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Uzumaki - What We Know So Far

Japanese horror has always held a substantial grip on the imaginations of people worldwide. Films like "The Ring" and "The Grudge," as popular as they are in the west, trace their origins back to the Land of the Rising Sun. But even among those iconic works, one artist reigns supreme in the realm of Japanese horror. Manga author Junji Ito has been praised time and again for his mastery in striking fear into the hearts of his readers. He's even been called the Cronenberg of Japanese manga by fans on Reddit. Ito's beautifully revolting illustrations and spine-chilling narratives have left a major mark on the world of manga, and they're about to do the same to the world of animation with the upcoming adaptation of his 1998 manga series, "Uzumaki."

Animated by Drive and set to debut on Adult Swim's Toonami, the four-episode "Uzumaki" miniseries aims to give further life to Ito's work. Teaser clips shared by the show's creators show a faithful interpretation of Ito's art style, something which is sure to excite longtime fans of the mangaka. Even with these teasers, however, there is still much to discover regarding the release date, characters, and plot of "Uzumaki." Here's what we know so far.

When will Uzumaki release?

The "Uzumaki" anime was first announced back in 2019, with an original release date set for sometime in 2020 (via Polygon). As with many projects across the world, however, "Uzumaki" faced serious production delays in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"COVID had a huge impact on our anime industry in Japan," said series director Hiroshi Nagahama in a June 2021 update. "Especially for our 'Uzumaki' production, it had a huge impact. ... It's also true that we had to restructure our plan from the start. But it's definitely starting to come together."

In the wake of these issues, the creators of "Uzumaki" have opted to delay the anime's release further. Currently, the show is slated to release in October 2022. Aside from the anime's horrific story itself, this turn of events might be the scariest thing to ever happen when it comes to Junji Ito's work, at least as far as fans are concerned. There is some sense of comfort to be found, however, in knowing that Drive hasn't abandoned "Uzumaki" yet.

Who are the characters in Uzumaki?

The story of "Uzumaki" is very contained, focusing on only a few key characters. This makes sense, given that it will only span four episodes. Even so, that makes discussing the few characters that do exist all the more important. At the center of our spiraling story are two people, Kirie Goshima (Uki Satake) and Shuichi Saito (Shinichiro Miki), a pair of average students who begin struggling with the strange, spiral-themed curse that befalls their small town of Kurouzu-cho (via Anime News Network). As the protagonists, these two serve as guides down the winding and terrifying path that is "Uzumaki."

However, these two would be nothing if they did not have other characters to play off of. Kurouzu-cho has much more to offer than just two students. From Kirie's father (Toshio Furukawa), to Shuichi's parents (Takashi Matsuyama and Mika Doi as mother and father, respectively), and many more, "Uzumaki" takes a deep dive into the horrors that befall this small Japanese town.

What is the story of Uzumaki?

As it was in the manga, the "Uzumaki" anime focuses on a series of strange events that take place in a single, cursed town called Kurouzo-cho. The anime's protagonists, Kirie and Shuichi, are two average high school students who become acutely aware of the spiral-themed curse early on. They witness the townspeople of Kurouzo-cho become increasingly focused on spirals, and they even suffer the effects of the curse themselves as time passes on.

The horror in this case stems from the struggle between average people and supernatural forces that seem beyond their control. The spiral curse of Kurouzo-cho is entirely enigmatic and unknowable, and the fear becomes palpable as viewers will witness the heroes try to make sense of something which they can't understand. Unfortunately, whether or not these two survive the curse and escape its effects is a question that will remain unanswered until "Uzumaki" releases next October.