Junji Ito Maniac Season 1 Episode 9 Recap – “Tomie – Photo”

January 19, 2023
Jonathon Wilson 0
Netflix, Streaming Service
4

Summary

One of Junji Ito’s most iconic characters gets a full-episode showcase in another outing packed with memorably awful visual horror.

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4

Summary

One of Junji Ito’s most iconic characters gets a full-episode showcase in another outing packed with memorably awful visual horror.


This recap of the Netflix anime anthology Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre Season 1 Episode 9, “Tomie ? Photo”, contains spoilers. 


Tomie is one of Junji Ito’s most iconic characters. She got an entire volume devoted to her in Horror World of Junji Ito and her exploits have already been adapted multiple times in the past. “Tomie – Photo”, or simply Photograph, has been included in several collections and here in Junji Ito Maniac it provides a nice introduction to the character while also delivering on that quintessential weirdness and visual body horror.

Junji Ito Maniac Season 1 Episode 9 Recap

I must admit that I wasn’t entirely keen on the high school aesthetic or the motif of the creepy exchange student, both of which are overdone in horror, especially Japanese horror, but the turns the episode takes toward the end are more than worth the build-up. Once again, devoting the entire episode to the story really helps it breathe and develop in an organic way.

The general idea is that the titular Tomie is a new-ish student who runs the school’s disciplinary committee. Male students follow her all over the place and act on her every whim, but she’s flagrantly mysterious and at least a little bit dangerous. Her true nature, though, is never really established, ensuring she retains an air of mystery and that subsequent stories featuring her in follow-up anthologies can still basically be about anything at all.

Anyway, Tomie particularly dislikes Tsukiko, a student who has been taking and selling photos of popular boys from the school. Tomie constantly thwarts Tsukiko’s money-making scheme, threatens her, and just generally big-sister’s her, eventually getting her badly told off for misusing the privileges of the photo club.

However, Tomie also poses for some pictures at one point, and when they’re developed they reveal another face and head growing out of her hair. This is where the body horror stuff starts to come into play but the episode combines it with the adoration of the male students, turning a scene where Tomie insides on the growths being cut from her into a sadistic game of pathetic pathetic male oneupmanship that inadvertently leaves Tomie beheaded.

The best visual in the episode, though, comes when Tomie’s headless torso moves around independently, another head already growing out. It isn’t the best episode, but it’s a crisp and nasty introduction to one of Ito’s most longstanding and widely-known characters.

You can stream the Netflix anime anthology Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre Season 1 Episode 9, “Tomie ? Photo” exclusively on Netflix.


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