Tomie's True Identity? - An Analysis of Junji Ito's Horror Manga

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Tomie's True Identity? - An Analysis of Junji Ito's Horror Manga

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Postby scriptweaver » Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:24 am

After falling in love with Junji ito's stuff over the past year, I decided to make a video talking about his novel Tomie, and what the hell kind of creature Tomie actually is. Your welcome to check it out. Be aware there are spoilers for a couple chapters, but also since the Tomie series is mostly episodic, you may not care about the spoilers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITBItosDnMI

I wouldn't mind doing more Junji Ito stuff in the future considering how much fun it is to read into his stuff (and just plain read his stuff lol) :D
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Re: Tomie's True Identity? - An Analysis of Junji Ito's Horror Manga

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Postby Ray » Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:32 am

Tomie isn't supposed to be explained. Thats what her mystique is, that's kind've the point of a lot of Lovecraftian Horror. You're not supposed to know what Tomie is, where she comes from etc. She's an evil force of nature, and if you understood what she really was, you'd go mad.

Or more realistically, what the audience imagines in their head is always far scarier than anything the artist or writer can create. When it comes to Lovecraftian horror, less is more. The horror comes from the existential implications of the monster, the monster itself is just gravy.
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Re: Tomie's True Identity? - An Analysis of Junji Ito's Horror Manga

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Postby Zeruss » Wed Sep 20, 2017 2:29 am

Did someone say JUNJI ITO?! ♡ (☉‿ ⊙ ) ♡

He's my favorite mangaka and I love everything he has produced: Tomie, Uzumaki, the Frankenstein series, the short stories (like The Enigma of Amigara Fault), etc.--He combines my favorite things: gore, body horror, great storytelling, suspense, supernatural elements, and superb artwork (and cats; I absolutely adore his cat manga), but combines them in a sort of delicate manner that seems to naturally escalate to horrific levels later on--That's what I appreciate about his storytelling the most: his control over tone and escalation. He's what I'd describe as "discreet" with his use of horror elements (as in, he knows when and how to use them without wearing them down; not so much that they are discreet in appearance, because they aren't... and I love that) which heightens their contrast with the mundane and amplifies the absurd+existential+unnatural type of horror that's usually applied throughout his stories, while still knowing how to set them effectively even from an early stage for greater effect later in the narrative.

I... I love him.

Regarding your video, kudos for the research and presentation; really liked it!
Though, I agree with the prior post that Tomie -as she is presented throughout the series- tends to have a certain ambiguous quality regarding her nature, which serves to just increase the mystery revolving around her overall (however, it's been a while since I read it, so key details might escape me right now)--I always interpreted her as a sort of chaotic being whose abilities and motivations changed according to each story's needs, or that she simply kept reinventing herself just because she wanted to or the circumstances required it.
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Re: Tomie's True Identity? - An Analysis of Junji Ito's Horror Manga

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Postby scriptweaver » Sat Sep 30, 2017 1:39 am

Thx for enjoying the video. I had alot of fun reading up on yokai folklore.

I agree that the purpose and appeal of Tomie is the ambiguity and mystery surrounding her, but I also think there's is some room to interpret and give shape. After all, it is only human nature to give form to the dark things that lurk in the corners of our mind. Also, the video could also be seen as a way of exploring what source of inspiration drove Junji Ito towards a creature with characteristics as Tomie. As I said in the video, the side by side comparisons to the Yuki-Onna is too similar to simply ignore.

Thanks for the input btw, its very interesting to see a response like this. I've seen more unique interactions with this video versus my other one's which is a very good thing.
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Re: Tomie's True Identity? - An Analysis of Junji Ito's Horror Manga

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Postby robersora » Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:09 pm

I've watched your video, after it popped up in my subscription list. I've never read any of Ito's Tomie Manga, I should check it out now... Ray has a point though: explaining the horror is like explaining the joke, kinda subtracts from the experience. Still, it was an interesting video!
I've read Uzumaki and some of his other shorts. They are all deeply mesmerizing and unsettling. I'm glad that he finally gets more exposure, because I think he is one of the greatest creative forces in the Manga industry.
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Re: Tomie's True Identity? - An Analysis of Junji Ito's Horror Manga

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Postby El Squibbonator » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:53 pm

I've been on a major Junji Ito kick lately, mostly thanks to a YouTube channel I found that plays dramatized "readings" of some of his manga. They've done The Enigma of Amigara Fault, Glyceride, a bunch of the Tomie stories, and part of Uzumaki; they'll be doing Hellstar Remina this December.
There are some interesting recurring themes I've noticed about Ito's work myself after having read so much of it. For example, sea creatures and the sea in general are almost always depicted as creepy and unsettling, in works like Gyo and The Thing That Drifted Ashore. Many of his villains and monsters have long, phallic-looking tongues--think of the mosquito women from Uzumaki, the title character from The Licking Woman, or the planet-eating space monster from Hellstar Remina. His characters often exhibit obsessive, self-destructive behavior, like in Army of One and the first chapter of Uzumaki.
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Re: Tomie's True Identity? - An Analysis of Junji Ito's Horror Manga

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Postby scriptweaver » Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:57 pm

El Squibbonator wrote:I've been on a major Junji Ito kick lately, mostly thanks to a YouTube channel I found that plays dramatized "readings" of some of his manga. They've done The Enigma of Amigara Fault, Glyceride, a bunch of the Tomie stories, and part of Uzumaki; they'll be doing Hellstar Remina this December.
There are some interesting recurring themes I've noticed about Ito's work myself after having read so much of it. For example, sea creatures and the sea in general are almost always depicted as creepy and unsettling, in works like Gyo and The Thing That Drifted Ashore. Many of his villains and monsters have long, phallic-looking tongues--think of the mosquito women from Uzumaki, the title character from The Licking Woman, or the planet-eating space monster from Hellstar Remina. His characters often exhibit obsessive, self-destructive behavior, like in Army of One and the first chapter of Uzumaki.


Yeah, I've also noticed that Junji Ito will tend to fall into a patternistic set of themes with his stories. I don't think I've noticed the visual aspect as much though (unlike yourself). For me, what I tend to notice is how the story is set up (almost like a joke with a punchline).

Now a question to Robersora and the others: I'm curious, since explaining horror is like explaining a joke. Is it acceptable for ppl like me to continue making such videos since there seems to be an audience who enjoys watching analytical horror videos? Or, do you think the very reason they are even interested is the same reason a person wants to know how a magic trick works? (I.e. simply because they don't know)

I'm asking this because currently, my Tomie video is doing very well and many ppl are now asking for more Junji Ito videos (I wouldn't mind making other Junji Ito/horror related things in the future anyway since I'm a fan of the stuff), but at the same time, you all make a very good point about the joke metaphor (though I slightly disagree since I know I, myself, still enjoy and find Tomie eerie all the same). I'm hoping for feedback because what you all say may affect what I put out next time (I take what everyone says into consideration, no matter what's being said). Thanks for the input so far, guys. I appreciate it.
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Re: Tomie's True Identity? - An Analysis of Junji Ito's Horror Manga

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Postby El Squibbonator » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:55 am

Ironically, I used to not be a big fan of Junji Ito, but I think that was because I wasn't reading his stories with the right mindset.
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Re: Tomie's True Identity? - An Analysis of Junji Ito's Horror Manga

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Postby robersora » Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:26 pm

View Original Postscriptweaver wrote:Now a question to Robersora and the others: I'm curious, since explaining horror is like explaining a joke. Is it acceptable for ppl like me to continue making such videos since there seems to be an audience who enjoys watching analytical horror videos? Or, do you think the very reason they are even interested is the same reason a person wants to know how a magic trick works? (I.e. simply because they don't know)


I honestly think, you should do what you want to do. Your video was very well made, and if you have more interesting things to say, go ahead! :) People can decide for themselves if they wanna klick on your video, and where most likely looking for an explanation of why his horror worked so tremendously well. So if they found the translation in your video, they are happy. Of course, it might degrade the experience of people who read Ito after watching your video, but honestly, that's on their cap. It's like clicking on a discussion of Game of Thrones Season 35 and then being mad about knowing what happens.
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