Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack (2012)

DVD Cover (Aniplex Of America)
Genres / Traits: Animated Feature Film, Animated Horror, Animated Sci-Fi, Animation, Anime, Fish
Friends Kaori, Erika and Aki are on a vacation to celebrate their upcoming graduation, when suddenly an infestation of mysterious walking fish forces them to reevaluate everything they care about in order to stay alive. --IMDb
Takayuki Hirao Takayuki Hirao
Mirai Kataoka Mirai Kataoka
Takuma Negishi Takuma Negishi
Ami Taniguchi Ami Taniguchi
Masami Saeki Masami Saeki
Hidetaka Abe Hidetaka Abe

5.5 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Ginose
Added: April 26, 2012
I miss horror comics.

Surely you remember them? God, there used to be so many. I used to be able to go down to the comic-shop and find all kinds of wonderful, gruesome work, courtesy of "Gore Shriek" or "Chilling Tales of Horror", and the covers alone would fill me with all kinds of morbid wonders and curiosities .In my opinion the ability to create a proper horror comic (i.e. make it scary) is far more impressive than to simply write a horror story. With a book you at least have the advantage of the person's imagination providing a sense of terror that is far deeper than you could ever manage with pictures from your own; what you don't see is always infinitely more terrifying than what you do.

For the longest time they were everywhere, and form every publisher you could imagine, but when the censors started coming down on them they almost all disappeared or became heavily action-oriented. This is depressing to me as it should be to all horror fans, but things have looked up, albeit ever so slightly, in recent years. The immense popularity of things such as "The Walking Dead" and its television adaptation have happily renewed a lot of interest in artist and writers who'd all but fallen away from such thoughts.

This is a suffering of our country, more than anyone, as I've discovered in recent years. Wonderful works like "Dylan Dog" keep most of Europe hopeful and Asian nations have had slews of artist making truly great works with this floundering medium. Some of the absolute BEST come courtesy of Japan's Junji Ito, whose works include "Tomie" and "Uzumaki", best known here for their film adaptations. Say what you want about the films, the comics do their job, in creating some of the most interesting stories I've seen since the heydays of the 70s and 80s; my absolute favorite is, without a doubt, Ito's "Gyo", which I was hoping would see a films adaptation at some point... did I expect it to be a straight-to-video anime? No... no, I guess not, but it's always worth checking out.

Kaori, in her last weeks of college, is taking a weekend trip to her boyfriend's (Tadashi) summer house in Okinawa, with her friends Erika and Aki. Within a short time there they encounter a horrible little animal crawling around the house: a fish. A fish with legs. Disturbing as this is they seem to be content with leaving it in the trash (after smashing it) and ignoring the revelation that this unnatural oddity, which stank of human flesh, was in their vacation spot. Then things tend to escalate to a whole other level when it's revealed that this fish was NOT alone, at all, and that things were so much worse than they appeared.

This movie, as I quickly noticed, deviates from its source in a lot of ways, but not in so many that it misses its focus, ever. The story shifts from being about the couple (Tadashi and Kaori) to simply being about Kaori looking for Tadashi in Tokyo. This breaks several mechanics of the story (and some of the more horrific elements) but its not for nothing, as the inclusion of the girls makes the horror easier to spread over the lean 70-minute run time. This said, it manages to STILL keep some the most bizarre aspects of the book intact. This is... impressive, to say the least.

And that's where all my warning to the fans come in because, despite any of that, "Gyo" is fucking great.

The use of such a disgusting build as a "death-stench" and a fish zombie apocalypse seems completely obtuse, at first, but Ito's writing managed to make it something truly disturbing in many ways, this is still quite true in the film.

Animated or not a lot of the more intense scenes are translated very well to film and it crates some really spooky shit, overall. There's way too much material, however, to fit comfortably into a 70-minute movie, making a lot of the explanations (and there needed to be A LOT of explanations) very stinted and, at times, impossible to figure out because of such brief scenes of exposition.

Still, I feel it's all well presented and, fuck knows, the morbidity of it all is toned down a bit (though you'd never know, it's still all pretty fucked) but for all of it's grandiose looks on the basic story, it never does lose focus and that is something.

For what its worth, this adaptation of "Gyo" is still great. Disgusting, tense and breeds an atmosphere like no animated film I've seen in some time. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a greatly disturbing take on the natural horror concepts and a whole lot of disgusting imagery, from a uniquely anime perspective.

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