Oh Junji Ito, you are the king of my horror manga reviews and have burned so many weird images into my brain. I love you.
I can’t believe it took me this long to get around to reading Tomie. It is a cult classic manga series that has spawned eight films and a television series. Why hadn’t I heard of it before?
Tomie is about a beautiful girl called Tomie (obviously), who is so gorgeous and lovely that she drives people insane. The manga series is written like a collection of stories. All of which involve someone falling for Tomie and it going horrifically wrong. You see, Tomie is immortal and has a very particular set of powers. It is never explained what Tomie is or how she ended up that way but that just adds to the mystery.
Junji Ito has a habit of writing cult classic horror manga, and just like Gyo and Uzumaki, Tomie is no exception to that rule. It is gorgeous, creepy and gets very creative with a very simple concept. I think that is what makes a lot of his work great. He takes a very simple idea and just goes with it, taking it to every extreme and looking at it at every angle possible.
Tomie is written very similar to Uzumaki. It is a collection of short stories all based around Tomie in some way, just like how everything in Uzumaki was based around the theme of spirals. You end up reading more because you want to see what is going to happen in the next story because it couldn’t possibly get weirder. SPOILER ALERT: It does.
I think the only real issue I had with this series was that it could get a bit repetitive at times. Yes it is wonderful and enjoyably twisted but unlike Uzumaki it felt a little limited. Uzumaki worked better because you are basing things on a shape, something flexible that could simply a concept, but basing it around a single person is a lot more limiting. I can see why this became the horror classic it did. It is amazing but you can only take it so far.
Even with that small complaint I really enjoyed this series. I am going to be spending my weekend trying to find copies of the films. It’s been a while since I watched some Japanese horror.