Tomie Collection by Junji Ito

Tomie is one of the most iconic characters in all of Horror Manga. I’m surprised it has taken me twenty odd posts to actually write about her here.

Who is Tomie?

Tomie is an attractive young girl, who makes those around her become completely infatuated with her – men for the most part. These people become obsessed past the point of love, and develop the strong urge to kill her and cut her up. When she does get cut up, each of those parts has the power to regenerate. What this results in is many different versions of Tomie being created – all identical to the last. I will keep referring to her as a single person, but remember that we don’t know how many of them actually exist.

She is a girl who is easy to hate most of the time too. She is very spoilt and is highly demanding on the men who fall for her charms. Tomie will demand the finest foods; expensive jewellery; fancy clothes. Then no sooner has she drawn them in, she discards them. This then tends to be what tips those unfortunate people over the edge of sanity.

Tomie’s origin is never revealed in any of the stories. I assumed the Tomie in the first story to be the original – but that can’t be confirmed. Also, the fact that she becomes duplicated in a number of the stories, means that her future is a wide array of ongoing tales. These are separate lives that themselves may split apart into fresh ones any day.

A deadly legacy

Tomie is a girl whose reputation tends to precede her in the world of Horror Manga. Many people who enjoy the genre have at least heard of her name. Although there was this already-familiar feeling before I read about her, some things still caught me off guard. This girl really has no moral boundaries and really will do anything to anyone in order to amuse herself.

The stories that we follow her through really do an exceptional job at fleshing out the world in which she lives too. Although we are seeing different copies of her throughout the various stories, I always felt like I was following one person – one unified dark force that is slowly staining the world as she grows larger and larger in numbers.

She is Legion: for she is many.

Exploring the stories of Tomie

With each of the stories I read, I was constantly surprised at how inventive the artist and writer, Junji Ito, was with her various “adventures”. He pulls no punches with where he takes the character. It’s also interesting to see him develop as an artist throughout the course of Tomie’s many lives.

There are twenty stories about Tomie at the time of writing. I didn’t want to have one overarching article about the whole collection, as I believe there are many interesting places of discussion throughout the stories. So for the first time on this website, I thought I’d tackle each separate chapter on its own.

I invite you to follow me as I explore my own thoughts on each of the stories of Tomie along with a brief synopsis of the storyline. This will begin next Friday (Friday 11th May) with the very first chapter in the saga that is Tomie.