The Tomie Films
Tomie: Another Face (1999)
Tomie: Replay (2000)
Tomie: Rebirth (2001)
Tomie: Final Chapter (2002)
Tomie: Beginning (2005)
Tomie: Revenge (2005)
Compared with the original cinematic version and the other three sequels which were to follow, Tomie: Another Face contains considerably less special effects and focuses more intently upon the cuteness of the Tomie character and the nearly demonic degree of manipulation this allowed her to wield over the many love-struck men in her life. Here, Tomie is played by blossoming superbabe Nagai Runa and is literally showcased in each of Tomie: Another Face‘s three chapters as an unstoppable diabolical cutey. For example, Nagai’s real-life status as alluring man-trap is so integrated into the storyline that in one episode the man wrapped around her little finger is a photographer who begs to allow prolonged photo-shoots of Tomie in various garb striking sultry, model poses. (!)
In each of the three episodes, a different male is caught in Tomie’s web of manipulation and madness. Each of the three, however, are tied together through the appearance of a strange, one-eyed man lurking about, apparently with a scheme to do away with Tomie. In the last episode, this man’s scheme is finally realized.
Episode One – A local high school is shocked at the news that one of its students, Tomie Kawakami, was found murdered and abandoned at a roadside garbage heap. The students discuss how popular she was with the boys, and wonder who the murderer could be. Takashi, Tomie’s boyfriend, seems to be having the roughest time, and his friend Miki steps in to cheer him up. Slowly returning smiles turn to utter shock when Tomie returns to school the next day as if nothing had happened. When Takashi and Miki become increasingly suspicious of Tomie’s behavior, they discover that he will have a very difficult time getting rid of this shockingly persistent girlfriend.
Episode Two – Photographer Mori finds himself in the biggest creative slump of his career, haunted by visions of an “ideal woman” he saw as a young boy. When he by chance encounters a young woman he believes to be the woman’s daughter, his creative (and libidinous) juices are restored, as the two proceed with a day-long photo shoot ending in a voracious romp in the futon. Mori’s life seems to be coming together in a new wonderful way, until, that is, he discovers that each picture he has taken of this ideal beauty reveals another, second distorted face, a discovery which inevitably leads to terror and great misfortune.
Episode Three – Straight-laced businessman Yasuda gleefully proposes marriage to his new girlfriend Tomie. As he is slipping the ring onto her finger, a one-eyed mad man jumps out of the bushes and lunges at Tomie, nearly missing her with a very large knife. Yasuda and Tomie flee the premises unscathed, but Tomie quickly heaps scorn on Yasuda for simply running away rather than fighting her attacker. The next day, Tomie has bought Yasuda a very large hunting knife, informing him that if he cannot do away with the attacker, she will end their relationship. Yasuda sets out to appease Tomie’s anger, but when he catches up with the one-eyed man, he is told a very shocking tale regarding a woman named Kawakami Tomie.
Tomie: Another Face contains considerably less blood than the other Tomie films, and does not even contain a single scene of Tomie’s (seemingly prerequisite) headlessness. This is certainly not to imply that she survives these episodes unscathed, as you will certainly witness her several untimely demises. However, the emphasis within Inomata’s version of Tomie is upon her irresistible beauty and her mastery of male manipulation. This Tomie comes across as a convincingly diabolical beauty and audiences will be able to easily imagine Ito Junji’s original vision of an utter narcissistic and evil woman. But while Tomie: Another Face amounts to a suspenseful ghost story, it packs very little horror of the type delivered (to varying degrees) in the other (four) versions.
Version reviewed: Region 0 DVD (includes English subtitles)