I was right, she’s here… Tomie… she’s here… somewhere in this house.
Yamazaki swears he can feel Tomie’s presence still — Kiss
Tomie : Kiss is the direct follow-on story from Tomie : Photo. In it, we’re following Tsukiko again, as she struggles to come to terms with the extreme occurrences that closed that previous chapter. We open the story to her having a nightmare of that previous night, which serves well as a quick reminder if you hadn’t read Photo in a while.
Outside of her apartment she bumps into Yamazaki. She finds him free from Tomie’s spell after getting beaten up by the possessed boys Daichi and Kimata. Tsukiko, being the friendly girl she is, forgives him for his past actions and takes him back to the scene of the crime - her apartment. Here she attempts to nurse him back to health despite her apartment being a wreck from before.
Within no time at all though, Tomie’s presence makes herself known to Yamizaki. She whispers to him directly, making him go looking for her in the apartment. Sure enough, he comes to the room where Tomie was killed the night before - and subsequently where she got back up from. Tomie then goes on to manifest herself in one of the cleverest ways I’ve seen in the series up until this point.
How far will Tomie’s bodyguards, Daichi and Kimata, go in honouring their commitment to her? Will Tsukiko survive another day under Tomie’s shadow? Will Yamazaki now stay true to Tsukiko, or will he stray back into the arms of the possessor?
Previous stories from the Tomie collection have been narratives that would span a decent length of time. Meaning, we would move from scene to scene - advancing the movement of time for the characters. With Kiss though, once Tsukiko has brought an injured Yamazaki back to her blood-stained apartment, we stay there. We are stuck in that room with them, witnessing the horrors that Tomie still manages to bring.
Kiss is a chapter that really focuses in on the hold that she has over people too. Tsukiko is suffering from nightmares of that night; Yamazaki is still driven by the haunting voice of Tomie. Even the two henchmen of hers from the previous story have a more central role here. Both Daichi and Kimata are still hell-bent on killing Tsukiko, after having now taken Tomie’s mutated head away from the scene.
While this chapter doesn’t really do much in moving the world forward too much, it does manage to give a satisfying - and suitably haunting - closing chapter to what happened in Photo. I like how it really drills down into a single moment in time that seemed to read in real-time for the most part.
I love seeing new ways in which Junji Ito has Tomie regrow herself. Not just as simple as limbs growing back after being removed - the idea of the blood taking control was a nice addition to the canon. The exploring and pushing of the limits of her abilities show great promise for the future of the series.
Tomie’s spilt blood giving life to the carpet underlay is one of those visions that stays with me. Out of the entire Tomie collection, it is one of the scenes that I remember most. I loved how it brought back my memories of the scene in Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Specifically that scene where the T-1000 rises up out of the ground in the mental hospital. Even though the basic idea is similar, it was good to see it here in a much more raw and bloody way.
It was also fun to see this idea fleshed out further in the closing pages of this chapter.
The blood stained apartment
Yamazaki is attacked by Kimata and Taichi
Yamazaki hears Tomie’s voice
Tomie : Kiss is a continuation of the events in Photo. However, its still worth reading on its own if only for the visuals that Ito creates.
The story itself is very simple and set in a single location for the most part. This really lets you focus in on the horrifying scenes that unfold for Tsukiko, without having to hold a bunch of extra characters and locations in your mind.