One of the most popular manga series by Junji Ito, “Tomie,” features a girl who’s stunningly beautiful in every sense of the word, but beneath this otherworldly beauty, hides an ungodly secret. The ninth episode in Netflix’s adaptation of Ito’s horror manga takes one chapter from his eponymous series, which presents one of the incidents that Tomie causes in a town. Although the episode only presents a brief section of the entire chapter and leaves the fate of the protagonist in question, the episode itself manages to present Tomie for what she is—a monster. Here’s the recap of the episode where we look at one of Ito’s favorite creations, but if you haven’t read the entire “Tomie” yet, go read it now!
The Girl With Strange Powers
In a schoolyard, a girl buys a photo of a male student from Tsukiko Izumisawa, a member of the Photography Club, and after she leaves, Tsukiko notices a handsome boy walking by. She calls after Yamazaki, the student, and asks his permission to take another photo, and adds that he’s quite popular with the girls in the schools. While clicking his pictures, she says that she’s volunteering while a girl watches them from an alley. She walks away when Yamazaki notices her, and Tsukiko identifies her as Tomie Kawakami from the disciplinary committee, who’s only recently joined the school as a transfer student. While selling the photographs of boys for unreasonably high prices, Tsukiko is approached by Tomie with two boys who seem to follow her around. She barges in and calls out the immoral practice, and asks one of the cronies to check Tsukiko’s bag. Taichi discovers the photos of Yamazaki, and Tomie confiscates them and leaves with a subtle warning that she’s doing Tsukiko a favor by not reporting this to a teacher. Later, as the photographer throws a tantrum over Tomie’s arbitrariness, Maa informs her that Tomie is known for such petty actions as getting a boy suspended by tattling about him.
At lunch, Yamazaki comes to visit Tsukiko, and she’s very pleased until he asks her to click him some photos of Tomie. She begrudgingly walks towards Tomie and finds her looking over a guardrail. Tsukiko hides in the bushes and starts clicking Tomie’s pictures until she realizes that Tomie is aware that she’s being photographed. The girl gives Tsukiko the free pass to take as many photos as she wants of Tomie and even spread the printed ones around the schoolyard. While being photographed, the arrogant girl asks about the price these photos might sell at, and Tsukiko snidely remarks that given how popular she is, they might fetch an unimaginable price when she notices a teacher standing behind her. He chides Tsukiko for selling photographs, as Tomie gleefully points out that the photographer has been exposed. Tsukiko apologizes and agrees to quit the photography club, and states that she’ll accept the decision even if she’s suspended or expelled. While Tsukiko leaves, Tomie congratulates the teacher for carrying out the task.
Later, Tsukiko’s is informed that the pictures she wanted have returned from the studio, but while checking out the photos of supposedly the most beautiful girl on the campus, Tsukiko is shocked to see what the photos contain. Each photo of Tomie has a second head popping from inside her hair, one that looks diabolical and is in no way human. She proceeds to do as Tomie had declared in her moment of defiance and scatters the pictures around the campus. As people rush to collect the pictures and get surprised to see them, one such photo is picked up by Tomie herself, who’s visibly shaking with rage when she asks a supposedly big favor from the boys who shadow her. Tsukiko is content with this revenge when Yamazaki bursts in and starts taking her someplace while informing her that Tomie, who’s unhinged with rage after seeing the photos, has sent the two boys, Taichi and Kimata, to murder her, and theywho are shown to be marching with purpose. Yamazaki stands outside the photo studio as Taichi arrives and asks for Tsukiko, and he intentionally misleads him. He then enters the photography room where Tsukiko is hiding and informs her that the coast is clear, and while Tsukiko is thanking Yamazaki for the gesture, he tries strangling her with a cord while saying that Tomie has looked him in the eyes and asked him to kill Tsukiko, so now he has to. While struggling, she throws some photo development fluid in his eyes and escapes.
At her home, Tsukiko sits on the floor when her mother chides her about getting suspended from school before leaving to stay with her husband for the week, who’s out on tour. With her mother out of the house, she spots Taichi and Kimata standing guard outside and turns to find Tomie waiting for her in the hallway, and she says that the girls have to talk. Tsukiko has her guard up when she asks why Tomie wanted to have her killed, while the latter laughs. When Tsukiko says that Yamazaki admitted to it before trying to kill her and that he’s under Tomie’s spell, she says that she’s no witch to put people under a spell and that she’d like for Tsukiko to share the food she has brought with her as a way of apologizing for getting the photographer suspended. She then takes a look at the framed photos on Tsukiko’s wall and starts rambling about how her family used to live in Spain, and her grandfather was friends with Picasso and many such elaborate designs and even invited Tsukiko to her place. However, she flatly refuses and says that the whole prospect sounds sketchy and states that she thinks Tomie is a pathological liar and that she has some mental disease.
Tomie starts trembling, so Tsukiko starts laying it in even further, adding that those photographs have truly exposed what a grotesque monster Tomie actually is. The girl starts shaking and hyperventilating, but Tsukiko brushes it off until a second head pops out from Tomie’s hair while she continues screaming. Taichi and Kimata rush in, and while one of them restrains Tsukiko, the other tries attending to Tomie, only to find a hideous head with hair on its face has popped out. She continues screaming, asking him to chop off what she calls swelling from her head, and as he hacks on it with a machete, the tied-up Tsukiko helplessly watches. They finally manage to chop the growth off along with the rest of her head, and only then do they notice that Tomie has been beheaded.
Tomie – Monster
The foolish men realize that they’ve committed a murder and that Tsukiko has seen them, but she then tries feigning sleep. Taichi and Kimata say that they had planned to murder her at Tomie’s mansion. They suspect that Tsukiko must have edited those photos to make Tomie look like the hideous beast, who’s actually a beautiful goddess, just when the grotesque swelling opens its eyes and starts ordering the men to burn that monstrosity off. This is too much for Tsukiko to deal with, and she passes out. Hours have passed after Taichi and Kimata left with the two-headed Tomie in a plastic bag when Tsukiko is awakened by sounds of squelching and spots the headless corpse standing up. What’s worse, an egg-like object is growing out of the cavity where Tomie’s head used to be, and this is a head with eyes and a mouth, and a few strands of hair. This abominable hell spawn extends its arms ahead and runs out of the apartment, all the while cackling like a witch as Tsukiko shudders in shock. She manages to free herself from the bondage and decides to clean up her room while unsure if all the events she witnessed were real or if she was dreaming.
‘Junji Ito Maniac’ Episode 9: Ending Explained
Tomie is actually a creature that has the magical powers to make men fall in love with her so madly that they become willing to do anything for her. Driven insane by her charm, people agree to do anything to receive the approval of this woman, who treats males like the currency of this world. The final state of this crazed affection is the desire to hack her body up into little pieces, each of which then sprouts a new Tomie altogether. Only by burning such abominations can they be destroyed, but this monster, who looks utterly perfect in person, reveals its true self when it’s photographed. In this particular episode, Tomie isn’t aware of what photos can do to her, which is why she doesn’t mind Tsukiko taking her photos. Taichi and Kimata, and even Yamazaki, are entrapped under Tomie’s spell who don’t think twice before wanting to eliminate another person because “her holiness” Tomie has commanded. A pathological liar, as Tsukiko figured, and a manipulative sociopath, Tomie wouldn’t have been much of a human, even if she didn’t sprout a head after having it chopped off. However, she’s very sensitive about this disgusting trait of hers, which seems to come out when someone calls her out for what she is—a grotesque freak. As she runs out of the apartment with the developing head, Tsukiko starts cleaning the room, unsure if this was real, and it’s not stated if she encounters the monster anymore because Tomie always ends up in new places.