Tomie manga – what is it about + where to read?

Tomie manga - what is it about + where to read

The Tomie manga is a classic horror manga and is popularly known for its status as a cult classic. The popularity has also resulted in a widespread following and subsequent live-action adaptations led to a status as a timeless classic and an important contribution to the genre of horror. It is captivating with its intricate web of events and at the same time terrifying due to its elements of horror, making it an essential read for all horror manga fans.

Tomie manga – what is it about?

Tomie manga follows the story of a group of High School students who lament the death of their fellow classmate Tomie Kawakami. Tomie is killed and mutilated and the class struggles to recover from the news of the death of a close friend. However, while they are grieving a familiar student arrives and it is none other than Tomie, who grins and apologizes for being late.

Tomie manga - what is it about + where to read
Ito’s Tomie Manga. (Image credit goes to Junji Ito)

While many of the students allege that she is actually nonhuman, many unfortunate men who fall in love with her are quickly overcome by a feeling of dismembering her.

  • Tomie is a gory horror manga with a riveting storyline. It never actually attempts to explain the origins of its horror but the artwork is very eerie and has been excellently crafted.
  • The manga was originally serialized in the Monthly Halloween from 1987 to 2000. Finally, in February 1996, it was compiled into a single volume and was titled ‘Tomie no kyofu gaka’.

Tomie manga – where to read and what to expect?

Tomie manga has been available to read on Viz Media since 2016 after the studio obtained the license for the series and published it as a hard-cover volume. It has been easily made accessible to the English reader since then, and the serialization has proved to be extremely fruitful. Moreover, the manga has also received multiple re-releases and it has been featured in the prominent Junji Ito Museum of Horror series and the Junji Ito Masterpiece Collection.

Tomie manga - what is it about + where to read
Tomie Manga. (Image credit goes to the artist Junji Ito)

Tomie is mainly a horrifying tale that unfolds a series of events that are filled with vanity and brutality. It is basically the beauty of this non-human woman that unleashes a series of tragedies and utter chaos in her vicinity, making it an extremely gory and psychological piece of visual horror writing. It is a tale of human desires, obsessions, and manipulations.

How does the Tomie manga stand out as a classic of the horror genre?

Each chapter in this manga is an unfolding of a different horrifying episode. The pace is slow in the beginning but the charms are quickly set to work and the entire plot falls into a fit of darkness. The charm of this being and her mysterious allure drives men into committing some heinous acts of violence and horror. It is more psychological than one can imagine, and it only gets darker as the reader is put on the edge.

Tomie manga - what is it about + where to read
Junji Ito’s classic horror manga. (Image credit goes to Junji Ito)

Tomie remains a classic because of its ability to invoke a series of complex emotional extremes in its readers.

  • It provokes questions of morality and individuality, with a crippling undertone of existentialism in it.
  • The story in itself is a simple discovery of the individual and the entangled emotional desires that motivate it.


This manga by Junji Ito is a chilling masterpiece that takes a dive into the psychology of the reader and of the characters. It isn’t the typical horror that one might expect but rather takes accountability for the obsessive and unhinged nature of the human mind that is attracted to darkness.

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