Anime Hajime Impressions: Junji Ito Collection – Tomie

The Setup

2018’s Junji Ito Collection (JIC) was garbage. I can never get back the time I spent watching it, and I highly encourage you to not waste yours.

But before I go any further, I want to reiterate something I said in my review of JIC.

I did not care for the anime adaptation of Mr. Junji Ito’s works. I have nothing against the man himself. I am interested in checking out Mr. Ito’s stories since the artwork and visuals for Junji Ito Collection were easily the best aspects of that series. In fact, that is part of the reason why I am doing this Impression post at all.

For those who don’t know, Junji Ito is a manga artist who specializes in horror. From what I saw in JIC – and I am assuming a show that used his name also used his style – Mr. Ito’s art is downright terrifying.

In his long career, Mr. Ito has penned many stories. Two that have grabbed my attention are Uzumaki and Gyo. Among his best-known work, though, is the tale of Tomie.

From what I know of the story, the titular Tomie is a beautiful woman who men desire, often to violent ends. I can’t say much more than that.

Regardless, I did find it odd that such a high profile credit to Mr. Ito’s name was only given a bit part in a lackluster anthology anime series. Perhaps the people who made JIC thought the same. After its original run, JIC released two OVAs on April 27 and May 25, 2018; aptly named Tomie Parts 1 and 2.

I’m going into this story pretty much blind, and I have no idea how this is going to go.

At the time of me writing this section, I had not seen the series. With that said, the following are my impressions on Junji Ito Collection – Tomie:

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***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Junji Ito Collection – Tomie. Reader discretion is advised.***

Tomie being part of JIC didn’t instill me with confidence. If these OVAs followed the series’ example, how could I expect anything besides mediocre?

Little did I know, there would actually be a lot less than that.

I can’t say I hated JIC – Tomie. I certainly didn’t like it, and moreover, it was amazing how little I cared about this story. If you told me these OVAs were an accurate representation of Mr. Ito’s original work, then frankly, I don’t get it. This was dull.

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To account for JIC – Tomie’s lack of engagement, I have a suspicion. While watching, something felt missing; critical pieces were not given. I know as much about the titular character as I did beforehand, and that wasn’t much. Absolutely nothing was gained.

To give the benefit of the doubt, I’m fairly confident a major aspect of the Tomie character is that she is shrouded in mystery. There are things about her that we simply aren’t supposed to know. Regardless, it would have helped if JIC – Tomie didn’t start in the middle of a story already in progress.

JIC – Tomie began at the funeral of a high school student named Tomie, who had died a gruesome death. Back at her school, Tomie’s classmates were mourning her death when shockingly, Tomie reappeared alive and well. Since the students and their teacher knew how Tomie had died, paranoia and confusion spread like wildfire.

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The plot then jumped to a few years later, and this time Tomie was seducing a man and was trying to have him break up with his (maybe) girlfriend. This led to a brutal murder and a surgical operation with a bizarre, “frightening” twist.

JIC – Tomie had several characters lose their sanity. Too bad “lose their sanity” implies everyone was sane when we met them. Even if someone had all their senses at the start, no road led them to madness. People just went violently crazy at the drop of a hat.

There was neither tension nor suspense since there was no attempt at build-up. There were only hollow climaxes. Tomie herself wasn’t intimidating, terrifying, or even that much of an obstacle. She possessed the type of evil that only exists because the story said it existed.

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These OVAs took the time to establish why Tomie was creepy, but not why she was a threat.

My suspicion is: JIC – Tomie was never meant to be an introduction to the Tomie character. That was a problem for someone like me who still knows no more than Tomie’s name and the most basic details of her story. Perhaps if you are familiar with the source material, then you might be able to get something more out of these OVAs.

Putting aside the story, was there anything I liked about JIC – Tomie?

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I appreciated how both episodes were only ten-minutes long; that was about it. These OVAs lacked many of the elements even the original series managed to get right. For example, the animation.

JIC – Tomie was far blander than the show because it mostly lacked this franchise’s — a.k.a., Mr. Ito’s — fascinating art style. I can recall two moments when the OVAs pulled out the kind of visuals that allowed JIC to not be one-hundred percent trash.

To be honest, even though this story wasn’t long, I often forgot that Tomie and JIC were from the same series.

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Final Thoughts

My impressions were merely my expectations confirmed. I had no reason to think the OVAs of an underwhelming horror anime could suddenly make things right.

This story was too short, and yet, it felt rushed. The animation was weak, and thrills were nonexistent. I was more bored than I was engaged. The whole thing was a mess, and the name Tomie failed to live up to anything.

Thank god this was only a twenty-minute sit. I doubt I could have forced my attention to focus longer than it already had to.

I’m sure you’re going to be busy this Halloween, and even if you’re not, don’t waste your time with Junji Ito Collection – Tomie.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? If so, what were your impressions of Junji Ito Collection – Tomie? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

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