What can one say about the “Tomie” series of manga from renowned horror artist Junji Ito? Well, for starters, we can say that it is another in the list of items that prove Ito has a terrifying, terrifying mind. Don’t get me wrong! That’s a good thing, in the context of this review, assuming that you are, of course, a horror fan.
Ito’s character, Tomie, is a beautiful teenage girl who is a relentless seductress, able to bend nearly any man to her will. She is rather sick of both mind and heart, and genuinely enjoys twisting a man’s very soul in knots as she makes him long for her more and more. The twist is that although Tomie’s powers allow her to push men as far as to even commit murder, she herself is nearly always the victim.
It is a twisted tale that is told and retold again and again, different each time, as Tomie simply refuses to die no matter how brutally her lovers destroy her body.
Each “chapter” in this Complete Deluxe Edition is an individual story with new characters, new victims, new deaths, and occasionally even new information into Tomie’s powers, although some of the stories do lead into one another, with a lucky character or two managing to survive long enough to show up multiple times. The brutality is kicked off right from the opening story, but it definitely gets significantly more brutal, more grotesque, and more disturbing as the series goes on. Murder scenes are not lacking in blood and gore, and Ito does not shy away from uncomfortable subjects. In other words, this is not a series that is for the weak of stomach or the easily offended.
As with Ito’s other works, the artwork is absolutely gorgeous, even during – and possibly especially during – the most disgusting of scenes. The scripting is well-compiled, easy to read, and spine-chilling, to say the least. There is a great deal of mystery as to Tomie’s origins, the source of her powers, and so on, but little tidbits are given here and there to propel the reader forward. By the end of the series, honestly, you haven’t learned all that much, but in a way you don’t really care, because what you’ve consumed was plenty satisfying. The end of the series – without spoiling it, of course – leaves you extremely curious, perhaps wanting more, but also does have a strange feeling of finality to it that is, for lack of a better word, acceptable.
“Tomie“‘s enchanting, mystifying, and horrifying allure will definitely drag you in, making you want more and more, just like her victims in the stories. As with Ito’s other stories, Uzumaki and Gyo, this is a page-turner that is extremely difficult to put down. If not for the many distractions of everyday life – as well as the desire to slow down and enjoy the beautiful artwork – I’m certain I would have breezed through the entire book in a single sitting.
If you are a fan of horror comics, and especially if you’re a fan of Asian horror, I highly recommend Ito’s “Tomie” series. It is a classic in every sense of the word, both in terms of body horror and genuine, flat-out creep-factor. I also highly recommend reading the manga first if you’re thinking about checking out any of the “Tomie” films, of which there have been several based on this amazing series.
Want to check out Tomie by Junji Ito for yourself? Click right here to order the Complete Deluxe Edition!
Already read it? Feel free to share your own thoughts in the comment section below!