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Flesh-Colored Horror is listed as the 3rd in the Junji Ito Horror Comic Collection and published by ComicsOne. The table of contents lists all the stories as originally appearing in Halloween (magazine) a monthly manga magazine produced by Asahi Sonorama (朝日ソノラマ, Asahi Sonorama?), a Japanese manga, book, and magazine publishing company.

Long Hair In The Attic

  • Originally appeared in "Monthly Magazine Halloween" November 1988
The story begins with a car screeching to a halt outside of the Amano house. A young woman sits in the car silently as her (ex)boyfriend (Hiratsuka) tells her to stop calling him because their relationship is over. He mentions her making big changes for him - her style of dress, perfume, growing her hair long - that he liked at first, but that the girl - Chiemi Amano - needs a more sincere guy and he's more into one night stands. She quietly says goodbye and gets out. The car zooms off.
Chiemi walks inside and is greeted by her sister, Eri, who tells her that there are rats in the house, right above her room. Chiemi seems distant and inattentive as she goes to her room. Eri comes in to ask about the rats, and Chiemi says their father needs to set up more traps.
A flash downstairs to Eri telling their father that Chiemi is home but seems depressed, then back upstairs where Chiemi is burning a picture of the formerly happy couple at the ocean. She flashes back to her, with short cropped hair, and Hiratsuka telling her she should grow it out to about waist length. Back to the present she laughs about how selfish he was even then and begins to sob.
Chiemi wakes in the morning to find a dead rat tangled in her long black hair. After a small freak out, she washes out her hair and decides to cut her hair. She asks her sister to get scissors and help her, but as Eri asks their mother for the scissors Chiemi screams from the other room. Eri runs back to Chiemi and finds that she has been decapitated and her head cannot be found. Neighbors come and call the police, Mrs. Amano faints, and Eri sits screaming in the hallway about rats biting her sister's head off.
Flash to a week later. Hiratsuka, half asleep, gets what he thinks is a prank call from Chiemi. A strange grinding noise comes over the phone, and then hangs up. Waking up a little more, he realizes that Chiemi has been dead for over a week and reminisces about how emotionless Chiemi was towards him. He then realizes that the noise over the phone reminds him of the sound Chiemi would make at night when she was grinding her teeth. Then the phone rings again.
Back at the Amano house, Eri asks her dad for a flashlight. She says she wants to go check the rat traps in the attic since she hasn't heard them lately and he offers to go with her. He goes up with the flashlight first, but when he doesn't come back down or answer her calls, Eri goes up after him. She find him dead - face frozen in terror - staring at Chiemi's head which has suspended itself from the rafters of the attic. Eri tries to get her sister down by pulling at the hair but the hair cuts into her hands. Eri turns to go get scissors and the hair - opening Chiemi's eyes and grinding her teeth - makes a break for it, crawling out of the attic and down through the house. The last scene shows Hiratsuka in his house where black strands of hair are coming in through cracks in the ceiling and breaking through the walls while he begs for it to stop.

Approval

  • Originally appeared in "Monthly Magazine Halloween" May 1991
The story starts with a young couple, Misuzu and Kyosuke, at Misuzu's home. Her father is denying them permission to marry and it's obviously not the first time. He says that Misuzu already has another marriage proposal, and turns to his son Setsuo and tells him to explain why Kyosuke isn't an acceptable match. Setsuo explains that Kyosuke is just a low class got (as in not wealthy) and wouldn't be able to make Misuzu happy. The father then throws Kyosuke out.
On the street Kyosuke says that he's tried everything, and that eloping is the only way for them to be together. But he knows Misuzu isn't that brave, so they can no longer be together. Misuzu weakly asks 'Goodbye?' and he says yes, if she still wants her father's consent that it is over.
The next scene shows Kyosuke at his job in a dental office. (He looks like he's making dentures.) He laments on how patient he was for nothing, and how he won't see Misuzu anymore. His thinking distracts him from work, but his kindly coworker, Yuko, brings him back. He offers Yuko a ride, they get to talking over dinner, and Kyosuke thinks he's starting to like Yuko as they make plans for another date.
A period of time passes and Kyosuke is greeted outside his car by Misuzu's older brother, Setsuo. They move indoors and Setsuo asks Kyosuke if he still loves Misuzu because he's changed his mind - he wants Kyosuke to marry his sister. Kyosuke explodes - after all, Setsuo said some mean things to him - but Setsuo apologizes and gives him a giftwrapped bottle of his father's favorite drink, explaining that Misuzu will call him a cab and Kyosuke should give the drink to their father when he arrives. Setsuo pleads for Kysouke to come, saying how in love Misuzu is, and leaves Kyosuke staring at the giftwrapped bottle.
Later that night the doorbell rings and Misuzu is there to bring Kyosuke to her home. She looks strangely the same as the last time he saw her, but Kyosuke goes with her. At her father's house, Setsuo is now all about what a good guy Kyosuke is, but their father will still have none of it. Misuzu says they will not give up until he agrees, and the father tells them to do what they want. Outside, Setsuo tells them not to give up and goes back inside the house, peering suspiciously at them through the blinds. Misuzu says that she never stopped loving him but was afraid he was seeing someone else since he hadn't been by to see her for a whole month. He murmures that no, he wasn't seeing anyone else.
The next scene shows Kyosuke getting a gift from Yuko, who said that she remembered he had broken up with his girlfriend before Valentine's Day and was afraid he hadn't gotten anything. She invites herself over to his house to make dinner. That night after dinner (looks like sukiyaki) Yuko and Kyosuke are just about to kiss when the doorbell rings. Yuko answers it and comes back - it's Misuzu, and she's come to pick Kyosuke up to go ask her father to allow them to marry. Again.
In the cab Misuzu asks Kyosuke if that woman, Yuko, is his new girlfriend. He stops the cab and finally tells her - yes, they're seeing each other. He realized that he was in love with her, and tells Misuzu that he's sorry but he was going back to the apartment. He gets out of the cab and gives Misuzu one last look - where she is looking back at him, tears streaming down her face.
The next day, Yuko doesn't show up at work. She has a fever and called off. When he doesn't hear from her, he stops by her house (?) and an elderly woman tells him she's in the hospital. He goes there with flowers - and finds that Yuko died in the hospital, surrounded by her family. Kyosuke blames himself and goes home to cry where Misuzu finds him (she shows up and just walks in) and cries with him.
There's a major flash forward where Kyosuke talks about being in his thirties and still asking Misuzu's father for permission to marry her. He's still being denied, and Setsuo continues to coax and lure him back by demanding that he not give up on their love. Kyosuke says he will never give up. Kyosuke and Misuzu head to the cab. Kyosuke stops and says he needs to go back - he forgot his bag. As he heads back he hears Setsuo and his father talking about him. Setsuo is assuring his father that Kyosuke will continue to come back for approval, and his father saying how disgusted he is that such a man would want to take away his daughter. He tells Setsuo to keep up the good work, that it makes his life worth living, and that he'll never give Kyosuke what he wants. Setsuo seems to share his disgust and they laugh. Kyosuke turns to find Misuzu, presumably to ask if she was in on their plot, but she's vanished.
Angry, Kyosuke begins to bring gifts of poison-laced liquor, thinking to himself that the old man's death would be all the approval he needed - once the man was dead, he would marry Misuzu. He increases the doses of poison and the old man gets weaker and weaker, while Kyosuke gets older and thinner, almost like he too was being poisoned. Misuzu stays young and beautiful looking.
Finally, the old man is on his deathbed, and Setsuo, Kyosuke, and Misuzu are gathered around him. He calls Kyosuke to him and tell him that he has known the man for 13 years, and all this time Misuzu really loved him. She told him that, when she had broken up with Kyosuke, but he had brushed her off and she had killed herself a few days later. But her spirit had come back and spoken to Setsuo, asking him to help her convince their father to give his approval. He couldn't, of course - it was too late. But her spirit began to show up when Kyosuke would arrive and so he had been using Kyosuke all those years so he could see his dead daughter. The old man begs for forgiveness, then dies. Horrified, Kyosuke turns to where Misuzu was just standing, saying it all must be a lie - but she is gone.
The end shows Kyosuke, sitting alone in his apartment and looking ragged and worn out. He thinks back to Yuko, wondering if maybe she was killed by a ghost, and says that he looks like a ghost too. And every night Misuzu shows up to ring his doorbell, as beautiful as ever, happy and smiling and saying that their marriage has finally been approved.

Beehive

  • Originally appeared in "Monthly Magazine Halloween" May 1991
The story starts with a girl, Yoriko, and a boy, Takano, talking about the boy's love of beehives. He mentions that collecting hives is still a great hobby, but he does other things too and hasn't had time for it, although there were quite a few hornets buzzing around as they walked. They start kissing when he suddenly spies a giant hornet and runs off after it. She follows. He notes that the giant hornet flies lower as they go so the next must be close by, but stops chasing and gets a surprised look on his face when he notices it going 'in that direction'. The girl catches up and asks why he stopped chasing the hornet, and he casually says he's already seen all the ones in that area and he has new ones. The girl teases him, saying he's afraid to go into that part of the woods because of the story about the ghost there that sounds like a kid moaning. He assures her that that is ridiculous, and she asks if he has seen 'Him'. When he asks who, she tells him about the weird kid that has been missing for a while.
Her story flashes back to her local neighborhood, where she and her neighbors are discussing a large hornet's nest under the eaves of her house. One of the neighbors recommends she contact this weird he had used for his hornet's nest who had taken the thing down with his bare hands. She asks how she can find him but the man is vague, saying he's not sure, just that the kid lives nearby but he's not sure where. Suddenly Takano walks by (this is obviously their first meeting) and asks if he can have the hive. He says that he's a beehive collector, but that he couldn't take it just then because hornets are most active during the day. (They continually switch between beehives, bees, hornets, and hornet's nests. They aren't the same thing, but it could be a translating issue.) Takano says he will come back at night and get it. Just then, the weird kid shows up - dirty, messed up, with a bland not-quite-awake look on his face all the time. He offers to take the hive. The neighbor points that this is the kid he was talking about and the boy pleads for a ladder. He says that men like Takano, who collect hives, use pesticides and kill the bees, but he can take the hive and just relocate it. He says that all the area used to be forests, and then people moved in and cut down the trees. He thinks the people should move out... but whatever.
The kid climbs the ladder and all the hornets zoom into the nest. He cuts it down and begins to walk off with it. Takano is amazed the kid isn't stung once, but follows the kid and confronts him out of sight of the neighbors. He says that he found the nest first and accuses the kid of being a fellow hive collector who is stealing his hives. The kid shrugs him off, saying he is only protecting the bees from suckers like Takano because they are his friends. Takano makes a grab for the hive and the hornets come out, stinging him. He runs away - and right into the girl, Yoriko. She checks to make sure he;s ok, mentioning that she's seen him around, and they decide to be friends.
The next scene shows Takano in the woods where Yoriko finds him. He explains that he's using tuna to lure the hornets and then following them so he can find their hive. He races off, Yoriko following, and they come to a cave. He urges Yoriko to stay outside and goes in alone. The cave is full of loud buzzing and inside he finds several different species of hornets/bees, with many many different hives, all living in the cave. Below them, covered in hornets, is the weird kid - holding up a dead frog for them to eat. They make eye contact, then Takano flees.
Later Yoriko and Takano are in the room where Takano keeps his hive collection. The conversation goes back to the weird kid, and Yoriko says she thinks he's dead - and buried in the woods. That would explain the ghostly noises. Takano looks panicked and has a flash back showing what happened - how he had gone back to the cave with protective gear on to steal the hives, but the hornets had attacked. In a panic, he had strangled the weird kid and killed him
A quick flash shows Takano in the woods at night with a flashlight, although it is not clear whether he was looking for. He sees a stick with a flag on it - a sign that beehive hunters use to mark hive locations. He begins digging and finds a beautiful hive and begins to dig it up when two other show up in the distance, shouting that they had found the hive first. He begins digging faster but the hive seems stuck on something. Thinking it is a root, he begins furiously hacking and slashing til it finally breaks free. He runs away to his hive collection area to deposit his find and sees blood on his hands, lamenting that he must have hurt a mole or something while he was digging.
The next day Yoriko comes pounding on Takano's door. She says that bee hunters found the body of the weird kid in the woods - with his head chopped off. She says that the body was still bleeding when the police got there, and that they are looking for the man who was spotted taking the boy's head by the bee hunters. In horror Takano goes back to his collection to see a puddle of blood under his new hive. He opens it up - and finds the weird kid's head inside. He thinks back to the tuna he was using as a lure - and how the hornets must have been carrying it to the boy. He must have been buried alive, and the hornets built the nest around his head to protect and feed him. The 'root' he had cut must have been the boy's neck, and he had killed the boy by mistake. Just then, hornets come from the inside of the nest and begin attacking Takano. The story ends with Takano on the floor, being processed by the hornets as they rebuild their nest.

Dying Young

  • Originally appeared in "Monthly Magazine Halloween" September 1991
The story starts with three girls in a bathroom. The main speaker, Ayako, talks about her friend, Chizuru, who suddenly went from ugly, like them, to beautiful in a month. She used to be one of the 'Ugly Trio' and the story flashes around to people around her noting how beautiful she looked, but how she also looked very anemic. A month later, she became even more beautiful, and turned every head. But two and half months later, she collapsed and died from a heart attack while running track at school.
At the funeral, Chizuru's family has a picture of her showing a lumpy clay faced girl who looked nothing like the Chizuru the reader first saw. The two girls talk about how different she looked and someone shush's them. Later on they continue to talk about what they would do if they suddenly became pretty like Chizuru had.
A little while later, Hiroko, the other girl in the trio, begins to change. Also fat and lumpy, she suddenly become thin and beautiful. Girls in her class ask for her secret, sitting beside her in hopes that they will 'catch' her beauty. She mentions that she isn't doing anything, and that it's happening to her little sister too. She doesn't seem concerned about the change, but the remaining ugly girl catches a lot of flack for being the only ugly one left.
Hiroko still talks with Ayako, commenting on how boys only like her now that she's beautiful and that Ayako could be beautiful too. The girls who touched and were around Hiroko suddenly seem to be coming down with the 'beautiful' disease, and they flock around each other trying to spread it. Ayako doesn't get it and is teased even more for being immune. There's a scene with two boys talking about how 1/4 of the girls at the school were suddenly beautiful, and that it's happening because the end of the century is coming.
Hiroko and a boy are walking along when she sees her younger sister, Kaori, in the shade of a tree. They walk over and Kaori says she feels sick - and falls over dead. Over the next few weeks, all of the beautiful girls begin to die starting a rumor that they were infected with a disease that makes the infected beautiful before they die.
Ayako, still plain and ugly, meets up with Hiroko. hiroko laughs and says she'd rather die young and beautiful than old and ugly. She then mentions that a new rumor has started - that if you're a beautiful infected girl the only way to survive is to kill a girl your age on the third Friday of every month. Ayako laughs it off.
Ayako looks out her window one night and sees Hiroko with two other beautiful girls roaming the street below. Ayako follows them down and overhears Hiroko asking the others to please let her go first, since she's been feeling sick for so long. Ayako wonders if they're really out looking for girls to kill when the trio come across two friends parting ways in the alley after shopping. A girl with glasses walks towards them, and Hiroko pulls a knife to kill her. Ayako jumps out and tells her to stop, but the other girls go after her, one of them faster and killing the girl. Hiroko turns on Ayako, telling the remaining girl to hold her down so she can kill her, but the girl won't do it. Ayako pleads with her former friend to come to her senses but Hiroko screams that it's a girl like Ayako who should be dying, not her. She runs towards Ayako with a knife - but falls down dead before she reaches her. The story ends with a picture of a beautiful girl's face surrounded by the words: 'The end of the 20th Century... ...And a strange sickness was going around....'

Headless Sculptures

  • Originally appeared in "Monthly Magazine Halloween" July 1995
A young man named Shimada is helping his art teacher, Mr. Okabe, pour mix for the headless sculptures the man has made for an art exhibit he is showing. Shimada's friend, Rumi, stops by to walk home with Shimada, but Shimada says he's staying late and tells Rumi not to tell anyone. They talk about art for a little bit, then Rumi leaves.
The next day, Rumi hears in school that Mr. Okabe was killed that night - a student found him in the art room with his head missing. He was allegedly alone, since students aren't allowed on campus. There's an emergency meeting, and the students are sent home. Rumi worries that she is the only one that knew Shimada was staying late at school and didn't tell anyone, but when she passes his house she decides to let it go.
The next day Rumi sees Shimada at school wearing a winter uniform and a face mask. (This is not unusual as it is seen as rude to infect your classmates and coworkers with a cold, and many people wear them to prevent infection.) Rumi talks to Shimada, but he acts strange with her, telling her how beautiful she is and how he always waited for her to come to the art room each day.
An announcement says that all students must leave the grounds, but two girls stay behind because one forgot her school books in the art room. In the art room they see a sheet covering up the bloody area where Mr. Okabe's body was found. They tip toe around the sheet but the closet door flies open and Mr. Okabe appears - wrapped from the neck down in a sheet with his jaw slack and glasses broken. He comes after them with a ruler.
Back outside Shimada is trying to get Rumi to follow him back into the school. He's assuring her that Mr. Okabe is still alive but had to go into hiding. He takes her hands and she notices they are gloved and feel hard. They go inside and Rumi says the room smells like something spoiled. She notices all the statues are gone but one that is covered with a sheet as Shimada locks the art room door and takes off his mask. Rumi gasps as she sees him with a slack jaw and blood around his mouth. Shimada tells her it's nothing, but his mouth doesn't move. She asks for Mr. Okabe and Shimada takes the sheet off of the remaining statue - a woman's torso in stone with Mr. Okabe's severed head on top. Shimada reaches for Rumi and she smacks him - knocking the head right off and exposing the stump of the moving statues neck. She hits the statue with a chair, breaking it, and the female statue begins screaming at her for killing it's boyfriend, demanding her head. Rumi tries to escape but runs into more statues - two of which are fighting over one of the earlier girl's head. The story ends with Rumi cringing in terror as headless statues come at her with meat cleavers.

Flesh-Colored Horror

  • Originally appeared in "Monthly Magazine Halloween" May 1994
A woman named Momoko introduces herself as she walks down a street at night. A woman in a trenchcoat comes running by her, splashing her with something foul smelling a sticky, forcing her to get her hair cut. She's a teacher at a local kindergarten, and none of the students like her new haircut.
As Momoko is talking to one of her fellow teachers about her attack when a fight breaks out among the children. A boy named Chikara has scratched a boy named Yuta for not doing what he said. Chikara is bald, with no eyelashes or eyebrows, and his skin in transparently thin. He always looks angry. The other children run from him when he approaches, but Momoko tells the other teacher that although he's a trouble maker, he has a very beautiful mother and she hopes he'll look like her one day.
Over the next few pages Chikara is constantly getting into trouble. He rips the student's artwork off the walls, while explaining he's not tearing, he's peeling. He attacks the other students, asking if they'd like him to peel the skin off their faces. Eventually the day is over, and Momoko stands to wait for someone to come pick Chikara up. She meets Mrs. Kawabe, who she thought was Chikara's mother but is actually his aunt. Momoko asks if she can meet Chikara's mother as they walk to the Kawabe house, talking about Chikara's problems at school.
At Chikara's house, Momoko sees that the walls and furniture are all ripped and peeling, as though someone had been attacking them. Momoko meets Chikara's mother, who is soaking wet with a towel wrapping her hair up. She explains she just got out of the bath, and that they are always putting up new wall paper because Chikara rips it up. Momoko notices that Chikara's mother seems to have no expression on her face, but seems very loving and caring towards Chikara, and eventually leaves.
The next day Momoko hears that several parents have complained about Chikara attacking their children. Momoko goes to look for him and finds that he's ripped up the face of a young boy, both covered in the boy's blood. Chikara is expelled from the school, but continues to show up every day. Momoko tells him he can't come back but he says he doesn't want to go home. He follows her home one day and she invites him in, only to find that her father had already let himself in. He's a doctor, and when he sees Chikara he notices that the boy's skin is very thin, his fingerprints gone, and would need treatment. Momoko takes him home to his mother, although he screams and cries he doesn't want to go. His mother takes him in, but when Momoko mentions that her father is a doctor and said that Chikara should get looked at, she just laughs and says that Chikara would be a good looking boy very soon.
Inside Chikara's house, Chikara's mother and aunt are working over a large bubbling pot. Chikara's mother grabs him and jams a pipe in his mouth, telling him to remember to breath through his mouth, and the two women begin to paint on the still bubbling hot goo. They cover him until he looks like a clay cut out, let it set, and then his mother begins to rip the stuff off of him. Chikara screams and cries. They wait awhile, but something is still wrong as Chikara's mother begins ripping and peeling the walls, screaming about how she wants to see him, and gets angry at the aunt when she says she doesn't want Chikara to suffer anymore.
Momoko's father leaves, telling her to be careful. While waving goodbye to him, Momoko hears a woman scream and rounds the corner to see another woman doused in the sticky goo and the trenchcoat woman running away. This time she runs after her and knocks her to the ground. It turns out to be Chikara's aunt, who tells her the terrible story of the goo.
Her brother in law, Chikara's father, had tried to invent a beauty potion for his wife, her sister. It worked - giving Chikara's mother the beauty she wanted. But in order to protect Chikara from his mother, who wanted to do the same thing to her son, his aunt changed the formula. Chikara's mother keeps using it on him and ripping it off, which is why his skin is so damaged. His aunt became angry, seeing him suffer so much, and began to take it out on strangers by dumping the leftover potions on them.
The next scene flashes to another woman in a trenchcoat. She approaches a man in a dark alley and asks him if she's beautiful, opening her trenchcoat a la the Flasher. The man screams, horrified, and runs away while she laughs.
Meanwhile Momoko has hauled the aunt back to Chikara's house, the aunt pleading for her to stay away. The other woman in the trenchcoat, Chikara's mother, slams Momoko in the head with a rock and she passes out.
Chikara's mother tells Momoko the story of her husband, the talented alchemist, and his search for eternal youth. He created a recipe and applied it to himself, but died of shock after seeing the result. She, however, thought he had found true beauty. Momoko, tied up on the floor of the kitchen, watches as Chikara's mother accidentally spills strong acid, one of the ingredients, on her leg. She hops around until her sister pulls down the zipper on her back - and her skin falls off, revealing her true 'beauty' - a skinless body with only muscles and tendons exposed.
Chikara's mother tells a horrified Momoko that this is what her husband found - a medicine that separates skin from muscles. It's true beauty, and she wants it for her son. She tells her sister to stick the skin back in the saline tank - where she keeps it to keep it from drying out, and the reason she always looks like she just got out of the bath. Chikara's mother leans down to examine the bottle of acid and realizes that her sister has filled it with plain water, ruining the recipe and keeping Chikara in his own skin. She demands to know where her sister hid it, and Chikara brings it out - only to dump over his mother's saline tank and douse her skin in acid, ruining it. Chikara's mother turns on her sister, blaming her and demanding her sister's skin. She reaches out and rips the face off of her sister - showing that she, too, had used the beauty medicine. Chikara runs to his mother and tears at her leg, pulling out muscles, and she falls to the floor. Her own skin ruined, the story ends with Chikara's aunt tearfully telling Momoko how she didn't know what the chemicals did when her sister convinced her to use them on herself three years ago, she just wanted to be beautiful. Then Momoko faints.

Notes

Translator - Kanako Ishikawa

Editors - Dominic Mah & Renee Adams

Production Artists - Atsuko Hattori & Nicole Shi

US Cover Design - Yuki Chung

Lettering Fonts - Comiccraft

President - Robin Kuo

First volume published December 1997 by Asahi Sonorama.

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