North American cover of Gyo, volume 1 by Viz Media
|Genre||Horror, Science fiction|
|Written by||Junji Ito|
|Magazine||Big Comic Spirits|
|Original run||2001 – 2002|
|Original video animation|
|Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack|
|Directed by||Takayuki Hirao|
|Released||February 15, 2012|
Gyo (ギョ?, Fish), fully titled Gyo Ugomeku Bukimi (ギョ うごめく不気味 Fish: The Eerie Wriggle?) in Japan, is a horror seinen manga written and illustrated by Junji Ito. Appearing as a serial in the weekly manga magazine Big Comic Spirits from 2001 to 2002. Shogakukan collected the chapters into two bound volumes from February 2002 to May 2002. The story revolves around a couple, Tadashi and Kaori, as they fight to survive against a mysterious horde of fish with metal legs powered by an odor known as the "death stench". The work also includes a pair of bonus stories, titled "The Sad Tale of the Principal Post" and "The Enigma of Amigara Fault".
Viz Media published an English-language translation of the two volumes in North America from September 2003 to March 2004 and re-released it from October 2007 to January 2008. An anime adaptation by Ufotable was released on February 15, 2012.
Gyo opens with a crew of fisherman aboard a trawler dragging up a number of strange-looking fish in the boat's net. Upon trying to inspect the unusual creatures, they discover that the strange fish seem to have legs. The fish then suddenly scuttle away, diving back into the ocean.
Meanwhile, in Okinawa, Tadashi, a young man, and his girlfriend Kaori arrive on the island to enjoy a Scuba-diving vacation. Encountering a fish with legs, Kaori, who has a hyper-sensitive sense of smell, becomes irritated by its smell and begs Tadashi to get rid of it. He seals it in a bag, but it manages to escape. The next day, large amounts of marine life with legs invade Okinawa, including a legged Great White Shark which menaces the protagonists. Tadashi and Kaori manage to return to Tokyo, although Kaori becomes irritated and paranoid, claiming to smell the fish. They both encounter the bagged fish they originally encased and present it to his uncle, Doctor Koyanagi.
A short while later, Tadashi returns to find Koyanagi missing an arm. As he was examining the machine in detail, it used a series of spikes and tubes to latch on to his arm, forcing him to amputate it. Koyanagi is fascinated by this discovery, and then reveals that the fish was the result of the Japanese Army's World War II research into a virus that causes its host to produce a deadly and repulsive stench, in a desperate effort to turn the tide of the war. His father developed a "walking machine", which pumps the virus into a host and causes the host to release the gas which powers the machine's movement; walking machines were built to carry the hosts farther, allowing them to reach and sicken enemy troops. However, during the war, enemy aircraft sunk the ship carrying the prototypes for the walking machines. Soon, Kaori and Tadashi discover that hordes of marine life with legs are invading Tokyo, having gradually invaded the Kantō region. Infected by the gas, Kaori becomes depressed by her appearance and attempts to commit suicide. Tadashi takes her to Koyanagi in an effort to save her but plunges into a canal where he passes out after being injured by thousands of small walking fish. Awakening one month later, he discovers that Koyanagi has placed her into a custom-built walking machine. Upon switching the machine on, Koyanagi is mortally wounded by Kaori, who quickly escapes.
Searching for her, Tadashi notices that most of the walking fish have decayed, and that the walking machines are now carrying infected citizens instead. Journeying through Tokyo, he encounters a circus, where he learns from the ringmaster that the gas appears to be alive, taking on a soul-like appearance when ignited. Tadashi encounters Kaori and rescues her from one of the acts at the circus and takes her to Koyanagi's Lab. There Koyanagi's assistant, Ms. Yoshiyama, reveals that Koyanagi has died from his wounds. When she attempts to remove the walking machine from Kaori, Koyanagi appears, now mutated by the infection and attached to a modified walking machine that allows him to fly. Kaori notices Tadashi and Ms. Yoshiyama together and attempts to attack her. During the uproar, Koyanagi manages to capture Ms. Yoshiyama and fly away.
Large groups of walking machines attack Kaori, and Tadashi becomes lost in his attempt to save her. He continues to search for her, when he notices the circus troupe attack Koyanagi's flying machine, which quickly escapes. Tadashi encounters a group of students from Kyoto University, who explain that they are immune, and that the virus created the walking machines after synthesising them from shipwrecks. He joins the students in their research to defeat the virus and save humanity. As they walk together, he encounters Kaori's burnt remains and remarks that she is free from the smell.
- Tadashi (忠?): A young man who enjoys scuba diving. He has a girlfriend named Kaori and an uncle named Koyanagi. At the end he joins a group of university students, who happen to be immune from the death-stench, to create a vaccine to defeat the disease. In the OVA version, Tadashi's role is switched from protagonist to deuteragonist. Instead of Kaori, Tadashi becomes infected and is attached to a custom made walking machine by Koyanagi. The machine later turns against Koyanagi and kills him before escaping.
- Kaori (華織?) : Tadashi's girlfriend. She has an extremely sensitive nose and becomes very jealous when Tadashi is near other women. Due to her overly sensitive nose, she seems to be able to smell the creatures when they are nearby. However, she is later infected, causing her body to swell up and forces the gas with the "death stench" out of her body. Because of this, she began to think she was disgusting, that Tadashi wouldn't love her if she wasn't beautiful. This, along with the horrible stench, made her attempt to commit suicide. Tadashi then immediately carries her to his uncle Koyanagi's lab for aid, however Koyanagi rigs her up to a custom walking machine and ultimately, she becomes like the walking dead creatures, except with a will of her own. As a walking machine, she is eventually destroyed by a horde of other walking machines that deem the custom walker to be a threat to their survival. In the OVA adaptation, Kaori is made into the main character instead of Tadashi. She also possesses the unexplained immunity to the infected creatures' poisons instead of Tadashi.
- Doctor Koyanagi (小柳教授?): Tadashi's Uncle and an inventor. He discovers it was his father who died of a heart attack in a factory during a hot summer. While dissecting the fish, the legs then clamp onto his arm. He cuts off his arm to prevent the infection from spreading to the rest of his body. He is fascinated by the machine, not caring that he lost an arm to it. He then creates his own version of the walking machine and puts the infected Kaori onto it. He is mortally wounded when he is stabbed by Kaori's walking machine. He then goes to Lab #2 where his father originally died and places himself onto another walking machine that is able to fly. When he notices Tadashi and Ms. Yoshiyama interacting, he attacks them both and captures her. In the OVA version, Koyanagi is shown as an antagonist who went insane and connected an infected Tadashi to the custom Walker.
- Ms. Yoshiyama (芳山?): Assistant of Doctor Koyanagi, who cares for him and Tadashi. When she was seen with Tadashi by Kaori, Kaori tried to attack her. Ms. Yoshiyama then ran outside where she was captured by the Mechanical Koyanagi. She does not appear in the OVA adaptation.
- Tsuyoshi Shirakawa (白河剛?): A freelance videographer, appears only in the OVA adaption, Kaori met him in the airplane to Tokyo. Follows Kaori just to get to the location of doctor Koyanagi to get his research data. Got infected at the end of the anime before sending Kaori away to a group of survivors.
- Aki (アキ?): Friend of Kaori, appears only in the OVA adaption. She is meek and slightly overweight and feels unattractive, appears to be bullied by Erika. Turned into a walker at the end of the anime.
- Erika (エリカ?): Friend of Kaori, appears only in the OVA adaption, an outgoing and attractive girl who has no difficulty attracting other men, and appears to be picking on Aki all the time. She gets infected by the walkers early on. Aki bludgeoned her to death with an ashtray, but she appears to be alive again later on.
Two unrelated stories, "The Sad Tale of the Principal Post" and "The Enigma of Amigara Fault", are included as a pair of bonus stories, placed at the very end after the conclusion of Gyo. Although both are completely different and unrelated stories (both to each other and to Gyo), it was merged as one chapter altogether. The former is the shorter story, merely consisted of four pages, compared to the latter's thirty-one pages.
"The Sad Tale of the Principal Post"
The story starts with a family celebrating their new home. After noticing the patriarch's absence, the family's daughter hears her father screaming, and leads the family into the basement. There they find the father, who has somehow gotten stuck underneath a huge pillar, one of several that support the house, crushing his body. The mother tries in vain to save her husband but he warns that the pillar that traps him is the principal post of the house – and if it is moved, their house will collapse. He tells his family that there is no way he can be saved, and he will sacrifice himself so his family can have their home. That evening the man succumbs to his injuries and dies, and his family places a shrine at the post. Time moves on, but his skeleton remains still trapped underneath the post, along with the mystery of how he got stuck in the first place.
"The Enigma of Amigara Fault"
A huge earthquake has struck an unnamed prefecture, leaving a fault to be discovered by the people on the Amigara mountain (the name Amigara means "empty shell"). Two hikers, Owaki and Yoshida, meet while hiking, having the same intention to see the fault. Said fault is shrouded in mystery; it takes the form of human-shaped holes formed in the side of the mountain. It captured nationwide interest, and several attempts to examine how far the fault goes have all ended in vain. People discussed the origins of the fault, noting that the holes are definitely not natural and must have been dug from the inside of the mountain, but questioning why the holes were made or who would have the technology to make them.
Owaki notices Yoshida is looking for something, to which she replies she's looking for a hole that's shaped like herself. Owaki dismisses the idea, claiming it's ridiculous, but another hiker, Nakagaki, overhearing their conversation and siding with Yoshida, claims he has found his own hole. He takes them to his hole, and after removing his clothes to his underwear, disappears into the hole before Owaki can stop him. Scientists can't find any trace of Nakagaki inside the hole, and a rescue squad who's tiny enough to squeeze into the hole has to retreat after barely getting five meters deep into the hole Nakagaki went into. Later that night, Owaki has a nightmare about Nakagaki trapped inside the hole because it has been deformed by the earthquake. He wakes up to find Yoshida claiming she has found her own hole, located near the foot of the fault.
Meanwhile, Nakagaki still hasn't been found. Another man claims a hole is made for him, and disappears into it in a panic, leading to an outburst in which several other people descend into the mountain, much to the horror of the scientists. That night, Yoshida feels that the hole is calling her name and luring her into it, and if she goes there, she knows she'll be trapped. Owaki tries to calm her down by stuffing her hole with rocks, and stays the night with her. Owaki has another nightmare: This time he is in an ancient time, in which he has committed a horrific crime and is sentenced to enter a hole in the mountain that is dug out for him. The nightmare grows more freakish as Owaki enters the hole and after some time moving forward in it, he can feel his neck and limbs are torturously stretched and distorted, but he remains alive and in agony. He wakes up screaming and finds out that Yoshida has unblocked her hole and disappeared into it. As he sits mournfully in front of Yoshida's hole, he drops his flashlight and discovers in horror his own hole, located near Yoshida's. As his stare goes weary, he strips off his clothes and enters his hole.
Several months later, the scientists are informed of another fault on the other side of the mountain. This too, has holes in it, but they are not human-shaped, instead the shapes are long and distorted. One worker examines one of the holes, and as he shines his flashlight in it, notices that a horrifyingly disfigured being is slowly inching towards him from inside the hole.
Gyo was written and illustrated by Junji Ito. In his words, the inspiration came from Steven Spielberg's Jaws: "He masterfully captured the essence of fear in the form of a man-eating shark. I thought it would be even greater to capture that fear in a man-eating shark that goes on land as well as sea." The manga, published by Shogakukan, was serialized in the weekly manga magazine Big Comic Spirits from 2001 to 2002. Shogakukan compiled the chapters into two bound volumes and published them from February 2002 to May 2002. In North America, Viz Media published volumes of the series from September 2003 to March 2004. Viz Media later re-released the series with new covers from October 2007 to January 2008.
|No.||Japanese release date||Japanese ISBN||English release date||English ISBN|
|1||February 28, 2002||ISBN 4091860818||September 10, 2003 (1st ed.)
October 16, 2007 (2nd ed.)
|ISBN 1-56931-995-2 (1st ed.)
ISBN 1-4215-1387-0 (2nd ed.)
|2||May 30, 2002||ISBN 4091860826||March 10, 2004 (1st ed.)
January 15, 2008 (2nd ed.)
|ISBN 1-59116-140-1 (1st ed.)
ISBN 1-4215-1388-9 (2nd ed.)
An OVA adaptation was produced by Ufotable. It was directed by Takayuki Hirao while character designs were provided by Takuro Takahashi. The OVA was originally planned to be 30 minutes long but had evolved to 60 minutes throughout production. It was originally slated to release on December 14, 2011 but was delayed and released on February 15, 2012. Compared to the manga, there are some twists in the OVA like the changing of the protagonist, instead of Tadashi it became Kaori.
Terracotta screened the film in London at the Prince Charles Cinema from April 12–15, 2012 as part of their Terracotta Far East Film Festival. Terracotta released the film on DVD September 3, 2012. Both DVD and Blu-ray versions were also released in Australia on March 2013 by Hanabee and DVD-only in North America on July 9, 2013 by Aniplex of America.
For the first volume, Carl Kimlinger of Anime News Network praised the art and the bizarre relationship that Tadashi and Kaori share. Josephine Fortune of Mania gave it an A, praising the artwork, specifically the detail of the backgrounds. Fortune also praised the pacing of the story although noted that the plot contradicts itself later in the volume. Ken Haley of PopCultureShock gave it a B+ praising the silly moments the manga had and how they resembled that of an action/horror story normally seen in theaters. Michael Aronson of Manga Life gave it an A echoing similar praise regarding story stating, "Logic holes and an absurd concept be damned, this is still an utterly compelling read that’s sure to squeeze at one’s stomach a few times." Read About Comics noted Ito's art skill as keeping the story from becoming "silly".
For the second volume, Kimlinger continued to praise the story stating: "This final volume may be one of the most genuinely nauseating books ever to blight a shelf." Fortune gave the it a B+ again praising the artwork and pacing of the plot, although noted that the plot had some holes in its logic and that readers who enjoy concrete and definitive endings may not like the ending of the manga. Aronson also noted issues with the plot, however noted, "It’s still a gorgeous piece of scar tissue that seems like a polished experiment more than a deeply considered publication."
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