Akihabara’s own Mandarake Complex has teamed up with internationally popular mangaka Junji Ito to create a small line of merchandise based on his best selling comic Uzumaki. Included in the line features three shirts featuring well-curated art that covers the entire front. Also included is a backpack printed with manga panels from the part of Uzumaki when the main character’s hair starts to turn into a spiral. We also get a full-color wallet-style phone case that shows the main characters being dissolved into the spiral.
Both the shirts and the bag have maintained the classic black-and-white style seen in the physical manga. I think that the small lines and precise shading that Ito utilizes, combined with your typical black-and-white manga panel coloring, is what makes his unique style so recognizable.
We’ve actually seen quite a lot of official Junji Ito merchandise release over the past few years, released through a variety of partners and stores. One of my favorite pieces I’ve seen features a full color, all over print image of Junji’s reoccurring character Souichi with nails in his mouth. As I’m sure we all know, quite a large handful of third-party indie designers often release their own merchandise featuring Ito’s characters, but if I’m honest, they’re some of the more powerful pieces in the guro merchandise game. While I’m appreciative of officially released merchandise that supports the original artist, a lot of the shirts, minus the Hot Topic collaboration, feature a lot of the same art from manga panels.
Junji’s popularity seems to be continually growing at a steady rate, especially over the past couple of years. I feel like it’s sort of rare for a horror mangaka from the late ’90s to be seeing such consistent success internationally. But, as a horror/guro fan, I feel happy that he’s still working hard and getting recognition.
You can either purchase the merchandise from Mandarake online or at the physical Mandarake Complex location in the heart of Akihabara.