The Sad Tale of the Principal Post by Junji Ito

Nestled at the end of Junji Ito’s story `Gyo`, is a four page one-shot story about a man found trapped underneath the main supporting post of his family’s home. As the mother and children are busy entertaining visitors to their new home, screams are heard from beneath them. And there inside the house’s crawl space, tightly held beneath the Principal Post, is the father of the family.

The metaphor for this short story seemed so obvious to me, but I wanted to share my thoughts on it nonetheless.

For me, it seems that the father is literally holding the weight of the house on his back – supporting it for his wife and children. And instead of begging for help, he instead pleads for them not to move him – for doing so would risk bringing the whole building down. So for his family, he is willing to die in order to keep them warm and safe in their home.

The house’s principle post has trapped the father

I’m not sure if this was perhaps Junji Ito expressing feelings of his own regarding his family and his willingness to do whatever he can to help and support them. But I do like to think so.

This story does have a pretty ridiculous narrative when you think about it – the man being spontaneously trapped and the reason for it never being revealed – but I do think that this holds a nice message of family loyalty. Out of all of Ito’s one-shot stories I have read so far, The Sad Tale of the Principal Post is one of my favourites.

Old and ugly (Tomie part 20) by Junji Ito

What is Old and Ugly about?

In Old and Ugly, we not only close off a trilogy of stories, but the entire Tomie Collection too. We pick up where we left the story at the end of Passing Demon. The strange figure, who we now know as being the “Top Model” Ryo, has approached Ayaka’s sister – Yasuko. Oh, and the three Tomie girls are each still trying to kill one another by possessing local boys to carry out their attacks. Ryo is doing his best to protect them all, but that does prove to be quite difficult.

After Ryo and Yasuko have joined forces, they decide to take Ayaka away to safety. If he can’t save them all, at least he has a chance of saving one of the Tomie girls. And by “saving” I really mean preserving. For, as long as she doesn’t multiply she will retain her human characteristics and age as any normal person would. This is Ryo’s, and later also Yasuko’s, end goal – they wish to see their Tomie contend with the frailty of human life; to see herself as old and ugly before her life ends.

Ryo and Yasuko essentially give up their lives to focus solely on the preservation of Ayaka. Their revenge is so focused and so tunnel-visioned, that they literally want nothing else in the world but to see her suffer. As their own lives pass them by they let their thirst for revenge drain them of all that is good. But will Tomie be contained in her human shell? Will she succumb to weakness and old age? Or will she break free from her shackles and have the last laugh once and for all?

The end of the journey

We have finally reached the end of our journey through the entire Tomie Collection. Through twenty stories we have followed the lady in many of her incarnations. With this final chapter, it really felt like the end of the line. And I don’t just say that because it’s the last chapter, but the theme of this one really felt like a close for me. Of course Tomie as a force of nature could literally go on forever.

Throughout these chapters we have only seen a small percentage of all of the Tomies that would now exist in the world. Remember all of those bodies that walked out of the “Waterfall Basin”? Or the five that walked out of the cave at the end of “Little Finger”? And what about that original first chapter where many parts were scattered all over the town?

I love how this is a world that would never be rid of Tomie. She truly is a force of nature that just can not be stopped. If there ever was a final chapter after this one it would have to be something like Tomie: World Order.

The real evil

In “Old and Ugly”, Tomie is essentially kept prisoner, initially under a sort of mild house arrest, but soon in a very solid manner. This whole story is about Ayaka’s sister and, more crucially, Ryo’s revenge against her. Of course this isn’t the same Tomie as he had dealt with all those years before. But since all versions of her originate from the same dark place, I guess any suffering Tomie is better than none.

It was interesting to finally see somebody using Tomie’s powers against her. By harnessing her blood and injecting it into three (or possibly more?) innocent children, he was able to harvest his very own Tomie clones. Clones whose sole purpose was for him to have his revenge. I believe Ryo to be the real enemy here in this final story. Tomie is simply doing what it is in her nature to do – survive. However, by corrupting the futures of these innocent girls, Ryo firmly placed himself on the side of true evil.

As the pages of their lives move towards their conclusion, so too do we reach the final pages of this collection. And surprising to me, Ito didn’t decide to go out with a bang in a huge gory mess. He stayed true to the story at hand and followed it through to its natural, strange conclusion. I have grown to have a special fondness for this collection, through my exploration of its details, and am glad that Ito ended it in the way that he did.

In Summary

An interesting closing chapter that truly did feel like a bookend to the whole collection for me. I often think about how it may have been good to bring back some past characters from other chapters for a huge finale. Like Tsukiko from “Photo” or Mitsuo from “Painter”. But perhaps that would have been just a little bit too cheesy.

You will need to have read at least the previous two chapters for this one to really make full sense. In fact, I feel that this whole closing trilogy of “Passing Demon”, “Top Model” and “Old and Ugly” are best experienced at the end of the collection as intended.

Top Model (Tomie part 19) by Junji Ito

What is Top Model about?

Ryo is the titular “Top model”, who recounts his days as a successful catwalk model. Not only that, but he goes into the reason for his downfall – the young woman called Tomie.

During a photo shoot, Ryo asks his photographer if he knows any new girls on the scene. Apparently he is bored with his current partner. The photographer points him in the direction of a girl that he himself has been trying to get with. On meeting her, Ryo is immediately taken with Tomie. And going from his past romantic experiences, he expects her to fall for him straight away too. However, he gets a nasty surprise when she laughs in his face, telling him just how plain he is to her.

Ryo is at a loss as to why Tomie doesn’t like him, but he wont give up that easily. After another meeting, which falls flat on its face also, he manages to offend her during an outburst he ends up having. This is the moment where he seals his doom forever. Whilst walking down the street the next day or so, a stranger asks him if he is indeed the top model Ryo. He replies “yes”, and is immediately met with a deep slash across his face.

Tomie, in all of her most devious and vengeful, has arranged a guy to disfigure this cock-sure model. She essentially ends his modelling career right there on the spot. But the real horror comes when Ryo tries to enact the same revenge back at her. Ryo doesn’t have a clue as to who, or what, he is dealing with. His own vengeful actions may just overstep the line and manage to send him down a path from which he may truly never escape.

Getting their just desserts

Ryo is a complete pompous idiot in this story. He is the kind of person you just love to hate. He is so arrogant and sure of his good looks and charms, that he believes all women he desires are for the taking. At least this is the impression that I got from him and his interactions with his photographer. So to have Tomie reject him and show him up did make me smile – he deserved it after all. But did he deserve to be disfigured for simply upsetting her? Proabably not, but a small part of me thinks that he deserved that too.

This whole story is escalated by the smug nature of both of these leading characters. Perhaps Tomie felt she’d met her match with just how full of himself Ryo was at the start. Or perhaps it was simply that Ryo had already fallen for her, which is simply no fun for her. One thing is definitely for sure though – that girl sure knows how to hold a grudge.

It all comes back around

I absolutely loved the closing pages in this chapter and how it comes back to the previous chapter “Passing Demon”. We have gotten to learn how that demon came to be as such, and that snuffing out the futures of those poor babies wasn’t much of a change in character for him. He’s always been willing to get his own way at the expense of others after all.

The approach to the structure in this final trilogy that Junji Ito took, was a stroke of genius in my opinion. Without realising where we were towards the end of this chapter, the whole thing was revealed and it all just felt so right to me. He has developed so much since that first Tomie chapter.

In Summary

Tomie is an absolute bitch in this story. Not that she is a golden girl at all other times, but here she really surpasses herself. Yes, Ryo had some kind of retribution owed to him from his attitude and life style, but I think she maybe just took it a little too far – even by her standards.

Although this is the second part in the Tomie Collection’s final story arc, I think that Top Model could still be enjoyed on its own. It has some interesting dialogue between the two leads and some suitably grotesque imagery. However, I would strongly recommend reading these final three stories in order, in order to get the full effect that Ito intended.

Passing Demon (Tomie part 18) by Junji Ito

What is Passing Demon about?

Ayaka, the youngest of a couple’s two daughters, is the odd one out in her family. She is beautiful; she is confident; and she bares a striking resemblance to a certain lady we’ve all come to know and love – Tomie. But she is not Tomie – at least not yet. A shocking event that happened to the family when Ayaka was just a baby, put her on a completely new – and doomed – path. A shadowy figure had taken away her innocence in one fell swoop.

It seems that Ayaka wasn’t the only one either. There are other young girls of Ayaka’s age who are discovered living in the very same town. They each stand identical to the next, and bare that unbelievable resemblance to Tomie. And It isn’t long at all until they become aware of each other’s existence – triggering the desire in each of them to kill off the others.

This desire to each rid the world of the others’ existence leads to some very troubling and violent scenes. These mainly come from the poor people who are caught in the crossfire, however. Of course, these girls don’t lift a finger in their attacks; they get others to do their bidding instead. Namely young boys that are easily controlled with those classic Tomie charms.

But will any one of the girls end up on top? Could they even learn to accept each other? And what will happen once the shadowy figure, who started all of this off, steps out of the shadows?

The shadowy figure

This is the first time I can remember that an apparent force more foreboding than Tomie took a foothold in these stories. When she is walking alone, Ayaka (who is at least 80% Tomie by now) is aware of a presence watching her from the bushes and the shadows – at least she can sense it anyway. I almost felt as though she was scared – like genuinely scared. And I don’t think I can remember a time when I saw Tomie scared – except when she was faking it, of course.

I feel as though this shadowy figure, who is revealed in the closing panels of Passing Demon, is much more depraved than Tomie ever was. He has no problem whatsoever with corrupting these tiny babies with Tomie’s blood, simply to have a chance at revenge against her some years down the line. This man is a truly sick individual, no matter what his motivations are.

Echoes of Assassins

I loved the call back to a previous chapter “Assassins” in this story. The whole concept of having brainwashed young men made to kill off other copies of Tomie was explored there. And it is one of my favourite stories too. So to see that idea return truly was a big treat for me. I even like to imagine that the chapter Assassins is in fact this moment in time – when these identical girls are each trying to kill one another off.

I wonder if Junji Ito envisioned that himself, or whether it is simply a coincidence. Nonetheless, the reference back to it was great.

In Summary

Passing Demon kicks off the final story arc of the entire Tomie Collection. It, along with “Top Model” and “Old and Ugly”, close off what has quickly become one of my favourite collections of all time. Although this chapter alone isn’t one of my favourites, I do really like the final trilogy’s overall story and how it all ties in together.

Passing Demon, and the two that follow, felt a lot more tied together than the Tsukiko trilogy did in the beginning of the collection. (the Tsukiko Trilogy being “Photo”, “Kiss” and “Mansion”) That’s not to say that those chapters were bad – quite the contrary. It’s just that I can really see how much Ito has progressed as a storyteller from those early days up to these final farewells.

Gathering (Tomie part 17) by Junji Ito

What is Gathering about?

Umehara is in the throws of grief over the passing of his girlfriend. We join him as he is being consoled by his good friend, Miyagawa, who offers a hand to help. Miyagawa invites his friend to a gathering that he has been regularly attending, but it is a gathering like no other.

On arriving, Umehara finds a room full of men on their knees all looking towards an empty chair on the room’s opposite wall. The whole place has the air of a cult, with those suspicions being solidified once the target of these men’s attention appears. It is Tomie. All of the men go wild and Miyagawa reveals that he has brought his friend as a gift to Tomie in order to receive a reward.

Tomie seems taken by Umehara immediately, however, he couldn’t care less about her. It seems his love for his recently passed lady are just too strong. As the story moves forward, Tomie tries to work out why she has no effect on him. Her failure leads to her turning her worshippers against him in response. But what is truly shocking, is when the inevitable happens and the crowds of men move past the infatuation stage, and into the “I just want to kill her and cut her up” stage. By the end of this gathering, things get rather messy – and perhaps not for the reasons you may first think.

An army of the obsessed

This story is about Tomie’s power of obsession over men, except it’s turned up to eleven. She essentially has an army at her disposal, and chooses to have them shower her with complements and gifts. She will demand for them to make her laugh; to entertain her in any way she shes fit. But when she doesn’t get her way, as is the case with Umehara, you’d better not be in her path.

The power that she has over these men is potent. And the conclusion of such an odd situation – with these men all sitting at her feet in a growing internal frenzy – could only lead to bad things. The whole chapter feels like a boiling pot of water just waiting to break over the sides. The final panels present a suitably violent scene for such a dangerous, high-pressure atmosphere.

In Summary

Not a favourite of mine in the Tomie Collection, but still a very worthwhile addition to its overall world. Here, Junji Ito is focusing in on the side of Tomie that drives men to obsess over her – and to do anything she asks in order to please her. Although it isn’t very large in scope, when it is digested along with all of the other chapters, really give a complete picture of this Queen of horror manga.

I don’t think this would be the best chapter to serve as an introduction to the lady. Although most of what you see in here would have been seen before in earlier chapters, there is one part that I believe is new. She manages to force herself into the reoccurring dreams of Umehara. Whether it is her doing or just from the effect she’s had on him, is not clear. So perhaps she manages to win him over after all?

If you are an existing fan of the series and want to see more of what you have come to enjoy from Tomie, then Gathering will make a fine addition to that repertoire.

Babysitter (Tomie part 16) by Junji Ito

What is Babysitter about?

In Babysitter, the story is confined to one small room throughout its entire 22 pages. That small room has the look of a cell, but is in fact a baby’s nursery. The babysitter herself is a young woman named Erita, who arrives at an elderly couple’s home in the opening pages. She is quickly introduced to the couple’s baby, although without actually seeing it properly, before being shown into the nursery.

Once in the nursery, Erita is locked inside with the baby. The couple tells her that they’ve had past babysitters run away during the job, so this is merely a precaution from them. After the brief explanation to the situation, Erita is encouraged to pull back the baby’s blanket. Can you guess what she finds underneath? That’s right – underneath the blanket is not a baby at all, but what she believes to be a little monster. However, us as readers of this series will recognise it as being a regenerating Tomie.

Once the couple have left Tomie (the baby) and Erita alone, Tomie begins to cry and slowly drive Erita mad. Babies crying in general, to those outside of their family, tend to have that shrill, piercing effect on many. But couple that with the powers that Tomie has and you have a deadly mixture. As it turns out, the only thing that can calm the small Tomie is the colour of red, which Erita slowly realises she must use to her advantage. But in such a small, confined space that colour is sparse – save for the blood in her veins and the growing number of town fires outside the window. Oh yes the fires – I didn’t even mention those did I?

Confined in space and story

Babysitter is very much a confined story. Not only does it trap our heroine, Erita, inside a small cell with this demon baby Tomie, but it also focuses the story there too. Except for the opening panels with Erita travelling to the home, we only see things from her perspective within that room. Even whispers and rumours from outside are learned from her spying outside of the barred window. We only know what she knows.

Tomie’s madness is always something to be feared, but generally when people start to feel the effects, they have the opportunity to run or hide. However, in this small locked room, the babysitter Erita has no choice but to withstand and eventually comply with Tomie’s demands.

Despite the story taking place solely within this nursery, don’t be fooled into thinking that this has no extra layers. There is in fact a wider story going on outside the window, which actually has a big impact on the overall story. And not only that, but only the future of both Erita and Tomie.

In Summary

I find this chapter to be a very charming one. Something about it makes it one of my favourite from the collection. It has a certain charm in how it focuses in on the doomed relationship between Erita and Tomie. Although the story doesn’t really take us to many places, I find it does quite a lot in the space it does have.

I always find it more interesting somehow, when artists work within certain constraints, whether self-imposed or not. In this, Junji Ito has limited himself to a single room and seen what he can create from it. For me, he has created a short but nonetheless very entertaining segment of Tomie’s life. At least one of her many lives anyway.

Moromi (Tomie part 15) by Junji Ito

What is Moromi about?

In Moromi, Junji Ito mixes things up a bit, centring the entire chapter around the attempted disposal of an already-killed Tomie. Not only has she already been killed, but her former partner – Ishizuka – is busy mashing her remains into a fine paste on the floor. And even though he is putting a lot of work into it, her bloody remains seem to not be getting any smaller. In fact, he has noticed that the flesh seems to be getting larger in volume.

In order to get some help, Ishizuka invites his friend Nagaoka round. Once he arrives, he is told about the strange situation going on. Ishizuka brings him up to speed, revealing that he has discovered that the pieces of Tomie seem to be regenerating. Tomie just can not die. He explains how he has tried to fight the growing flesh, by cutting it up as small as possible. However, he now has buckets and buckets of her remains that are still growing out of all proportion with no way of disposing of it.

His friend then comes up with a very strange method of disposing of the meat. And this is where the story gets a bit odd, at least within the context of Tomie. They both travel to Nagaoka’s parent’s Sake factory, where there are huge tanks of mixing vats. These mixing vats are where the family Sake is produced, and it will also become the target for Tomie’s disposal. They begin mixing in parts of the flesh piece by piece into the Sake mix. This begins to have a very strange effect on everyone as the vapours begin to circulate round the factory. Not only that, but when they decide to taste the new recipe things really get turned up a notch in strangeness.

Regeneration

This is a story that focuses solely on Tomie’s regenerative powers. But not as we’ve seen before from complete limbs or cuts in the body. Instead, this is regeneration from the mangled, squashed flesh of a once-beautiful woman. Her appearance in this chapter is relegated mostly to being just that of buckets of body parts and ooze. Except, that is, for the spirit hallucinations that occur once the vapours being to rise. It reminded me of the chapter Hair in that respect, as she didn’t appear completely in that one either.

There isn’t as much elegance attached to her here either, due to the fact that she spends the time as buckets of chopped-up flesh. This chapter is a much grittier, dirtier story than we’ve come to expect so far from the Tomie Collection. For that reason I enjoy it on its own level from others. I believe that Junji Ito must have approached this story in a very tongue-in-cheek manner. Just the fact that the friends very first suggestion, and the one that they actually go with, is to shove her parts into Sake vats in his family’s factory. It’s so ludicrous, but its one of those stories that always makes me smile.

Not only is it a fun and silly one, but it provides some much-needed relief after the much darker events of the previous chapter “Boy” too.

In Summary

This isn’t a chapter that features highly in my favourite Tomie stories, but it is still enjoyable nonetheless. I loved the juxtaposition of the opening panels – with the loving words from the boyfriend, followed by him beating her corpse into the ground.

This is another standalone chapter, which I think is suitably placed with its other chapters. Moromi sits comfortably in the middle of the overall collection. And while not the best there is, is definitely worthy of your time in reading.

Boy (Tomie part 14) by Junji Ito

What is Boy about?

Satoru is a young boy whose parents have recently moved them all to live by the sea. It was the father’s thinking that it would be good for a young child’s health and growth – how wrong he was. While wandering the beach alone, Satoru stumbles across a small cave with a pool of dark red coloured sea water inside. On closer inspection he finds the body of a young woman floating to the surface – her face cut to pieces but miraculously, still alive.

The young boy befriends the woman, who introduces herself as Tomie. As their friendship grows, she convinces the boy to help her in her recovery. First with bringing her food and some clothes form his mother’s wardrobe, followed by her having him steal a fancy dress more “befitting” of her. Tomie has the boy completely under her spell, even convincing him to call her “Mommy” from now on.

Satoru’s sanity declines very fast, as his obsession over his new mommy drives him to do some very bad things. Eventually, the parents notice that something strange is happening, and do their best to stop it. But will the boy’s parents be able to break the hold that Tomie now has on their son? Or have they tried to help him too far down the track; are they too late to save their only son?

The darkest Tomie chapter

Throughout our looking into the stories from the Tomie Collection, we have come across some pretty dark themes. However, this chapter sits up top for me as being the single most darkest one. Simply down to the fact that it involves the corruption and gradual insanity of a young boy. Junji Ito is most definitely not afraid to explore areas of his world that other people would perhaps be too afraid to conquer.

Characters who cross Tomie’s path generally have a pretty bad time with her. But when it comes to children, the horror becomes that little bit more scary. Ito has a talent for getting under my skin, and indeed many other people’s skins. However, this is where he officially got all of his claws in and asked “Are you ready to go deeper and darker?”

I remember having similar feelings from a chapter within Dissolving Classroom, where the young girl – Chizumi – has a boy her age kidnapped. But I think that Boy just pips that one to the post, as it goes pretty deep into how Satoru is changed at his very core. And how he transforms very quickly from innocent to cursed. So much so that it sets in motion the events for the rest of his tainted life. The final few panels that detail the boy’s adult life were pretty heartbreaking.

In Summary

Depending on your disposition, this could be quite a tough one to get through. This is all down to the fact that throughout the entire story, Tomie is corrupting a very young boy and moving herself into his mind as his mother. This is a big splinter that risks breaking the family right down the centre. The fact that she has no reason whatsoever to bring terror upon these people, makes it very easy to hate her completely.

I have mentioned in the past about how she had some characteristics that I enjoyed about her – even liking her at times. But in this chapter, Tomie is without redemption; without reason; and is at her most callous and destructive from start to finish.

Little Finger (Tomie part 13) by Junji Ito

What is Little finger about?

A father of four brothers brings home a new woman in his life. Her name is Tomie. As you can probably imagine, Tomie has an immediate effect on the brothers, an attraction that she returns. This chemistry between the brothers and Tomie takes its toll on the father, who soon commits suicide. She is then left alone with the four brothers.

The thing is though, not all of the brothers have desires towards Tomie. Hiroya is not conventionally attractive, often being the target of bullying from his three siblings. But he has something that his brothers do not – an immunity to Tomie’s charms. She hates the fact that he isn’t obsessed with her as the others are. And despite her best efforts, she is unable to win him over. This leads to Hiroya being locked away from everyone in the basement, away from the people who matter.

Hiroya is later released and discovers that his brothers have done something terrible to Tomie. They have killed her and cut her to pieces, which she probably expected to be honest. The weak, sickly brother is then forced to dispose of her body parts in exchange for his being let free. Hiroya makes good on his deal, but little does he know that he is forever sealing his fate. What follows is an encounter with Tomie, as she regenerates around him, tormenting him with echoes of his past. But will he survive the suffering, and will he reach the end of this path with his life intact?

A damaged man

This is the first time I have read a story from the Tomie Collection where the central character was weak and completely lacking in self-confidence. The characters in these stories are normally well-adjusted people, however, in Hiroya’s case this couldn’t be further from the truth. But with his weaknesses, comes a huge strength that many don’t possess – the power to resist Tomie’s powers.

That inner strength of his is soon put to the test though, as he is left hidden away with Tomie as she regenerates. And not one of her, but four! These four instances of her give Hiroya a glimpse at his own life from an outsider’s perspective. He is able to see these four versions of her grow up, with one of them significantly slower and weaker than the others. This echoing back to the story’s earlier theme is one of the things that makes Junji Ito the craftsman that he is.

Through the horrors of a regenerating Tomie, Hiroya is shown elements from his own life. He knows what its like to be the slowest and the most hated, which allows him to know the pains of the weakest sibling. His inner strength knows no bounds too it seems, as he is able to befriend – and give comfort to – that weaker version of her. But at what cost?

In Summary

Despite being outwardly one of the weakest characters within the Tomie Collection, I think Hiroya is inwardly one of the strongest. Not just from his ability to resist Tomie, but with his power to empathise with something so threatening and grotesque. He is truly a man who is able to not only confront the fears from his past, but is able to embrace them too.

Little finger was a very enjoyable read for me. It was great to finally see a man who was almost invincible to Tomie’s powers. Although it took him being slightly disfigured and having zero self-confidence in order to have that gift. While this wasn’t the most visually inventive chapter, it does have many aspects that are to be admired. Like how Ito is able to tie in such a strong theme, that is used so well in the story’s pay off.

It is probably not the best introduction to the character of Tomie, but it is a chapter that is definitely worthy of your time. It will do well in expanding a preexisting knowledge of this awesome, and horrific, world.

Adopted Daughter (Tomie part 12) by Junji Ito

What is Adopted Daughter about?

In the twelfth chapter from the Tomie Collection, Adopted Daughter sees the lady herself be taken in by a friendly old couple. This lovely couple have been unable to have children themselves, and so have previously adopted from a local orphanage. However, their fate seems cursed, as every one of the girls they have adopted has died mysteriously. These strange deaths, whilst under their care, have birthed some very bizarre and troubling rumours about them.

One rainy night, the unconscious body of a young woman is found just outside of their window. The couple quickly take her inside, dry her up and make her feel at home. She introduces herself – her name is Tomie. The couple see this event as a blessing and immediately offer her a home. She accepts, after explaining about how both of her parents have recently died. And it isn’t long until she finds herself right at home.

The old couple dote on her as if she were their very own. They do their very best to make her every desire come true, no matter what she asks of them. They buy her nice jewellery; dress her in beautiful gowns; make her hair up like royalty. But none of this manages to stop the inevitable effect that Tomie ends up having on those around her. Those same desires in the innocent soon reveal themselves with gusto, for the story’s climactic ending.

Twists and tragedy

Adopted daughter is definitely one of the darkest Tomie stories I have read. All of the stories within this world are pretty dark by definition, however, this one manages to go that one extra step. For me, this was down to the sub-plot that is hidden within the over-arching story. I’m not going to mention a word of its details here, for fear of spoiling it for you. Let me just say that it was a twist that I didn’t see coming, and reminded me that the scariest things in horror are those that are rooted in reality.

My heart went out to this sweet, old couple. Although I don’t want to reveal their ultimate fate, the fact that they seem to be cursed with sick daughters – and then to have Tomie turn up – is a truly upsetting situation to be in. Not only that, but the rumours that go around about them are unfair too. I know that people will talk, especially about certain unknowns in their neighbourhood, but when you add it all up, this couple just doesn’t deserve it.

The couple are without a doubt shunned from society – alone together – and unable to make a family. Mix that with the horrific events that they come to witness, and you have a very unfortunate final stage in life.

Closing thoughts

I would definitely put this chapter into my top five from the entire Tomie Collection. The sense of depth in the story’s history, which comes out from the later-revealed sub-plot, is the most rich out of all I’ve read so far. I would even go so far as to say that Adopted Daughter would make an excellent Tomie film, in the right hands.

If you haven’t read a Tomie story before, or indeed any of Junji Ito’s stories, I think that this would give you a great introduction. This chapter has one of the best written narratives from the collection in my opinion. And it gives a good level of gore without being completely in your face. Adopted daughter is a standalone story in the collection, so feel free to read this one during any stage of your exploration.