Chrysalis – Franken Fran part 2 by Kigitsu Katsuhisa

Fran shows us what she will do to help the love of others, especially when she feels responsible for their pain.

What is Franken Fran Chrysalis about?

A young man confesses his love to a beautiful young woman. Despite the gentlemanly way of showing his intentions, she knocks him back telling him its because of his looks. Not one moment after she has destroyed this boy’s feelings, she herself is destroyed as a lorry ploughs headfirst into her at high speed.

If she were anywhere else but a stone’s throw from Franken Fran’s mansion she’d be gone for good.

How lucky for her.

Tajima pleads with Fran for her to help

As it turns out, the lorry was actually delivering supplies to Fran and so she, being of the kindest of nature’s, immediately takes full responsibility. She makes it her mission to bring this girl back from the dead and reunite what she assumes to be a loving couple.

Learning from insects

Fran’s approach to surgery is unorthodox to say the least. This is never more apparent than when the girl wakes up from her surgery in Caterpillar form. Here I was introduced not only to Fran’s knowledge of extreme surgery, but the author’s creativity in crafting unique stories.

Obviously each chapter going forward will be centred around her helping people with some form of surgery. But this chapter showed just how creative these adventures promise to be.

We’re beginning the operation

Out of such harsh circumstances love can blossom too. It was nice to see characters learn of real love through the course of Chrysalis. And not only that, but the last page’s gruesome punchline is to die for!

In Summary

Chrysalis is the second chapter in the Franken Fran series. It brings us back into the familiarity of Fran’s mansion, only this time with an emergency surgery – not the plotted deception of the opening chapter.

It displays Fran’s compassion for others, her skills in the operating theatre and the almost comical side effects of her out-of-the-box thinking that were perhaps not anticipated by her.

I was really happy that the author decided to make Franken Fran into an anthology of sorts. I’m already loving her world and I’m only two stories in. I’m looking forward to her world being fleshed out more and more as I work through the stories.

Dead Tube – Take 1: Action!

I’d heard whispers of this Horror Manga; about its gore and originality. But nothing quite prepared me for what I discovered in this first chapter of Dead Tube.

What is Dead Tube Take 1 about?

In it’s opening chapter, Dead Tube’s two central characters are introduced. These two people are Machiya Tomohiro – a second-year student and cameraman for the school film club, and Mashiro Mai – a second-year student and avid swimmer.

In the opening pages Mashiro asks Machiya to film her none-stop for two days. He accepts her invitation and begins filming her. It starts off innocently enough with him filming her during her normal swimming session. However, the extent of the filming starts to become apparent when she has him follow her to the bathroom and continue to record as nature takes its course.

Machiya films Mashiro as she sleeps

After filming her sleep at her request, they both step out into their second day of filming. Here she has him record every moment of her date with her apparent boyfriend. The big payoff then comes at the end of the day.

This is where Machiya discovers his film subject’s true intentions.

The date’s final climax.

Voyeurism and well-placed humour

This chapter is such a big tease throughout. It teased and teased, building up excellently to it’s big climax. I will not spoil the details of which here.

We are shown the story from the perspective of Machiya as he films constantly at Mashiro’s request. Many of the panels are very provocative too – very suggestive as to the high degree of sexuality coursing through this manga and its characters.

Mashiro is very provocative

There were times when I felt I shouldn’t be looking, like when she is being filmed whilst sat on the toilet. There are many things in this life that we keep private, or at least try to, and this is definitely one of them. But the playful tone of the story, along with the interesting contrast of the extroverted Mashiro and the heavily-introverted cameraman Machiya, kept pushing me through to the next pages.

And my gosh am I glad that I kept turning!

Not knowing this story at all, I was not ready for what would come in their second day of filming. But I have to say that the chapter’s ending completely blew me away. I could now tell that this was going to be a stunning Horror Manga series.

The humour was nice and subtle too. I remember Machiya seeing her undress in the locker room, revealing her body slowly to him, only to show that she’s already wearing her swimming costume beneath. Even this humour is tied to the story’s over-arching theme of voyeurism. Whilst not laugh-out-loud funny, the story did raise smiles in the right places.

In Summary

This opening chapter had me hooked on Dead Tube straight away. Its voyeuristic and playful tone touched parts of myself that feel shame, intrigue and excitement. The authors seem to have an expert handle on their story and know exactly the kind of story that they want to tell. I feel they will have an excellent grip on their readers’ emotions too.

This is going to be a story that wont let a single page or panel go to waste. I can tell.

I can’t wait to experience this journey in full over the coming weeks. And I really can’t wait to see how these characters develop further – especially cameraman Machiya.

1st Tragedy (Sacrifice) – Freak Island by Masaya Hokazono

From its very first page I could tell that Freak Island, also known as Kichikujima, was going to be a tough story. And from what I’ve read of it so far at the time of writing, I wasn’t wrong.

What is Freak Island – Sacrifice about?

We begin with a young woman lying in pain on a jungle floor — her bare foot caught in a bear trap. Screaming for pain and crying, nobody comes to help. In fact, only one person hears her: the towering beast of a man looking from behind her with a large blade in his hand. The woman pleads one last time but, as she raises her hands in defence, the figure — wearing a pig’s head as a mask — swings and removes all of her fingers at the knuckles.

Oh geez.

After the relaxing face of Franken Fran I just wasn’t ready for this level of brutality. But I’ve started so I’ll continue.

The Students notice something on the Island’s shoreline

Just off the coast of the island where these monstrous events are happening, a small pleasure boat sails by carrying six young students. These students are out in search of ruins on the island as part of a University expedition. Little do they know that the thought-to-be-deserted island they are approaching is in fact home to the violent destruction of a helpless young woman.

And probably many more people before her.

We get some time in the chapter to get to know these characters a little bit too. I found each had enough unique characteristics to help me remember them all long after I’d finished reading. Nothing too cartoonish, but they were individual enough. I have a tendency to get manga characters mixed up if there is a group of them.

Let’s hope these innocent students don’t find themselves stranded on this island…

No holds barred

I just loved the fact that this story pulled zero punches right from the start. There was no pretence of safety or the possibility of escape for the young woman. She was just brutally hacked to death by the pig-faced man with absolutely no remorse. Then when it came to our protagonists, the students, even they seemed disposable as one of them meets the sharp end of a hammer.

The Pig Man attacks someone with a hammer

This feels like it’s going to be a story where absolutely nobody is safe — even at this early stage. A story that will punish poor decisions by the characters, and punish them badly. Although it is sad to see beloved characters killed, sometimes it is refreshing to find a story that isn’t afraid to hold back.

No plot armour here, I fear.

I wanted to mention the level of detail in here too – especially when we see the wider panels of the island and its shoreline. There is a high level of detail put into the scenes that really drew me in. This really helped to set the scene for me and seemed to make the violence feel all the more visceral.

In Summary

Horror Manga in its very nature has the expectation of being violent, or at the very least mildly disturbing, but Freak Island pulls you straight into the heart of its violence from the start. And if you don’t like what you see in this opening chapter, then it’s probably wise for you to stop reading there.

I fear it’s going to get a hell of a lot worse for our heroes before there’s any hope of it getting better.

Brains – Franken Fran part 1 by Kigitsu Katsuhisa

Franken Fran is one of the most kind-hearted people in all of the Horror Manga stories I have read so far. Despite her appearance and the acts that she performs, she remains friendly and always driven to help those in need of it.

I have only read the first ten chapters or so, but thought I’d go back to the very start and write my thoughts on each.

What is Brains about?

In Brains, we get our first glimpse into the world of Franken Fran; into the strange mansion in the woods and the creatures that live within. We are brought here on our maiden voyage by two men. These men appear at the door of the mansion in search of Professor Madaraki. However, they are greeted by a strangely attractive young woman who looks to have been patched together in a Frankenstein fashion.

But despite her bolts and stitches she is still quite an attractive woman.

Her name is Fran.

Franken Fran

On hearing one of the men tell the story of him losing his son in a car accident, she is compelled to help. You see, Professor Madaraki is rumoured to possess the ability to bring the dead back to life. This is what the man desires more than anything. However, due to the Professor being away at this time, Fran jumps forward to offer her own skills – skills that have been passed down to her.

Reluctantly, they accept Fran’s offer just as they are running fearfully from the mansion. However, the grieving father’s story may not be as honest as he presented to Fran, and that deception may just be his undoing as she begins to make good on her promise.

Humour and Gore

Within the first few pages of this first chapter, one thing that jumped out at me was the great sense of humour that the creator has. Just the simple act of having Fran’s eyeball fall out mid conversation and seeing the men’s reaction of horror as she picks it up out of the tea.

I heard rumors of Professor Madaraki

The banter between Fran and the lion boy was great too. They seem to have an interesting push / pull teasing kind of relationship that I look forward to see being expanded upon in the future chapters.

I loved how detailed the gore was too. The surprise panel I turned over too – of her pulling the brain out of the man’s head, his eyes sunken back yet still alive. This was a level that I wasn’t expecting having been through the relatively calm and charming opening pages.

In Summary

I absolutely loved this story and its characters from its very opening pages. Fran is such a unique character with charm and grace, a great sense of humour and wicked skills with a scalpel.

I already feel at this early stage of my journey through Franken Fran’s world, that it’s going to be a layered, funny and often brutal look at a girl who just wants to help people.

Well, It wasn’t quite what I was hoping for

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.