The tunnel in Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre explained

In the second episode of Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre, Goro tries to rescue his sister, who finds herself drawn to the mysterious tunnel where their mother died. The anime series is now streaming on Netflix.

In Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre, Goro’s friends want to discover what lies in the middle of the tunnel in their town when they hear the story of the mysterious tunnel.

Goro’s mother died by suicide in the same tunnel when she stood in the path of a train that used to pass through it. Goro witnessed her death, but he never went back to the tunnel until his friends took him there. 

The group keeps heading inside and notices the scratch marks all over the walls of the tunnel. The marks cover the high ceiling as well, which humans cannot reach. Goro’s friends get scared and run away when they see someone walking towards them, leaving him alone.

Does Goro’s father disappear in the tunnel?

Goro comes face to face with his sister, Mari, after his friends run away. When Goro questions her, a frightened Mari reveals that she does not remember coming to the tunnel.

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Mari develops a fever and is kept at home. Goro’s father tells him that it is believed that the tunnel has a way of luring people. This turns out to be true because, even though she is sick, Mari goes missing the next day.

Goro’s father goes looking for her but never returns. This prompts Goro to go to the tunnel to find his father and sister. He finds their footprints in the snow, along with his father’s flashlight, indicating that they have been there.

In the middle of the tunnel, contrary to what his friends had claimed, Goro comes across the Cosmic Ray Observatory, where researchers study cosmic rays. He finds Mari with the researchers, and once again, she does not remember anything.

The researchers help him look for his father, but to no avail. One of them notices a drop of blood on Goro’s cheek, but Goro is not injured. They ask the siblings to go back home and wait for their father to return.

The ghosts in the tunnel

When Mari keeps getting drawn to the tunnel, the researchers ask Goro to take her to live with their relatives until their father returns. They also complain about their research being a mess because the data is all over the place for some inexplicable reason. 

They discuss how they feel fatigued when they come to the tunnel. They find something strange in the photograph they took — invisible figures that resemble humans but are not humans; they pass through humans like an X-ray.

Junji Ito Maniac Japanese Tales of the Macabre
The ghosts are first seen in the photograph

They decide to close the observatory and leave the tunnel for good. However, that does not last long, as they all feel drawn to the tunnel and find themselves unwillingly going there.

Goro gets a call from them, telling him something terrible is happening in the tunnel. Goro rushes there to find Mari and the researchers getting killed by invisible forces. They are pulled into the ground and the walls, leaving behind nothing except their blood.

When Goro tries to prevent his sister from getting pulled into the ground, his hand passes through her as if she has become one of the ghosts.

With everyone dead, Goro tries to escape, but the ghosts become visible to him then. They become visible to a person right before the tunnel claims their life.

Junji Ito Maniac Japanese Tales of the Macabre
The ghosts become visible to Goro, an indication of his death

He finds himself getting tired and cannot escape them anymore; Goro helplessly watches his own death, as his body gets pulled into the ground to become one of the ghosts that are seen chasing him.

The final scene explains the scratch marks in the tunnel. They were probably left behind by helpless people at the time of their death. The drop of blood on Goro’s cheek was from his father’s hanging body, which Goro had failed to notice in the darkness.

Goro lost his whole family to the tunnel that lures and traps people. While Ito’s original story did not end with Goro dying with the researchers and his sister, in the anime, Goro comes to save Mari and becomes one of the victims of the tunnel.

Also Read: Who is Tomie Kawakami? Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre character explained