Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack! REVIEW
Fish and chips that delivers itself: brilliant!
Release Date: 3 September 2012
2012 | 18 | 71 minutes | £9.99
Distributor: Terror Cotta
Director: Takayuki Hirao
Cast: Mirai Kataoka, Takuma Negishi, Ami Taniguchi, Masami Saeki
Junji Ito’s 2001 manga Gyo (literal translation: The Fish) sees all manner of aquatic life – fish, sharks, octopuses – inexplicably walking out of the ocean on spindly metal legs, powered by the gas of their own decomposing bodies. And that’s only the beginning of the madness…
Crammed with grotesque imagery every bit as macabre as Goya’s nastiest etchings, it’s one of the most memorably bizarre horror comics out there, featuring moments of WTF body horror that make The Thing’s head-on-legs look pretty small beer.
This abbreviated anime adap (which combines both 2D and 3D animation) telescopes the story, eliding certain events and losing much of its brooding atmosphere in the process. Other changes include a gender-swap on the central couple (the protagonist is now a girl seeking her fiance, not the other way round), and the introduction of a redundant secondary love interest.
There’s also some gratuitous “sexing up”, including a threesome sequence that’s mercifully short but still bafflingly inappropriate (if rotting fish on legs were surrounding your house, would it put you in a horny mood?); the same hot-to-trot female character (an invention of the anime) later has her clothes torn to shreds during a shark attack which is replete with phallic menace. It’s all bit cheap.
But the most significant addition is motion, and sadly images that, on the printed page, sear into your subconscious all too often look ludicrous when they’re brought to life. The fact that the quality of the animation is extremely variable doesn’t help matters (at times you suspect characters are covering their mouths in shock because it’s less work to animate) – and the grocers’ apostrophes in the English subtitles are an additional annoyance.
Interviews with Junji Ito and the director, and some storyboards.
Ian Berriman twitter.com/ianberriman
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