Junji Ito has created and drawn tons of monsters within his humongous catalog. Some will scare the shit out of you while others are just so disgusting to behold. But none of them are as interesting and surreal as Tomie.
There are so many things that make Tomie so unique and different not only to other creatures that Junji Ito has created, but also to other monsters in general.
So after reading the manga for the third time to figure out what kind of monster she really is, I finally found 15 characteristics that make Tomie so great and horrifying at the same time.
1. A bewitching beauty
Tomie is always depicted as a very enchanting girl with pale skin, big eyes, and jet black hair. Every man that laid eyes on her will be bewitched by her looks whether they want to or not.
And this effect will always work on male, no matter how old they are. From a little boy to an elderly gentleman, no men will be spared from falling head over heels to Tomie.
Tomie herself doesn’t seem to be able to control this power of hers. And while women could still be affected by this power, the effect won’t be as great as it is to men.
2. Uncapturable image
Strangely enough, the bewitching beauty of Tomie can never be captured, no matter how many people try to. Sure, lots of professional photographers, painters, and even sculptors have tried to create something to her likeness. But they would always end up dissatisfied by it.
As if there’s something crucial that is missing from their creation. So they would labor like mad men in order to depict the beauty of Tomie.
However, when they do craft something that they feel satisfied with, it would always end up looking like a disfigured image of a cursed woman that bears little to no resemblance to the real Tomie that we see.
3. Illogical love
Mad man. That is what falling in love with Tomie will turn men into. Their love for Tomie will grow bigger each day. From just a simple admiration from a distance to an obsessive and illogical love.
They will do anything if it means that they could get closer to Tomie and make her happy. They will leave their spouses, abandon their work, and even harm other people if need be.
And more often than not, Tomie will demand things from them. From buying expensive stuff to downright committing crimes and murder.
4. Superficial and Vain
Tomie is a picky girl. Every man loves her, but she would only pick the one that she considers to be the most handsome of them all as her lover. The other ones would simply be treated as her manservant.
And when she decided to get close to you, she would start to demand things. Expensive things. Gourmet cuisine, branded clothes, high-end jewelry, and all other superficial and vain stuff.
And she won’t take no for answers. You should give her what she wants and do what she said, or she will leave your poor ass.
5. An adept manipulator
Tomie is highly aware of her irresistible beauty and how men will do anything she wants. So she would manipulate all of those illogical dicks. She would constantly bark commands and there’s nothing you can do but be a good dog and comply.
And it’s not like this ability of hers only works on one man at a time. No, she could manipulate a whole crowd of men to do her biddings. And trust me, expensive stuff is only the beginning of what she would ask of you.
6. Inciting desire to slaughter
But just like Tomie’s desire would escalate, so does the intense love within those men’s hearts. They love her so badly that they would never let others get their hands on her. “Tomie is mine alone,” is what they would think.
Weirdly, their love and intention to keep Tomie to themselves will incite a burning desire to kill her. Not only to kill, but also to cut her up.
They would slash her limbs, her heads, her organs, every inch of her body, and then chopped it off into tiny little pieces. And they would be overcome with the feeling of ecstasy while doing it.
7. A humanoid flatworm
You can’t kill Tomie. Because she is not a normal human. If anything, she would be closer to a flatworm, or specifically a Planaria. An organism that would be able to regenerate themselves from lost limbs.
When you cut a planaria in half, sooner or later it would turn into two individual planaria. The more you cut it, the more each piece will grow into a new individual.
And that is exactly what will happen to Tomie. Whenever somebody kills and breaks apart her body, new Tomies will grow from those body parts.
8. Absurd regenerative ability
You can scatter her remains to the bottom of the lake, and it will grow back. You can dump her body parts to the middle of a freezing mountain, it will still grow back.
You can leave her blood on the floor, and it will freaking grow back into a new Tomie.Even when those parts have been washed out to the other side of the ocean, it would still grow back.
There’s even a story where somebody transplanted her kidney to a girl and Tomie grew the fuck back from within that girl’s body. Honestly, her regenerative ability is simply too absurd.
9. Tendency to take over
But what would happen if it would simply be a blood transfusion, instead of a whole organ? In that case, Tomie will display her other absurd qualities. She will take over the body, especially if it’s a girl’s body.
At first, she would recover her strength and youthfulness. She will make her body thinner and curvaceous. Her skin will slowly turn pale and her hair will be jet black.
Until she will finally look exactly like Tomie and then she will take over her brain. She will be the new host of that body and the girl’s consciences will be gone.
10. Grow head first
Yes, Tomie could grow back into a new individual through lost limbs. While that fact alone is already absurd, what’s even stranger is the fact that her head will fully grow first before other parts of her body.
That kidney story that I said earlier, the doctor cut the girl’s stomach open to see the source of the problem. Lo and behold, there’s an adult head growing out of the kidney and poke into the girl’s stomach.
The same case with every other body part. The head will grow first, then the limbs, and finally the rest of her body will follow suit.
11. Stressful split
While it is true that Tomie would regenerate from body parts, no matter how insignificant it is, there are other things that could trigger that regenerative condition, which is psychological trauma.
Whenever Tomie feels too stressed out, another face will emerge from within her cranium. It would start as a tiny lump, then slowly turn into a bulge with the eyes, nose, and mouth begin to form.
Leave it alone and it will soon become a brand new head. And if anyone tries to cut off that split head, you guessed it, it will turn into a new Tomie.
12. Perpetual teen
Tomie considers the late teen to early twenties to be the peak of her beauty. And that’s why she always grows to be within that precise age group.
Whenever she regenerates from a chunk of flesh, the process won’t stop until she becomes a full teenager. So what would happen if she lived past that age bracket? Well, that almost certainly won’t ever happen.
Tomie will get killed before she ever reaches a proper adulthood. She would either be killed by the man who loved her or by assassins sent by other Tomies.
13. There should only be one Tomie
You might think if Tomie could regenerate from a tiniest chunk of flesh and men will definitely kill her not long after first meeting her, there should be lots of Tomies walking around.
And you are correct. The problem is, each Tomie despises the other version of herself. Each Tomie thinks she is the true and most beautiful one. Other Tomies are simply fakes that shouldn’t exist.
That’s why they would actively try to kill each other. They would tell their manservant to kill other Tomies until she is the only one that’s left.
14. An innocent young girl
From every Tomie story that Junji Ito has ever created, Tomie has never killed another person. Not even once. What she would do, however, is manipulate the feelings of men to get what she wants and to kill another version of Tomie. Yep, the good old fashioned proxy war.
So you know, in a kind of weird and fucked up way, Tomie is just an innocent young girl with power beyond her control, who never committed an actual crime by her own hand, and yet always ends up getting killed by men who claimed to love her.
15. Acid and burn
With those absurd regenerative abilities in place, does it mean there is no way to truly kill Tomie? Well, there is actually a way to do that. There are two stories within the book that show how to properly kill Tomie.
Rather than killing her, it’s more accurate to say that this is the method to halt her regenerative ability. And the only thing that could do that is strong acid and ultra high heat.
A strong acid will significantly halt any growth of her body parts. And if you incinerate her remains until there’s nothing left but ashes, then she will no longer be able to grow back.
Tomie is easily one of the most unique and fascinating fictional creatures that has ever been created in history. Not only because of the nature of her strange physics, but also because of her contradicting powers.
She could capture the hearts of men and make them do whatever she wants, but in the end she will always end up dying in the worst way possible.
You could argue that getting someone to kill them is a way for her to increase her own kind. But then again, why would she feel threatened by the existence of another version of herself? What even is she?
There are tons of interesting things that could be said about Tomie. But for now, I think this list would serve as a good starting point to understand one of Junji Ito’s greatest creations.