GenreCrime, Drama, Horror Story byJunji Ito CountryJapan
Release dateMarch 6, 1999 (1999-03-06) Based onTomie
by Junji Ito WriterJunji Ito (comic), Ataru Oikawa CastMiho Kanno (Tomie Kawakami), Mami Nakamura (Tsukiko Izumisawa), Tomorowo Taguchi (Detective Harada), Kôta Kusano (Yuuichi Saiga), Kae Minami, Kenji Mizuhashi (Yamamoto) Similar moviesSherlock Holmes, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Looper, 47 Ronin, The Last Samurai, Case 39
TaglineTomie will not die
Tomie movie trailer
Tomie(富江) is a 1998 Japanese horror film directed by Ataru Oikawa. It is the first film in the Tomie film series, based on a manga of the same name by Junji Ito.
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 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, and is starting to suspect the cause has a supernatural source. Meanwhile, Tsukiko's neighbor 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 taunting Tsukiko and tries feeding her live cockroaches. She then begins taking selfies next to 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.
Mami Nakamura - Tsukiko Izumisawa
Miho Kanno - Tomie Kawakami
Yoriko Douguchi - Dr. Hosono
Tomorowo Taguchi - Detective Harada
Director Ataru Oikawa admired the original manga for Tomie, referring to it as a "fairy tale in bad taste". Opposed to a shocking and gorey film, Oikawa desired to make a film he described as not one "where people scream with fear. I didn't imagine that kind of horror movie. I wanted this to be more like a drama for youth." As the comic contained graphic violence, Oikawa decided that he would work from a clean slate while still seeking seek manga author Junji Ito's approval and input. The film that was written by Oikawa, borrows character and situations from the stories "Photograph" and Kiss", from Ito's original manga, while seemingly ignoring most of what happens in the story "Mansion" which also features Tsukiko as the protagonist. The film acts like a sequel to the manga taking place several years after the original story.
For the role of Tomie, Miho Kanno was chosen specifically by manga author Junji Ito for the role. The film's score was composed by Hiroshi Futami and Toshihiro Kimura while the film contains a theme song from Japanese pop act World Famous.
Tomie was released in Japan on October 6, 1998.
Video Watchdog reviewed Tomie, stating that it was "too mild and slow-going though it is attractively photographed and Ms. Kanno, with her soulless eyes and utterly creepy smile, remains the quintessential Tomie."
Aftermath and influence
After the release of Tomie, the first sequel was not a theatrical film but a direct-to-video release of Tomie: Another Face released on October 25, 1999. The next theatrical Tomie film was Tomie: Replay that was released on the bottom half of a double bill with Uzumaki on February 11, 2000. In 2005, the film Tomie: Beginning was released as a prequel adapted faithfully from the original manga. Tomie: Beginning ends where Tomie begins.