In the first episode of Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre, a séance held by the Hikizuri siblings changes their family dynamics. The anime series is now streaming on Netflix.
The Hikizuri family comprises six siblings, whose parents are no more. The siblings are an odd bunch, and they occupy a rather creepy mansion that somehow suits their family.
The oldest sibling, Kazuya, who is also the head of the family, is greatly respected by his five younger siblings, as they believe he is the breadwinner. In reality, he spends his days lazing around because the family inheritance is enough to feed them all.
On one such lazy afternoon, he meets Sachiyo, a spirit photographer. To impress her, he invites her to his family mansion, which has a strange aura, to take photographs.
Kazuya makes all the decisions on behalf of the family, and his siblings do as he says. When he decides to hold a séance, a meeting where living beings try to contact the dead through a medium, his siblings do not protest.
The first séance
Kazuya needs an excuse to invite Sachiyo over once again. He finds the perfect excuse when his youngest sister, Misako, creates a scene. He tells his siblings that they would summon the spirits of their dead parents to give Misako a chance to speak with them.
He believes he has dormant spiritual powers, which would enable him to hold the séance and be the medium for his parents’ spirits. A séance needs a witness, and he decides to invite Sachiyo to become theirs.
Sachiyo brings her boyfriend to the séance, which annoys Kazuya. Furthermore, Shigoro, his younger brother, steals the attention once again, as their father chooses him as the medium to speak to his children.
He also pukes what everyone assumes to be ectoplasm, which could be a substance or energy released by the medium.
Their father berates Kazuya for lying to his siblings and appoints Shigoro as the head of the family. An angry Kazuya, who does not hold power over his siblings anymore, destroys his father’s gravestone, and Shigoro misuses his new position by ill-treating his siblings.
Planning the second séance
This time Shigoro wants to hold another séance and use himself as a medium. He asks Kazuya to invite Sachiyo to be their witness. However, this backfires on him.
Sachiyo tells Kazuya that her boyfriend collected a sample of the ectoplasm that Shigoro puked, and he found out that it was not ectoplasm but wheat flour. Kazuya realizes that Shigoro fooled them all.
When an enraged Kazuya tries to attack Shigoro, their youngest brother, Hitoshi, pukes ectoplasm that resembles their father. The giant mass chases all five siblings out of the mansion before burying itself in their father’s grave.
A confused Hitoshi, who is unaware of all that took place, comes out of the house and asks his siblings if something is wrong, terrifying them further.
As the youngest brother, Hitoshi always got the short end of the stick. He had no authority and had to follow his siblings’ orders without arguing with them.
He was abused not only by his violent younger sister, whenever he tried to help her, but also by Shigoro, and no one even batted an eye as if it was a daily occurrence.
He was never a part of the tug-of-war over Sachiyo’s attention and power between his two elder brothers and yet Hitoshi gets what they both wanted — he is the chosen medium despite not being present when the séance was held.
Now that his siblings fear him, he might have also gained security, which he previously did not have in his own house.
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