Uzumaki’s First Look: Jun Ito’s Masterful Depiction of Horror Through Spirals

Uzumaki (うずまき) translates to Spiral.
Published On July 29, 2023

Uzumaki depicts a town that initially seems to exude a sense of gloom, but things quickly escalate as a literal eye-turning curse comes to light. Video by Adult Swim

Jun Ito’s Uzumaki has been on many waitlists for nearly 4 years, as fans of the horror maestro have eagerly awaited another anime adaptation, even if “Japanese Tales of the Macabre” just came out earlier this year.

A new clip from Uzumaki was revealed at the Adult Swim Festival 2023, and it was a fantastic depiction of nightmare-inducing spirals.

What’s it about: Uzumaki follows the teenage high-school couple of Kirie Goshima and Shuichi Saito, and is set in the town of Korouzu-cho — which has come down with a supernatural curse that channels through spiral patterns, driving those who witness them insane.

  • Uzumaki leaves the understanding of these spirals upon its audience, and it may depict a “downward spiral,” relate the shape to hypnotic states, or explain the convoluted nature of the curse — one that affects the fabric of reality itself.
  • Ito’s distinct, gory style comes to life with the anime, and the lack of color and shading just adds an eerie detail to the whole show — making everything seem in a trance, devoid of life.

Details: Uzumaki is being produced by Adult Swim, and will join its Toonami programming block sometime later this year, confirmed Jason DeMarco, Senior VP of Action and Anime at Warner Bros. Discovery.

  • Originally announced in 2019, Uzumaki was slated to air in 2020, but multiple delays led to it landing a 2023 release date.
  • The anime will be spread across four episodes, but it hasn’t been announced if it will be a weekly drop or if all episodes would be available at the premiere.

Part of Jun Ito’s appeal lies in the disturbing concepts that the mangaka pushes onto the victims, forcing your brain to dwell on the harrowing reality that tragedy can strike anyone at any moment, whether they seem deserving or not.

  • Ito’s art style exudes a sense of fatalism that creates a dizzying atmosphere, keeping the reader on edge in all the right ways – precisely what you’d want from nightmare-inducing stories.
  • The Netflix anthology “Jun Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre” adapted 20 of Ito’s stories across 12 episodes, and the series progressively picks up horrifying tales to show Ito’s distinct style of depicting agony in a way that makes you turn your head away.
  • Previous adaptations of Ito’s work haven’t had a lack of stories to tell, but all have ended up seeming rushed, fitting too many stories into too small a “season,” which makes the pacing of Uzumaki a clear point of interest.

What’s next: Besides Ito’s return, Adult Swim also revealed a preview of another original anime, Lazarus, directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, the creator of Cowboy Bebop, with action sequences created by John Wick director Chad Stahelski.