Tomie: How to chop off an obsession

Blame it on anime withdrawal. At least that’s my excuse.

I wandered into the anime store but was told I would have to wait another week for new fansubs. So I borrowed some Japanese horror movies instead. I took a chance on something called “Tomie” and “Tomie Replay”.

Tomie (pronounced tow-mee-yeh) is a woman who every guy falls for. They love her so much they would do things for her and then also kill her out of jealous rage. For some reason, they feel the need to chop her up. But Tomie is a monster who doesn’t die. She regenerates from pieces of herself.

The sequel was a tad better than the 1999 original movie in terms of special effects, quality and acting but I was hardly scared. Midway through the movies, I realized why I had outgrown slash-and-gore pics. Everyone has to act stupid. In the sequel, the heroine breaks a leg and has to be confined to a wheelchair. Evil Tomie invites her to the hospital basement. What does our heroine do?

Like all horror heroines, she leaves logic and her brains behind. She can’t walk with her leg in a cast so she wheels herself to the creepy vacant hospital without any weapons or companions. Sure she later runs across an axe but she throws it at the glass case in front of Tomie thereby leaving herself defenseless. How smart.

I saw five Tomie movies on the store shelf. I’m not renting anymore of them.

I did buy a compilation of the manga that started this all. Issued by Dark Horse Comics under the Museum of Terror series, the first volume is all about Tomie. You get to see how the manga artist Junji Ito developed the character over the years and how his drawing style improved. I like the manga better since it reminded me of the 1970s horror comics I grew up on. Plus they’re more scary than the movie version of this femme fatale.

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