In one of his earliest works, acclaimed horror manga artist Junji Ito delivers a chilling supernatural tale about a beautiful girl known as Tomie, who drives men to commit violent acts and even murder. In Tomie: Complete Deluxe Edition, the hatching and shading of Ito’s recognizable artistic style complements the text and its pacing to create ample suspense and horror.

For the majority of the graphic novel, each chapter is its own mini-story that focuses on the way a variety of characters are affected by Tomie, who serves as the link that connects the tales. Readers of one of Ito’s most popular manga, Uzumaki, will quickly recognize this storytelling style. The premise and plot structure of each story are similar to one another: narrators are usually female classmates of Tomie, and since they are not typically the objects of Tomie’s manipulations, they provide observations and insights on the action. In each story, the same elements are present: manipulation, violence, and the death and rebirth of Tomie, who is killed directly or indirectly by her suitors. Tomie’s post-mortem reappearance is surprising and often grotesque, making this series not for the faint of heart.

In the opening story, Tomie—a girl with long, dark hair and a birthmark under her eye—plummets from a cliff on a school trip. To cover up her death, her classmates chop her body into small pieces and hide them, a scene that sets the tone for the story. Shortly thereafter, Tomie appears in class as if nothing happened, causing the students to question what really happened that day. In another instance, Tomie re-grows under the carpet in an apartment building, with dozens of her heads sticking up and merging together. Especially memorable is the episode in which a hospitalized girl who was given Tomie’s kidney begins to physically and mentally change until she actually becomes Tomie, again “reborn” in an unusual and horrific way. As chapters progress, readers learn a little bit more about Tomie, particularly after we are introduced to a man who calls himself her father.

The nature of the artwork and story, including partial nudity, makes this most appropriate for adult readers. Chilling artwork, expert pacing, and classic psychological horror make the Tomie complete omnibus a great addition to adult graphic novel collections and a solid choice for adult fans of horror.

Tomie: Complete Deluxe Edition
by Junji Ito
ISBN: 9781421590561
Viz, 2016
Publisher Age Rating: T+

  • Marissa Lieberman

    Past Reviewer

    Marissa graduated with her MLS from Queens College, NY in 2011 and is a children’s librarian at the East Orange Public Library, NJ where she gets to share her passion of anime and manga by running the tween anime club, ordering manga and graphic novels, and planning Tosho-con. She organized Tosho-con, the first library anime convention in Nassau County, NY back in 2010 and continues to run this successful convention at her current library. Marissa has written articles and presented about graphic novels, manga and library conventions for School Library Journal, New York Comic Con, and library conferences. She also reviews for School Library Journal and Voices of Youth Advocates.

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