Friday, April 13, 2012


GYO (2012)
Directed by Takayuki Hirao

     Something in Okinawa reeks, and it isn't long before Tadashi and his girlfriend Kaori realize that the smell are coming from dead fish, which are walking out of the sea.

     As those that read my reviews by now know I like to mix things up somewhat with what I review from the truly awful to the surprising films that I wasn't expecting to be good. Anime is one of the genres that is usually looked over when someone searching for something in the horror genre. There's so much to be explored in anime that you can spend a month just finding titles that sound interesting. Gyo is one of those titles.

     I read the manga for Gyo  awhile back when it first came out in the states back in 2003. It had a very different take on the monster formula than what I was used to reading.  It had a weird vibe where you didn't really know what exactly was going on, and that carries over into the anime as well. Then again, how often do we, as viewers get to see fish on land, and blood thirsty as well. Not so much outside of a Mytho's tale. The design of the fish is very realistic which adds a depth of believability to the anime, or as much as possible. The character designs for the cast is different that in most, as the design for them is more realistic as well. The cast though is cookie cutter for the most part as you have a female in love that is cut off from her lover. With her is her two friends, one more of a bookworm and the other a oversexed tramp who only is out for herself.  After the walking fish start showing up the divide between the friends start showing as Kaori, who is the main character, leaves to the dismay of said friends, the other two start trying to kill the other. Kaori though makes it home to find that her hometown is overrun with aquatic life and with the help of a reporter tries to figure out what exactly is going on while trying to find her lover.

     While Gyo is interesting, it is not without problems. One being that everything happens very quickly and character development is left in the dust as once the characters are introduced what you see is what you get. No more, no less. While what is going on is somewhat explained, toward the end of movie a whole other aspect to the story is told but not elaborated on. That one bit of information  makes the story expand only to be forgotten completely no more than a minute later. Another problem is the main person we follow at first is a strong female lead, then halfway through just becomes a cry baby, not at what is going on around her or the fact that her love is missing, but because she is blocked by from going over a bridge of all things. One more fault is that one of the creatures that is shown in the distance is massive, and looks like it could be a whale, yet we only see a glimpse of it. I will say that it's not all bad. The pacing is well done as there really isn't a dull moment, specially once the fish start showing up. The story for the most part is very concise except for the stuff I mentioned before. While not really scary, the elements are there to make a truly great film if more time was giving to the movie. Instead we get a fast paced story where nothing is truly explained, yet we are treated to lots possibilities.  

     Drowning by walking fish.

     It's like the march of the underworld!

     Gyo is based on the manga of the same name by Junji Ito.

     Some Junji Ito's manga work include Uzimaki, or Spiral, and  Tomie.

     Uzimaki was made into a live action film in 2000. And Tomie has been made into a film series in Japan in 1999 and has 8 live action sequels.

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