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Junji Ito's Tomie Review

Junji Ito Tomie Poster

Junji Ito's Tomie was first released in 1997 and, since then, has received widespread success among almost every manga reader. You can easily say this is his magnum opus. This might have been the one that established his legacy as the king of horror manga.

The series spanned for just three years, from 1997 until 2000.

For most of the series, the story is centered on the titular character, Tomie Kawakami. You can imagine she is the prettiest being on earth. She is like a succubus. She has an incredible charm that makes men of all ages get attracted to her. She wiggles her way into their lives, either physically or mentally. Most of the time, she drives other people crazy, especially men, that sometimes kill each other for her. Some women were forced into insanity, while others could resist the temptation. In almost every chapter, Tomie has killed brutality only to spawn again in another location either by transplant, body regeneration, etc. It has been mentioned in the story that to eradicate her existence; one must burn her body to ashes. If a small body part survives, she will regenerate

Tomie's 20-chapter manga is carefully divided to showcase what horror she could bring to everyone's lives. Each chapter presents us what's her abilities. At some point in the story, we witness that she can regenerate body parts and clone herself when she gets chopped up.

Tomie's character attracts violence as well. Not only do men try to kill each other just to get a chance to touch her or be close to her, but sometimes she gets murdered as well. This is the part that I don't quite get in the story if she wants to end her life or split it so she can regenerate somewhere. But violence is the leading tone of the whole manga. It perfectly shows how people, despite their gender, are fragile when they desire something or someone that should be beyond their means.

The scary thing about this manga is not the story itself but Junji Ito's brilliant, imaginative characterization of Tomie Kawakami. Her standard form is definitely more beautiful than scary, but whenever someone gets killed because of her, you know that the person will meet a gruesome death. In some ways, their body is so unrecognizable that you must look away for a minute to ingest the event.

I certainly don't want to know how Junji Ito imagines those gruesome images in his mind, but he's a genius. His drawing is like Tomie's; you get drawn to it and get awe by its beauty. Maybe the story is a microcosm of his imaginative and creative talents.

The only thing I find similar to his works is the way the horror is never-ending. Tomie has an open-ended finale that goes nowhere except for her to torment of other people's lives.

Overall, I really liked Tomie. It has a unique and horrific art style. Its story is told in an anthology-type format, so every chapter differs.

A solid 4 out of 5 stars

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