Japanese “horror master” Junji Ito bags awards at the 2021 Eisner Awards

Written by: Allysa Malicdem | Published on: July 24, 2021 at 6:14 PM PHT (GMT+8)

The 2021 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards Coverage | (c) Comic-Con
The 2021 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards | (c) Comic-Con

Japanese author Junji Ito received commendations and awards for his literary work entitled ‘Remina (Hellstar Remina)’ during the 33rd Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards held on Saturday at the United States via a virtual platform.

The space-horror manga ‘Remina’ won Best US Edition of International Material-Asia. His collection titled ‘Junji Ito Short Editing BEST OF BEST’ also scored an award in the said ceremony. Ito won Best Writer/Artist for ‘Remina’ and ‘Venus in the Blind Spot’ (one of his works featured in the collection). Both his works are distributed by VIZ Media.

See the full list of nominees and awardees per category here.


Ito has made history as the first Japanese artist to receive two simultaneous awards for another work in the same year. It was recalled that Ito won the Eisner Award for his manga adaptation of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein" in 2019.


Comment from Junji Ito:

This time, I was awarded the American Eisner Award for the English versions of "Hellstar Remina" and "Junji Ito Short Editing BEST OF BEST", and it seems like a dream. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all the readers who supported us and to the support of American VIZ Media for publishing with wonderful translations and bindings. And above all, I wouldn't have won this award without the help of Shogakukan, who has been indebted to me since I serialized "Uzumaki" in "Big Comic Spirits" in 1998.
"Hellstar Remina", which won the Eisner Award this time, is a work that started from the idea of Mr. Ichiro Nakakuma, who was in charge of "Uzumaki". "How about the next series about the stars that eat the stars, Mr. Ito !?" While flirting with this strange idea, I drew it with my own knowledge of science (pseudoscience), and then the book was designed by Yukio Hoshino.
"Junji Ito Short Editing BEST OF BEST" is a collection of one-shots written by Shogakukan. Under the direction of Mr. Tatsumi Kato, who is in charge, the book was designed by Keisuke Kinohara of Rocket Bomb and made into an elaborate and luxurious book.
I will continue to do my best with the fact that these two works, which I am very fond of, have been evaluated in the United States.
Once again, I would like to thank all the people involved in creating the Japanese and English versions, as well as the readers who supported me. This time, thank you very much.

Remina (Hellstar Remina) was serialized in the weekly Japanese seinen manga magazine published by Shogakukan, Big Comic Spirits, from September 2004 to July 2005. It was published in a single tankōbon volume, which was released in Japan on 2015. In 2020, VIZ Media licensed the series for English publication and released the volume on December 15, 2020.

Remina 2005 cover
Remina 2005 cover

VIZ Media describes the story of Remina as:

An unknown planet emerges from inside a wormhole, and its discoverer, Dr. Oguro, christens the body “Remina” after his own daughter. His finding is met with great fanfare, and Remina herself rises to fame. However, the object picks up speed as it moves along in its curious course, eliminating planets and stars one after another, until finally Earth itself faces extinction… Is the girl Remina the true cause of the catastrophe?

WHO IS JUNJI ITO?

Japanese horror mangaka Junji Ito
Japanese horror mangaka Junji Ito

Born in Gifu Prefecture, Japan in 1963, Ito was inclined to writing at a young age, having taken inspiration from his older sister's drawing and the works of Kazuo Umezu (known for his award-winning horror manga, 'The Drifting Classroom'). He took an interest in and indulge himself to drawing horror comics. Apart from Kazuo Umezu, he also cited Hideshi Hino, Shinichi Koga, Yasutaka Tsutsui, Edogawa Ranpo and H. P. Lovecraft as his major influences.

The imagery he depicts in his works is often cruel and capricious. His characters are often portrayed as victims of malevolent unnatural circumstances either for no discernible reason or punished out of proportion against an idiopathic and unfathomable natural order. Some of his themes include jealousy, envy, “ordinary” characters acting out of irrational compulsion, the breakdown of society and the inevitability of one's demise. His ability to create a visual illusion through a realistic and simple design, to add the emphasis on the contrast between beauty and death, is indeed remarkable. The plot and development are quite unpredictable and violent.


Some of his most notable works include ‘Tomie’, inspired by the death of one of his classmates; ‘Uzumaki’; and ‘Gyo’, brought to life by his anti-war feelings developed from his parents’ tragic and frightening war stories.


UPDATES:


Just recently, an anime adaptation of Junji Ito’s ‘Uzumaki’ manga series is under the pipes. A teaser has been released last June. Studio Drive is in-charge of the animation with Hiroshi Nagahama as the director. The director explained more about the anime’s production delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The said series was originally slated for the 2021 release and is now scheduled to premiere in October of this year.


Uzumaki is a horror manga, first published in 1988. It consists of three (3) volumes of 19 chapters. The manga’s licensing was under VIZ Media.

Sources: Comic Natalie | Comic-Con

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