‘Junji Ito Maniac’ Episode 1: The Strange Hikizuri Siblings – Recap And Ending, Explained

The Japanese horror maestro Junji Ito is an artistic genius for many horror fans across the world. From his brilliant manga mind, we’ve received an anthology series from Netflix of some of his most pulse-pounding thriller stories in the form of anime. Unfortunately, seasoned fans will find the animation rather bland in comparison to the brilliantly vile mangas, but for those who are new to Ito’s work and would like to explore the bizarre nature of his creations, it could be a small step to facing your fears. Episode 1 takes its inspiration from Ito’s collection; The Circus is here. “The Bizarre Hikizuri Siblings” or “The strange Hikizuri siblings” (which also incorporates some bits from “The second daughter’s Lover”) is a family drama tinged with an eerie shade of dark, adding paranormal activity and seances to a common tale of sibling rivalry.

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Spoilers Ahead


What Happens In The First Episode Of ‘Junji Ito Maniac’?

“The strange Hikizuri siblings” opens with a woman’s body burning in a graveyard while a family of onlookers observes. The family includes a serious-looking oldest brother- Kazuya; a blue-lipped oldest sister- Kinaki; a strange middle brother- Shigoro; a beautiful middle sister- Narumi; a silent little brother, Hitoshi; and an always energetic little sister, Misako. Their parents are dead, and the family has a huge home and inheritance, meaning they don’t have to work at all. Kazuya is keen on making a good impression on the younger siblings and pretends to go to work every day, only to relax next to a lake nearby. One day, he comes across a woman taking pictures there and approaches her. She tells him she’s taking “spirit pictures” because a lot of children have drowned at that lake. Kazuya claims he’s interested in the paranormal, and his home has some spirits too, inviting her over to take some pictures. The woman, Sachiyo, reluctantly agrees. At home, Sachiyo is met by a strange Shigoro, putting her off and leading to her leaving their home soon.

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At dinner that night, little Misako is terribly sad and makes a fuss because she misses their parents. Since none of the older siblings wants to console her, they make Hitoshi do it instead. Being furious and uncontrollable, Misako scratches his face. Hitoshi, too, begins to cry as a huge argument begins to break out between Kinaki and Shigoro. Seeing how things are, Kazuya decides he wants to conduct a seance so Misako can see their parents. He also tells the siblings he will invite Sachiyo over as a witness. Kinaki goes to invite Sachiyo for the seance. Sachiyo is bewildered because she never told the siblings her address. Kinaki tells her that her brother Kazuya followed her home and asks to be let inside. Kinaki tells Sachiyo of their plan and invites her to the seance. Sachiyo agrees. 

Sachiyo brings her boyfriend Sawano, who is also interested in the paranormal, for the seance, at the displeasure of Kazuya. They begin the seance, and out of the blue, Shigoro begins to vomit ectoplasm. Everybody is astonished as he finishes throwing up. He then begins to talk differently, being “possessed” by his father, Gozo. Gozo calls out Kazuya for lying to the family and wasting away his time without taking care of his siblings. He also says Kazuya cannot be the head of the family anymore, and for this reason, Shigoro must take over and take care of the rest. Kazuya is absolutely devastated and smashes his father’s grave with a rock in frustration. Mannerless Shigoro then takes over as the “head of the family” and begins to mistreat his siblings, and Kazuya just stands there limp. Shigoro claims the ectoplasm will convert into their mother, too, if Misako just waits for a bit. Misako is frustrated and continues to make a scene, causing them to make the decision to do another seance. In the meanwhile, we find out that Sachiyo had a piece of evidence from the ectoplasm, courtesy of her boyfriend. At home, they are discussing the results when Kazuya drops by. What did they find, and what happens in the end?

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‘The Strange Hikizuri Siblings’ Ending Explained – What Was The Result Of The Seance?

At Sachiyo’s, Kazuya finds out that the ectoplasm was actually wheat flour, and the whole thing was a charade put on by Shigoro. Shigoro was clearly frustrated by the constant taunting of his elder brother Kazuya. He also took great advantage of his other siblings after pretending to be Gozo, making him the most narcissistic of the lot. Sachiyo tells Kazuya she doesn’t want to see any more fake seances, and he leaves. At home, in the middle of the seance, Kazuya grabs Shigoro by the collar, telling him that his biggest mistake in the ordeal was that he forgot the fact that Kazuya had never been afraid of their father. Shigoro apologizes, and all of a sudden, there is something strange happening with Hitoshi. He opens his mouth, and this time actual ectoplasm comes out of him. It is a golden-yellow substance that expands and expands until it becomes a huge cloud with their father’s face. It turns out Hitoshi was actually the median. The cloud engulfs the room, and the siblings begin to scream and run from the room. The ectoplasm follows them all out of the home and finally ends up entering the father’s grave, proving to them that it was truly Gozo’s spirit. While Hitoshi seemed more normal than the other siblings, he was the most attuned to the spiritual world; this was even displayed in the picture Sachiyo took of him, in which he was surrounded by many spirits. In the end, it seems Gozo showed up because he wanted the siblings to stop fighting and come together. The first episode is light, and we are hoping the scare factor rises as we go further into the “Japanese tales of the macabre” of Junji Ito.


Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika, or "Ru," is a fashion designer and stylist by day and a serial binge-watcher by night. She dabbles in writing when she has the chance and loves to entertain herself with reading, K-pop dancing, and the occasional hangout with friends.

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