It’s no question that I am a serious fan of the mind and work of Japanese manga writer/artist Junji Ito. His piece, “Uzumaki” is one of the many things responsible for my high level of manga obsession to this day, and that work alone is something that I still walk around pondering over. It may be offensive on my end, though, and a true horror done onto the manga/anime world that I had for some time not read nor seen the manga or anime, “Gyo”. Well, I finally strapped myself in for the anime adaptation “Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack!” and I can clearly see why this was such an offense.
Released in 2012, “Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack!” takes place outside of Tokyo, where Kaori and her friends are celebrating college graduation at her boyfriend’s uncle’s house near the beach. It is here that they experience a great terror arise from the ocean, as fish of all species emerge from the blue with spider-like mechanical limbs that allow them to terrorize land-inhabitants, killing all in their path.
The thing that I can’t get over with this anime is just how great the creators (from Junji Ito to the animation studio Ufotable) pull this off. When presented the premise, it’s easy to think of something corny/comedic like “Sharknado”, however there wasn’t a moment in this film that I didn’t feel incredibly unsettled. The concept is something to really ponder, given some of the ecological horrors and commentaries it places on the story; imagining a world where the start of an apocalypse is based on aquatic species. It’s honestly something, though, that I feel only a mind like Junji Ito could pull off, as I don’t really think it would work from an American developer’s perspective (though it should, with all of the horrors that our system does to the Earth and the creatures within it). The monsters are surreal, yet realistically disgusting and frightening. And one thing that must be put at high praise is the ability to visualize the persistent stench of death throughout the picture. Never had I felt like I could sense every aspect of a horror film quite like this.
Character development in this is very interesting. While some of it does admittedly seem a bit stereotypical (I mean, how out there can you get with recent college graduates anyway, am I right?), the dialogue and character motive in this film is very enveloping. I felt like I could see these types of reactions and social commentaries arise in such a crisis like that presented in the film. Nothing seemed that corny or forced to me.
Along with the aforementioned dialogue being believable to me, the sound and animation style in general really fit together nicely. The sounds and voices kind of put a shiver down your spine. The voice acting and sound effects seemed to be really on point to me. And the animations of facial expressions and very human-like movements to me seemed to be up to par. Overall, this film just looks and sounds really good, especially for its realistic art style.
Overall, I really enjoyed “Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack!”. It wasn’t too long or too short, and given that this is a Junji Ito – inspired/adapted piece, one can always seem to count on a good ending, and I was pretty satisfied with this one. The action and horror was fast-paced, but not rushed. And overall, if you can get me to sweat and squirm or feel helpless in a horror film, my hat goes off to you (especially that flight scene, my god). I highly recommend this anime to anybody who feels like they aren’t quite into anime yet, and need a crossover piece to get used to things. In all, I rate it a 9 out of 10 decayed fish fins.