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This 10,000 word monstrosity that has been consuming my life for a month is finally done. Done enough for me to let it be for a while, at least.
I present: The Multiplying Horror Girl in Contemporary Japan, an examination of a contemporary trope in Japanese popular media including Ringu, Tomie, Parasite Eve, and of course, Kyarypamyupamyu.
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The paper, appropriately enough, continues to grow. And I managed to bring in tumblr!
“Every installment of Tomie, in fact, ends or culminates in a supremely horrific, hyper-detailed, full-page or nearly full-page image such as this, functioning in much the same way as the final, flower-drenched picture of the protagonist and her love interest found at the end of most romantic shoujo manga (Tomie, indeed, was first published in a shoujo horror magazine). In a sense, a key image like this is the core of the story: it usually functions as the climax of the action and/or horror in the case of Tomie, or the relationship, in the case of romance manga. Every previous page is carefully paced to lead up to this one image, and the audience knows to expect it, thus heightening the anticipation. Yet just as much as the key image is the centre of the story, it also transcends it, operating outside of the time and narrative by means of its iconicity and reproducibility. That is, each image—while still being essentially a distillation of the entire story around it—has enough currency and is impactful enough to have its own modes and patterns of distribution separate from the wider work. Much like the image of Sadako crawling out of the TV set, these climactic single-page images are key to the virality of Junji Ito’s comics: particularly on the internet, they are posted out of context, blogged, and reblogged, at first in the context of “shock sites” popular since the mid ‘90s, but now on image-focused blogging platforms such as tumblr. Tomie continues to proliferate through these means, drawing ever-larger crowds to Itō’s work: as the franchise’s tagline goes, she will not die.”