Yesterday I was supposed to be attending a preview of Looper, which I was looking forward to as I’m a huge fan of Rian Johnsons first film Brick (2005). But thanks to some fucktard interfering with my shit last night and costing me two days worth of meals I spent the evening in such a red haze that I totally forgot I had a ticket to the showing. So that’s two things I’m holding this dickleberry responsible for. Now I’m going to have to slope off to the cinema on my lonesome this weekend like the true geek that I am. So instead of writing about Looper as I had planned; I bring you Gyo Tokyo Fish Attack (2012).
I found this by accident last weekend, while I was walking through the supermarket buying the food that was destined to be ruined, initially the gaudy cover caught my eye and despite myself I had to have a look. At first I thought it was one of those Sharktopus vs something or another films, but after a closer look the cogs slowly started to turn; and I realised what I had was to awesome to comprehend. This is an anime of Gyo one of my favourite horror comics, by one of my favourite artists/authors; Junji Ito. I love it when they make films out of other stuff, Games, Comics, etc.
Junji Ito’s true masterpiece in my mind is Uzumaki; a series about a strange town in Japan where spirals take over, not a spiral monster, spirals the shape! So straight off get ready to expect the unusual from Gyo.
Gyo is about an army of dead fish with strange metal legs grafted on to them that suddenly start to invade Japan. These range from tiddlers to sharks and even a blue whale! Btw we later learn these fish are animated by the death stench, a sentient odour emanating from their rotting corpses. So yeah messed up.
The film kicks off with three friends holidaying in Okinawa when the spindle legged fish start to invade the land. Realising that the fish are heading to Tokyo Kaori and a reporter she meets head off to Tokyo to find her fiancé, who just so happens to have a famous scientist uncle that would be useful for the reporter to meet. What follows is best described as a post apocalyptic disaster movie, seen through the eyes of these five characters, as slowly one by one they fall victim to the fish, becoming infected with the same disease that afflicts the fish, and themselves ending up riding around on the walking leg devices.
In Japan a comic is given a limited number of pages in a larger monthly or weekly magazine, meaning that they are published in chapters. In order to keep the audiences attention these chapters need to be almost contained stories in themselves. And this shows in Gyo the film feels like a collection of vignettes, particularly the downright bizarre sequence featuring a circus tent in the middle of Tokyo. Having said that there is a definite larger story that does move forward around these smaller events, because after all that’s the way that the source material was organised.
The episodic nature of Gyo’s structure doesn’t damage the film because Gyo is about spectacle; you journey from one what-the-fuck moment to another, never really getting attached to any of the films characters. In fact I would say overall there are only really two of the five protagonists that you ever really get to care for. The characters are there because ultimately; this messed up shit has to happen to somebody! Personally I loved this film and not just because I’m a fan of Ito, if anything that would make me judge this more harshly. So I say sit down and get ready because shits going to get weird.
If your not in the mood for Junji Ito’s distinct brand of madness then I’m sorry to hear that; because he’s such a unique voice that the only other film I could suggest you watch in this films place is Uzumaki (2000) the live action adaptation of Ito’s masterpiece. Which is as previously mentioned also batshit crazy.