Souichi's Diary of Delights
|Souichi's Diary of Delights|
(Souichi no Tanoshi i Nikki)
|Written by||Junji Ito|
|Published by||Asahi Sonorama|
|Published||November 20, 1995|
Souichi's Diary of Delights (双一の楽しい日記 Souichi no Tanoshi i Nikki?) is the fifth entry to The Junji Ito Horror Collection, a 16 volume anthology of horror stories by Junji Ito. This volume centers around Souichi Tsujii (双一 Tsujii Souichi?), an eccentric oddball of an 11 year old who specializes in voodoo and enjoys causing havoc against various people.
Unlike Ito's other volumes (except the sixth, which also features Souichi), this volume is considerably lighter and contains a touch of black comedy, rather than the usual horror.
Chapter 01: Fun Summer Vacation
The Tsujii family is introduced as a relatively normal household.. until we meet Souichi. The young man is depicted as the black sheep of the family (so to say), and sharply contrasts his athletic older brother, Kouichi, and sociable older sister, Sayuri. Souichi apparently suffers from a rare disease in which he must have a constant source of iron in his blood—as a result, he is almost always seen chewing iron nails in his mouth.
The story begins when his cousins Machina and Yuusuke arrive for a short summer stay. Unfortunately for Machina, she instantly becomes Souichi's target of scare tactics. Antics include Souichi hammering nails onto a doll made to resemble Machina (complete with "Die, Machina!"); Souichi dropping a male voodoo doll into a fish tank that results in Yuusuke almost drowning at a nearby swimming pool; and Souichi, with nails in his mouth, prowling after Machina in an attempt to "suck her blood."
Chapter 02: Fun Winter Vacation
This story takes place in winter, several months after Machina and Yuusuke have returned home. A traveling young woman becomes the new victim to Souichi's pranks. On her way around town during a rapidly growing snowfall, she runs into Souichi and asks him for directions to the nearest motel—he, of course, points her to anywhere but. Eventually, she finds herself walking into an ominous part of the woods where there are voodoo straw dolls nailed onto almost every tree—along with spares on the ground. Unable to resist temptation, she herself hammers a doll on an empty tree—and it is here that Souichi suddenly pops up, screaming "I saw you! I saw you! I saw what you did, and I'm gonna tell everyone!"
He runs off, and she chases after him—big mistake. The poor woman finds herself literally falling into another of Souichi's trap, an icy water puddle. Rather than help her get out of this freezing predicament, Souichi sits down and rejoices: "Freeze to death! Freeze to death! You're gonna freeze to death!"
She climbs out of the puddle before that could happen, but Souichi has apparently accomplished his goal—she begins to lose consciousness. Her last sight was a smirking Souichi, clearly enjoying the fruits of his prank. Luckily for her, Kouichi happened to be in the area, and quickly brings her into the Tsujii household to recover before she really freezes to death—oddly, there is a noticeable 5-holed mark on her neck, as if someone had bitten her with nails.
The terror isn't over, especially after Souichi discovers the fact that his new victim is now in his base of operation. While munching on a frosty ice treat (dipped in a dark red liquid that Souichi claims to be "strawberry syrup"), he overhears her lamenting over a certain "Hirose"—and offers to kill him for her. This is, of course, against the young woman's wishes, and exactly why Souichi asked. Later on, she overhears on the radio that a "Hirose" has been critically injured from the snow storm, with Souichi nearby wondering why "he didn't just die."
Chapter 03: Souichi's Diary of Delights
Takes place months after the last story, and a year after the first. It is summer again, and Machina and Yuusuke return for more punishment. The last time Machina and Souichi met, he attacked her with the intention of "sucking her blood," and she knocked him down—which resulted in the nails in Souichi's mouth impaling his face. Understandably, Machina is wary of seeing her cousin again, but sucks up the courage to do it, anyway.
When the two meet again, she is greeted by a demon-like Souichi—the wounds on his face had become infected, and the infections took form in a set of weaving, tentacle-like drills. Machina is horrified, and Souichi takes advantage—the drills grab her and knocks her onto a wall, which triggers the release of a splatter of goop and mud from the ceiling onto the poor girl. The "drill tentacles" are then torn off of Souichi's face, revealing them to be fake and the whole thing a set up for a prank. "Gotcha! Gotcha! As if these tentacles are real! Hahaha!" Before he is allowed to cause any more damage, Kouichi and Sayuri both overhear the fuss, and Souichi runs off, laughing and prancing about in victory.
Later on, Machina explores Souichi's room—a ghastly space with grotesque furniture and a "prop" dead woman hanging on a rope. She comes across his diary, and reads a couple of entries—almost all of which details in his fascination of Machina and his desire to "suck her blood" or kill her via voodoo. Soon enough, a letter in an envelope drops from the diary. Out of morbid curiosity, and Machina decides to keep it.
The next day, Machina is stalked by Souichi—he already knows what had happened and demands her to return what is rightfully his. Machina ignores him, which prompts Souichi to retaliate by placing an Egyptian curse on her. Soon enough, a mosquito attacks her and bites her face in three places—with the marks similar to the wounds that she had caused Souichi during her summer visit. Machina becomes concerned at this "coincidence," and Souichi—snickering—offers her one last chance to correct her misdeed. He is, again, denied of his letter. "Damn you, Machina... damn you. You're gonna remember tonight for all of eternity... you just wait."
And Souichi delivers. That night, Machina finds the bites on her face to suddenly manifest into tentacle drills—the same ones that Souichi had used to scare her with. Souichi immediately pops up and laughs maniacally. Finally, Machina had enough, and returns Souichi the letter she took from his diary—but not before reading its contents out loud. The letter Souichi has been desperate to retrieve turns out to be a typical love memo he had penned for a classmate: "How are you? I'm doing great! Why? Because every time I look at you, I fall in love. You are so beautiful, and --"
The next day, the curse on Machina's face is lifted, but she'd never forget what she thought she saw that night: the mosquito that bit her had Souichi's head.
Chapter 04: Souichi's Home Tutor
Souichi's elementary teacher from school drops by the residence for a visit, and proposes that he and Souichi spend time together in order to shape the young man into what society deems acceptable. The family is delighted with the idea, but Souichi is not. Nevertheless, he is dragged away by car that morning (to Machina's and everyone else's content)—only to appear back in the house later that night. The teacher returns the next day, again hoping that some social interaction will change Souichi into a proper school boy. A slightly different method is also deployed—instead of driving Souichi away, the teacher opts to study with him in the Tsujii household.
Strangely, Souichi begins to grow attached to his teacher day by day—and in turn, the teacher's health begins to deteriorate. Machina becomes worried, and speaks with the teacher to get him out of there before it's too late. The teacher refuses, however, but asks her if she knew of something—anything—that could potentially set Souichi on the right social path. She, of course, suggests setting up Souichi on a date with the girl in his love note.
The "date" goes horribly wrong. She berates him, and demands that he stop wasting their teacher's time. Not responding well to her lashing, Souichi spits a nail at her, which lands into her left arm. She screams out in pain, catching the attention of her teacher, Machina, and Kouichi. By the time they arrive, Souichi's already jumped into the attic. The teacher climbs in after him—and it is here that he meets his mannequin counterpart, stitched by Souichi for the sole purpose of absorbing his life-force.
Waiting downstairs, Kouichi and Machina began to worry when the rumbling grew eerily quiet—until Souichi descends from above—alone. They demand to know where the teacher is, hoping nothing has happened. And they get their answer—except, the teacher that is climbing out of the attic appears strangely robotic, with a couple of nails in his mouth.
Chapter 05: Mannequin Teachers
The next day in class, the teacher walks in, and everybody could tell something was "off"—especially with how buddy-buddy he's grown with established class oddball, Souichi. Eventually, a female teacher is replaced with a voodoo mannequin, and three students—the class president, the popular girl (from last chapter), and a mutual friend—must now uncover the truth behind the whole thing.
In one scene, Souichi is confronted by the class president, who insists that he must have done something to the teachers—he's right, but Souichi finds entertainment value in causing disarray among his peers, so why stop here? Soon enough, Souichi makes his escape by climbing over a fence, with an unrelenting class president inching after. He barely grabs a hold of Souichi's pants, and it results in the voodoo child's bare behind to be exposed to everyone near the scene. That night, a peeved Souichi plots his revenge: "There's a high price to pay for looking at my ass.. I'm gonna make you pay. You're gonna pay! I put a curse on you!"
The class president walks into class the next day.. and there's a full man's beard on his face. This causes him to become the new subject of sensation, especially with their mannequin teacher. Chaos begins to manifest all over the place, and now a third mannequin has made its debut—this time, it is modelled after the class president. Sadly, the demonic puppets all backfire on Souichi, as he finds himself the target of the very same mannequin he created to replace the teacher with. Souichi ends up in the same predicament from a day ago—his attempt at crawling over another fence has led to the mannequin teacher to grab a handful of his shorts—and his butt is once again exposed. Horrified, Souichi screams "LET GO!"—every mannequin drops dead at their master's command.
Chapter 06: Souichi's Birthday
It is Machina's birthday, and the Tsujii household is having a small, but warming party for her. Souichi isn't at the dinner table, but pops up from the attic—and strangely, he asks: "Who blew out the candles already?" A second later, the Tsujii family recalls that the day also happened to be Souichi's birthday—he was born on June 6, at precisely 6:06 and 6 seconds. The family offers him a seat at the table, but Souichi refuses. Rather than trying to convince him, they decide to proceed celebrating Machina's birthday. This does not bode well for Souichi, and he tries various ways to rain on their good time—jumping up and down on the attic to send lint and dust onto the cake; tripping Kouichi head-first into the cake; etc.
Later on, it is revealed that Souichi adored his grandmother before she died. Granny Tsujii herself wasn't quite right in the head, either, as she would have delusions about Souichi being a part of a set of twins. It certainly didn't help that Souichi did everything he could to encourage this deranged fantasy—as a toddler, he would call out his twin brother, or randomly "talk" to him when other family members were around.
As you'd come to expect, Machina is again the victim of Souichi's wrath—she is suddenly strangled by what appears to be the spirits of Granny Tsujii and Souichi's twin brother. As she cries for help (with no avail; Yuusuke is sleeping several feet away but does not hear her), Souichi overhears the commotion and grins. "Heh heh, that'll teach you to have a birthday party without me." He nonchalantly walks past her bedroom and into his own room—and to his surprise, he finds a piece of Machina's birthday cake sitting on his desk. At that point, the incarnations of Granny Tsujii and Souichi's 'twin' disappear all of a sudden—and we hear Souichi munching on the cake. "Man, this is the nastiest cake I have ever tasted. Yuck."