled bunch would discard the corpses of those who had died from suffocation. No one came out due to their fear of storms. So while they stay stuck within the house, the streets are filled with the stench of corpses.
The episode of the snails was awful, but there’s an even escalated version of the same that comes later in the manga. However, the snails are not what will give you nightmares this time but the people. The entire episode is a scroll through hell, gaining it first place in the list of the creepiest episodes in Uzumaki. Following the big hurricane, the people of Kurouzu-cho face the hard consequences of a calamity. They are robbed of houses, resources, food, safety, and so much more. Furthermore, more people get transformed into snails, who are now called ‘mollusc people’. Anyone slow gets caught up by the spiral and gets transformed.
Facing a food crisis, people have now started consuming these molluscs people. In fact, no one cares if they used to be their friends or colleagues. At a particular incident, a group of people ties up their friend who starts growing a shell. They wait readily for his transformation to eat him. Once he is transformed, his friends eat him raw.
A lot of things happen in the Uzumaki manga that is questionable. Going through it at once is definitely not recommended for it contains many graphic illustrations. You can find the Uzumaki manga on Viz Media.