The ninth episode of “Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre,” titled “Tomie: Photo” belongs to Junji Ito’s famous work, “Tomie,” and the character Tomie has two more volumes under her belt, namely “Tomie: Part 2” and “Tomie: Again.” Tomie is one of Junji Ito’s favorite characters, and she also appears in Souichi’s chapters as well. The manga of this episode began with the scene where Tomie walks in the rain toward a family of a daughter and father who lived in a mansion and asks to be let in as she was absolutely drenched. As she enters the mansion, the scene cuts, and the anime picks up from her first day at school.
In “Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre” Episode 9, Tsukiko Izumisawa is a photographer who is a part of the photo club at her school. She takes pictures of boys her friends or classmates like, and she then sells those pictures to those girls for a hefty price. Tsukiko has even set up a business where she earns profits each day; however, when she was taking photos of Yamazaki, her handsome senior, for herself, she was caught by the newly transferred girl, Tomie Kawakami. Tomie had recently transferred to this school after her previous school had slaughtered her and then isolated her new form. In “Tomie: Tomie,” the first chapter of the volume “Tomie” this story is a continuation of the first chapter as some of the characters recur throughout the rest of the other chapters, providing a sense of continuation. Tomie is a very recognizable character in Junji Ito’s universe. She is presented as an alluring young girl, vaguely in her teens, with a small face and a petite build. Her distinctive feature is the mole she has under her left eye.
After she transferred to the new school, she quickly climbed through the ranks and became the head of the disciplinary committee, and she brainwashed two minions who were ready to act on her words: Taichi and Kimata. Tomie’s new prey were Tsukiko and Yamazaki, and thus she set out to trap Tsukiko first. While Tsukiko was selling her pictures to Chiyo and Maa as per their commission, Tomie arrived out of nowhere and, with the help of Taichi, snatched Tsukiko’s bag and confiscated all of the photographs, including the negatives. She takes the pictures and offers not to snitch her out to the teachers. Chiyo and Maa had taken Tsukiko’s side in order to stop Tomie from taking away her photographs, although in vain; therefore, they simply warned Tsukiko and told her to be on guard. They gave her the example of Hayashi, who had been suspended earlier due to Tomie, and asked her not to trust Tomie. As Tsukiko was hanging out in her class, all of a sudden, Yamazuki arrived at the door of her classroom, asking her to take a picture of Tomie as he fell for her at first glance. He had only seen her on the day Tomie had caught Tsukiko taking his pictures, and since then, something about her had simply made him fall in love with her. Tsukiko leaves with her camera to capture some pictures of Tomie, and while she takes her pictures somewhat discreetly, Tomie notices her, so she immediately poses for her. Tsukiko tells her that she should be a model, and Tomie asks her to name the price she would sell her pictures. Tomie even goes so far as to tell her to scatter her picture throughout the campus while Tsukiko clicks some more shots. As Tsukiko informs her that she will sell Tomie’s pictures for 100,000 yen, Mr. Tani, a teacher at their school, catches Tsukiko naming her price and is furious with her. He questioned the morals of the Photo Club, which has now resorted to selling pictures, while Tsukiko realized that she had been set up by Tomie, and she resigned from the club and told Mr. Tani to either suspend or expel her. She gets told off by the principal of their school and is handed a suspension, while Tomie congratulates Mr. Tani on his actions.
In the manga, during her suspension, Tsukiko goes out herself to pick up the developed photos and checks them in disbelief as she returns home. However, in the anime, her mother picks up the pictures for her, and as she checks the pictures, she jumps out of her chair, terrified of the grotesque images where Tomie looks demonic in each and every picture, with extra faces protruding at various angles. She then, according to Tomie’s wishes, throws the grotesque pictures from a window at her school in an attempt to scatter them the very next day. Tomie becomes the talk of the school once everyone looks at them, while Tomie herself becomes furious at such an insult, and she orders Kimata and Taichi to kill Tsukiko. Yamazaki had also fallen prey to her spell because, as he saved Tsukiko from Tomie’s minions, he himself attempted to murder her. He used a cord to strangle her, while Tsukiko used a bottle of developing solution to attack his eyes and escape from him. While Yamazaki writhed in pain, Tsukiko quickly made her escape and rushed back to her home. Her mother asked for her whereabouts as her suspension was still not over; she also reprimanded her for misbehaving while telling her that she would let Tsukiko’s father straighten her out after he returned from his trip. In the anime, her mother informs her that she will be with Tsukiko’s father till his trip ends, while in the manga, she informs Tsukiko that she will be visiting her grandfather; anyway, she will be out, and Tsukiko will have to live alone. In the manga, her mother announces Tomie’s arrival before leaving, and Tsukiko rushes to ask her mother to take her with her; however, she fails as Tomie informs her that her mother had left a while ago. Tsukiko pushed Tomie away from the door and closed it right after she opened it and witnessed Taichi and Kimata standing outside. Agitated, Tsukiko asks Tomie why both of the boys are here, to which Tomie replies that they are her followers, and thus they’d followed her here. In the anime, Tomie walks right into her home and tells her that they need to talk.
Tomie offers food to Tsukiko as an apology for getting her suspended, while she laughs and denies giving any such order to kill Tsukiko to her followers. She also suggests that Yamazaki must have tried to kill her because of his insatiable love for her. She also denies any involvement in her suspension, as Tsukiko scorned her claim of her suspension and the teacher being present while she took her pictures as mere coincidences. Tomie then shifts her attention to the pictures mounted on the wall as she takes notice of Gaudi’s architecture. She proceeds to tell Tomie about her history, as she claims to have been born in France and that her family used to stay in a beautiful mansion in the center of Barcelona, Spain before they moved to Japan. She claimed that the mansion was designed by Gaudi and that her grandfather had met Picasso; they even had a picture together. Her mother had been a famous actress, and she had loved that house. She then proceeds to ask Tsukiko to visit her mansion here and that they would meet Tomie’s father as well as he was asking about Tsukiko. Tsukiko quickly declines her offer and instead accuses her of having mythomania, which is an illness that causes compulsive lying. Tsukiko’s saccharine responses, where she calls her a liar, accuses her of having an illness, and also calls her monstrous and hideous, make Tomie livid as she loses control of her body.
Tomie hyperventilates as her body starts mutating, and another head protrudes from her head as she cries out in pain. Tsukiko immediately tries escaping after witnessing such an appalling sight; however, she gets captured and tied to her table by Taichi and Kimata. Tomie then orders both of the boys to do something about the protrusion as she tells them to get it off her and burn it. Taichi immediately finds a knife and starts hacking through the other face so that he can get it off; however, even with the help of Kimata, they are unable to get the other face-off, and instead, they behead her. They realize that they have straight-up murdered Tomie and intend to make sure that nobody has seen them do so. However, a tied-up Tsukiko was still present there. As they contemplate what to do with Tsukiko, they also confess to luring her to the mansion to get the job done with her and killing her there. The other head on Tomie’s head wakes up and starts addressing the two boys, telling them to hurry up and burn her head, and thus they leave Tsukiko alone to carry out their mistress’s orders. The entire ordeal took a toll on Tsukiko, as she fainted and, when she came to, witnessed the strangest sight. The beheaded body of Tomie stands up as a new head starts emerging. She quickly tries to walk away and go outside while constantly laughing through her moves. Tsukiko later switches on the lights, and she contemplates cleaning while she still cannot believe her eyes. Tsukiko’s only regret throughout this ordeal was the destruction of her photos.
The first introductory scene in the manga is an important one because, while Tomie recounts her tales of Gaudi, Picasso, Spain, and France, she isn’t necessarily lying. She had, in fact, taken the place of the daughter of the family introduced at the beginning, and the father was replaced by a man who suspiciously looked like Satoru Takagi, her teacher from the previous school. The two were masquerading as the father and the daughter; therefore, the memories that Tomie was talking about were, in fact, the memories of the daughter and had some truth in them. The stories with Tsukiko continue on for another two chapters, “Tomie: Kiss” and “Tomie: Mansion.” Tomie is a unique being; she has the power of cell regeneration, as any detached part of her body can regenerate another body in a matter of days. She has the qualities of a hydra, where if she is destroyed in any way other than fire, she will be able to regenerate and also form countless clones. She can only be destroyed properly by cremation, as she mentioned to Taichi and Kimata while ordering them to take care of her head. She also has the qualities of a succubus, as the men fall for her within seconds of seeing her. Her lilting voice has a little siren’s tune tangled into it as it attracts the other gender even more. She also has a mean streak and can drive her own lovers to kill her at any point; however, she does feel pain. She is also depicted as a vain character who is very egoistic about her looks, which is why she urges Tsukiko to take her pictures and also challenges her to scatter them through their school. However, she is quite easy to anger, as the words “monstrous” and “hideous” and mentioning that she might be ill in the head are a direct insult to her narcissism. She considers herself to be the most intelligent and beautiful woman to ever exist, so she loses her calm if a person suggests otherwise. Her loss of calm would result in her body mutating in very weird places, thus marring her beauty. The scene in the anime where Tomie’s body heads out Tsukiko’s place with a barely there protruding head was especially chilling with the soundtrack in the background really emphasizing the laugh and her walk. The manga was chilling with its imagery; however, the anime takes the first place with the petrifying soundtrack to boot.