Tomie (film series)

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Tomie
Tomie series collection.jpg
DVD set containing the first 5 films.
Directed by Ataru Oikawa
Toshirō Inomata
Fujirō Mitsuishi
Takashi Shimizu
Shun Nakahara
Tomohiro Kubo
Noboru Iguchi
Produced by Yasuhiko Azuma
Naotada Itô
Yasuhiko Higashi
Tôru Ishii
Mikihiko Hirata
Gen Satô
Written by Ataru Oikawa
Satoru Tamaki
Yoshinobu Fujioka
Tomohiro Kubo
Jun Tsugita
Noboru Iguchi
Starring Miho Kanno
Runa Nagai
Mai Hosho
Miki Sakai
Nozomi Andô
Rio Matsumoto
Anri Ban
Yu Abiru
Emiko Matsuoka
Miu Nakamura
Release date(s) Tomie
March 6, 1999
Tomie: Another Face
December 26, 1999
Tomie: Replay
February 11, 2000
Tomie: Re-birth
March 24, 2001
Tomie: Forbidden Fruit
June 29, 2002
Tomie: Beginning
April 9, 2005
Tomie: Revenge
April 16, 2005
Tomie vs. Tomie
November 17, 2007
Tomie: Unlimited
May 14, 2011
Running time 788 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese

Tomie (富江?) is a Japanese horror film series based on Junji Ito's manga of the same name. It is the longest running Japanese horror series to date, consisting of nine installments.

The series focuses on the titular Tomie Kawakami, a beautiful girl identified by a mole under her left eye, who drives her stricken admirers to madness, often resulting in her own death. However, due to her ability of regeneration, she comes back to life to terrorize her killers.

Each cell of her body has the ability to generate into a full grown independent body, causing several copies of her to be created after each of her deaths. It is unknown how many copies of Tomie exist in the world although in the most recent movie, Tomie: Unlimited, Tomie is shown walking through the streets of Japan, with most of the women she passes by also being Tomie.[1]

Junji Ito has expressed his support for the films, often attending premieres and even personally picking out the actress Miho Kanno for the role of Tomie in the first film and coaching her for the audition.[2][3]

Films[edit]

Tomie (1999)[edit]

Main article: Tomie (film)

The film opens with the police investigating the murder of high school girl Tomie Kawakami (Miho Kanno). They learn that in the months following the crime, nine students and one teacher have either committed suicide or gone insane. The detective assigned to the case (Tomoro Taguchi) learns that three years prior another Tomie Kawakami was murdered in rural Gifu prefecture. Other slain Tomie Kawakami's are discovered stretching all the way back to the 1860s, right when Japan began to modernize. The detective tracks down one of Tomie's classmates called Tsukiko (Mami Nakamura), an art student who is being treated for amnesia. She has absolutely no memory of the three-month period around Tomie's death. Meanwhile, Tsukiko's neighbor (Kota Kusano) is rearing a peculiar baby-like creature. Over the span of a couple weeks, it grows into a beautiful teenaged girl with orange eyes responding to the name of Tomie Kawakami.

Soon afterwards Tomie begins seducing Tsukiko's boyfriend Yuuichi (Kouta Kusano). Meanwhile, Tskuiko enters her new neighbor's apartment to investigate. Upon discovering her friend's dead body, she is attacked by her landlord and passes out due to asphyxiation. She wakes up in her psychiatrist's office and encounters Tomie. Tomie starts emotionally abusing Tsukiko and tries feeding her live cockroaches. She then begins taking group selfies with her. Soon thereafter, Tsukiko's boyfriend murders Tomie. As they go bury Tomie's headless body in the woods, she comes back to life and Tsukiko runs off further into the woods and finds herself on a boat dock. Tomie then appears once again, now fully regenerated, and kisses Tsukiko on the lips. They both begin laughing as Tsukiko lights a flare and sets Tomie on fire.

Tsukiko is now shown leading a normal life, still taking photographs and being interested in art. One day as she goes to develop a picture she took of herself, she notices a mole under her left eye she didn't have before; the same kind of mole Tomie had. Tsukiko then looks at herself in the mirror in shock as Tomie appears, smiling.

Tomie: Another Face (1999)[edit]

Main article: Tomie: Another Face

This sequel was a set of three episodes released straight-to-video. In the first episode, Tomie (Runa Nagai) is introduced as a high school student whose body has just been found on the street with several piles of garbage. She comes back to reunite with her former boyfriend, whose ex-girlfriend is considering starting over with as he had previously left her for Tomie. Meanwhile, a man wearing a trench coat and an eye patch is following Tomie and photographing her. The ex-girlfriend exposes Tomie's true nature on the school's rooftop to the boyfriend and in the end, Tomie is thrown from the roof. The two go to bury her in the woods in a deep grave and begin making plans to conceal their work, but as they walk to school in the morning Tomie is miraculously there to confront them.

The second episode focuses on a photographer who has lost his passion for photography but regains it when he finds Tomie, this time a model/dancer of a sort at a bar. She resembles the girl from his past who gave him that passion, and proceeds to take several photos of her with her permission. The man with the eye patch is still following Tomie during the photoshoots. While Tomie is sleeping in the photographer's bed, he develops the photographs only to find that each one has two faces: Tomie's face and a ghoul's face nearby. Convinced it is not his lens, he tells Tomie this and she tells him to kill her to prove she is not a ghost. If she was a ghost, she could not die. Naturally, she does die, but when the photographer is transporting her body in his car she comes back to life and scares him out of the car. His running takes him to the place where he saw the girl from his past, and he discovers that both are Tomie when the previously dead Tomie appears behind him. He falls to his death from the cliff and the previously dead Tomie stands at his body, grinning and making a V sign while the Tomie from his past takes their picture.

The final episode has Tomie as a young woman likely in her early to mid-20s, about to be proposed to by her boyfriend. She is later nearly attacked by the man with the eye patch and sends her boyfriend to kill this man in order to prove his love for her. During his showdown with the man, the boyfriend is tasered into submission and we find out the trench coat wearing man, named Oota, is a former coroner for the police department, and Tomie was one of the bodies he had to perform an autopsy on. She stabbed his eye out in the process and crawled away. Oota shows the boyfriend several other crime scene photographs; all are of Tomie, killed in various places and ways. For losing Tomie's body he was fired, and his wife left him and took their children. For ruining his life, Oota seeks a way to kill Tomie once and for all. He tells the boyfriend to call him if he also seeks a way to kill Tomie. The boyfriend later wakes up in a park, with Tomie asking him where he's been. After finding out he didn't kill Oota, Tomie throws his engagement ring on the ground and walks away. We see the boyfriend take out his knife and follow Tomie. Later, he contacts Oota and brings Tomie's body to an incinerator where Oota is waiting. Tomie's body lies in the back of his van but she is not dead - the boyfriend says he could never kill her. Oota manages to get her body into the incinerator and burns it successfully, but her ashes soon gather together and create her face in the air before Oota. She tells him she will never die and that every single one of her ashes will become a new Tomie.

Tomie: Replay (2000)[edit]

Main article: Tomie: Replay

Tomie: Replay contains elements of the manga chapter Basement. The film begins with a six-year-old girl being rushed into a hospital ER with an unusually distended stomach. Doctors begin to operate and find a disembodied head, Tomie's head, alive and growing inside the girl's belly. The head is placed in a tank of alkaline solution in the basement of the hospital for further observation. Soon after, all five of the hospital workers present during the operation mysteriously leave the hospital or disappear entirely, including hospital Director Morita.

Meanwhile, a few nights later, Takeshi visits his friend Fumihito, who is recovering from some ailment in his hospital room. While visiting, Takeshi is confronted by a naked Tomie (Mai Hosho), now fully grown and escaped from the basement, who asks him to get her out of there. Takeshi takes Tomie to his apartment, and leaves Fumihito by himself, with no explanation. Later, Fumihito calls Takeshi to find out why he left. Takeshi reacts very defensively and irrationally, telling Fumihito that "Tomie belongs to me," already under Tomie's evil and seductive influence.

The next morning, Yumi, Director Morita's daughter, visits the hospital in search of her father, missing since the operation. She meets Dr. Tachibana, the only doctor present during the young girl's operation who hasn't yet left the hospital. Tachibana gives Yumi a journal recently written by her father, and soon after giving it to her he kills himself. Through the journal we learn that during the operation, Director Morita and another doctor were accidentally infected with Tomie's blood, and that through that blood Tomie is regenerating within the doctors, taking over their bodies and driving them mad. Yumi reads in her father's journal about him wanting to kill a girl named "Tomie".

Later, Yumi and Fumihito meet at a party and realize they are both looking for a girl named "Tomie". They join forces to find out what happened to Yumi's father, and to Fumihito's friend.

The next day, Yumi visits the family of the six-year-old girl who had had the operation. She learns that prior to that operation, the girl had received a kidney transplant from a girl named "Tomie". From this kidney, Tomie had begun to regenerate inside the girl's body. Meanwhile, Fumihito visits his friend Takeshi, who had gone mad after killing and decapitating Tomie in a fit of jealousy, then watching her come back to life, regenerating a new head. Takeshi soon after is committed to a mental hospital, and Fumihito becomes Tomie's new prey.

That night Yumi has a short and strange run-in with her missing father, during which he babbles about needing to kill Tomie. The following day his dead body is discovered in the hospital basement, bloated and deformed. At his funeral Yumi receives a note from Tomie, asking to meet her that night at the hospital, seemingly for a final showdown. Yumi arrives at the hospital to find Tomie there to taunt her, and Fumihito, now under Tomie's spell, there apparently to kill her. At the last minute Fumihito decides to kill Tomie instead, chopping off her head and burning the remains. Yumi and Fumihito leave the hospital in relief.

Tomie: Re-birth (2001)[edit]

Main article: Tomie: Re-birth

An artist named Hideo is painting his girlfriend Tomie (Miki Sakai), but she dismisses it as a poor painting and he kills her in a jealous rage with an art knife and his two friends Shunsuke and Takumi help him bury her. When the three friends are at a party Tomie shows up and the artist kills himself in the bathroom. Tomie latches onto Shunsuke and his mother kills Tomie and they cut her up together in an unnatural ecstasy. They then burn her head, which has already started to regenerate and has some crude limbs for locomotion. The portrait of Tomie allows for her regeneration, as her supernatural blood mixed with the pigments. Takumi's girlfriend Hitomi gets possessed by Tomie, in a rather viral fashion. In a fit of jealousy, the two Tomies try to eliminate the other. Hitomi doesn't want to become a monster, and so they decide to commit suicide. However, when at a waterfall, about to commit suicide, Tomie's head grows on the side of Hitomi's neck next to her head. They all die and then Takumi's sister comes and throws flowers into the water. A small facial mole can be seen directly beneath the sister's left eye, suggesting that, because Takumi gave her the portrait of Tomie, she was also possessed by her. Thus, the sister is the newest Tomie.

Tomie: Forbidden Fruit (2002)[edit]

Tomie Hashimoto (Aoi Miyazaki) is a dreamy teen who writes homo-erotic horror fiction in which she imagines herself as Ann Bathory, vampire. Introspective and lonely, she is picked on and bullied by her classmates at school, and lives alone with her loving, but distant widower father, Kazuhiko Hashimoto. One day, while admiring an ornate, jewel encrusted cross necklace in an antiquities shop, Tomie meets a strange, beautiful girl (Nozomi Ando) with a mole under her left eye. The mysterious stranger says her name is Tomie Kawakami. The girls become fast friends (with heavy lesbian undertones), but it soon becomes clear that theirs was not a chance meeting. Tomie Kawakami has an agenda, and it involves Kazuhiko.

It is revealed Kazuhiko was involved in a relationship with Tomie many years ago which resulted in her being murdered. However, Kazuhiko was still obsessed with Tomie and even named his own daughter after her. Tomie is back to terrorize his family and tries to convince Kazuhiko to murder his daughter. Kazuhiko ends up murdering and decapitating the other Tomie, and throws her head into a nearby river. His daughter, Tomie Hashimoto discovers the talking head and nurses Tomie K. back to health as she regenerates but ends up killing her. She and her father ultimately end up freezing Tomie into a block of ice to prevent her from regenerating and coming back to life, but after hearing the frozen Tomie's pleas and cries Kazuhiko ends up breaking the block of ice and setting Tomie free. Tomie Kawakami then attacks the other Tomie but gets defeated, which results in Kazuhiko locking his daughter into a freezer room. The morning after, Tomie Hashimoto is discovered by a worker from the ice sculpture company. Tomie is now shown living alone, with her father missing, albeit thankful because she believes he tried to save her from the other Tomie, which is the reason he teamed up with her and abandoned his daughter.

Tomie then goes to her room and continues to write her fanfiction. She writes: "Ann and Mary are friends again, there'll be no issues this time. Ann will raise her to be a real friend, a friend whom she can depend on". Tomie then opens her desk drawer and looks at a dismembered, regenerating ear. She mutters the words "...a real friend".

Tomie: Beginning (2005)[edit]

Main article: Tomie: Beginning

This straight-to-video movie is a prequel to the rest of the series, shot on HD, and based on the first Tomie manga by Junji Ito. It deals with the chain of events that occurred right before the first film takes place. Tomie (Rio Matsumoto) shows up as a transfer student at a high school, quickly enchanting all the males, and raising the ire of the females. As is often the case in the Tomie films, she fixates on one solitary girl whom she befriends, with overt lesbian overtones. She displays all of her typical powers, and it isn't long before the murders and madness begin. In this movie we are introduced to the teacher who promises to kill her no matter how many times he has to do the "favor" as well as the eye-patch-wearing boy of the first movie in the series.

Tomie: Revenge (2005)[edit]

Main article: Tomie: Revenge

Another home-video release shot on HD, this one partly based on the Tomie manga "Revenge" by Junji Ito. This time round, Tomie is played by Anri Ban. The story revolves around a young, female doctor (Hisako Shirata), and an unidentified naked woman she runs down on the road one night. In her search for the wounded girl (who has a mole under her left eye) the doctor ends up in an abandoned house filled with bodies, madmen and an unconscious girl. Surely Tomie is not too far away...

Tomie vs Tomie (2007)[edit]

Main article: Tomie vs Tomie

Partially based on the manga "The Gathering." A young man with a past begins work in a factory, where he attracts the amorous attention of a mysterious woman who lurks behind the scenes. He is a relatively unique young man, perhaps a genetic one-off, in that he feels no particular attraction to Tomie. This of course intrigues Tomie, and she begins to become obsessed with him. Soon, he is caught in a vicious struggle between two rival Tomies. And neither Tomie will die.

Tomie: Unlimited (2011)[edit]

Main article: Tomie: Unlimited

Tsukiko (Moe Arai) is a member of the photography club in high school. On her way home with friend Yoshie (Aika Ota), Tsukiko runs into older sister Tomie (Miu Nakamura) who goes to the same high school. Tomie is also with Toshio (Kensuke Owada) - a guy Tsukiko has a secret crush on. Tsukiko is consumed with fierce jealousy over her sister, but at the same time is intoxicated with Tomie's beauty. Tsukiko keeps pressing the trigger on her camera. At that time Tomie tells her sister that she knows what she is feeling. When Tsukiko stops taking pictures, Tomie is crushed by a steel cross that falls from a building under construction. One year later, Tsukiko still suffers nightmares over her sister's death. Slowly, her daily life returns to some sense of normalcy. On Tomie's 18th birthday, her parents and Tsukiko stand around a birthday cake in her honor. At that time someone knocks on their door. Tomie stands in the doorway with her beauty shining even more brightly. Her parents are delighted to see Tomie and welcomes her back with tears pouring out. Meanwhile, Tsukiko stands there unable to believe what is transpiring.

Tomie manages to get her father (Kouichi Ohori) to whip Tsukiko across the back with a steam iron cable as punishment. Tomie's behavior starts becoming increasingly bizarre as she shows Tsukiko the scar on her neck that begins to evolve into a talking tumor. This scares Tsukiko and she calls Tomie a "monster". Offended, Tomie decides to leave but is prevented from doing so when her father stabs and kills her with a butcher knife. The next morning, Tsukiko witnesses her mother Kimiko (Maiko Kawakami) and father Masashishi dismembering Tomie's body in the bathroom. Kimiko then disposes of Tomie's head by throwing it away in the trash bin and goes to prepare Tsukiko's school lunch, accidentally dropping several chunks of Tomie's flesh and hair in it. At school, Tsukiko notices a girl who looks exactly like her dead sister walk into class. Later on, during lunch break, Tsukiko opens her lunch pack and sees several miniature Tomie heads in it. She runs off and throws the lunch pack into the trash. When her friend Yoshie goes to look for Tsukiko, she hears noises in the trash and leans over to investigate. Suddenly, the miniature Tomie heads appear and suffocate Yoshie with their abnormally long tongues, killing her. Meanwhile at home, Tomie's head rises from the trash bin and convinces her father to kill his wife and feed her to her. Back at school, Tsukiko encounters Yoshie with a tumor on her neck and runs off in panic. When Yoshie enters the Judo club's room while looking for Tsukiko, she is decapitated by the members who mistook her head for the tumor's. Her headless body comes back to life and starts chasing the Judo club members. Tsukiko then walks into Toshio stabbing Tomie's body, and a new Tomie forms out of the blood and begins kissing Toshio. Tsukiko kills Toshio and runs off into a locker room and encounters several versions of Tomie.

Just as she is about to be cornered by the Tomies, she wakes up in her bed. Her parents inform her that she is an only child and that she never had a sister. Tsukiko sighs in relief, believing she just had a bad nightmare which proves to be false when her father starts eating hair and her mother's head appears to be upside down. Her mother chases her with a knife but is attacked by a carnivorous centipede made out of Tomie's heads. Tsukiko runs upstairs and encounters Toshio and Yoshie who tell her that they never liked her and were pretending to be her friends all along. She pushes them down the stairs and they are both attacked by the centipedes. Tsukiko then encounters a giant Tomie head in her living room, and after a brief conversation the Tomie centipedes begin crawling over her. Finally, Tsukiko is shown walking out of the house, resembling Tomie. As she walks through the streets of Japan, she observes other women she passes by, many of them also being Tomie. She walks up to a man, smiling, and is then shown being murdered by him in an apartment. Lying on the floor, she looks at a mirror and Tomie's reflection asks her "Are you happy now, Tsukiko?"

Casting[edit]

Tomie is played by a different actress in each film, and the role is as coveted by Japanese actresses as Emmanuelle is in France. As such, this changing roster of faces has allowed for a range of interpretations and subtle shading to the part, the most popular being Miho Kanno and Miki Sakai. Miho Kanno was Junji Ito's own personal choice for the role; he apparently coached her in preparing for her audition, even suggesting she wear Tomie's trademark mole under her left eye.

Comparison with the source material[edit]

The films manage to recreate the atmosphere of the manga. Most of the stories occur during the dark of night for its sense of eeriness, and the films generally follow suit.

Tomie's sexuality in the films is more ambiguous. In the manga, Tomie's attitude towards other women seems to range between thinly veiled hostility and outright murderous rage, while the film incarnation is known to seduce women as well as men.

References[edit]

External links[edit]