Sunday, 4 March 2012


What would happen if the world were suddenly over-run by fish with mechanical legs?  No, I haven't been eating too much cheese before bedtime again - rather, I've been watching horror manga turned anime OVA Gyo.

What begins as a fun trip to Okinawa to celebrate graduation for Kaori Sawahara and her two friends Aki and Erika soon turns rotten... quite literally, as they return to the summer house loaned to them by Kaori's fiancé to find a rotting, death-tinged scent which ultimately turns to belong to some weird, fish-like creature that they manage to kill.  This is just the beginning of their, and many others, nightmare however, as by the next day first Okinawa and then other locations find themselves awash with marauding invaders from the sea - Squid Girl this ain't, however.

Once Kaori suspects that her fiancé is caught up in the developing chaos, she leaves her friends to their own devices and sets off for home - perhaps not the smartest idea as Tokyo proves to be even more badly over-run with these weird creatures, although at least she finds herself in the company of a freelance videographer who seems happy to follow her around until she makes it safely home.  At least, that's the plan, but of course things prove to be far less simple than that, while Tadashi himself seems somewhat intertwined in the weirdness enveloping the world as things take ever-more surreal turns to cast a decidedly off-colour light on the married couple to-be's reunion.

I'm really not sure what there is to say about Gyo other than to call it B-movie horror at its worst... or finest, depending on how you look at it.  While much of the film is played with a straight bat its premise begins within the realm of the ludicrous and only becomes more so from there, leaving us with a planet over-run by bloated, gas-powered humans sandwiched onto mechanical legs to allow them to move.  It is, of course, deliberately grotesque. Essentially, what we have here the zombie horror genre taken to its illogical conclusion, but if Gyo is trying to poke fun at such outings then it never really shows itself as having a sense of humour - the film is funny, but like all cheesy horror movies it never feels deliberately so.

You also get the impression that there's an attempt at social commentary lurking within the film, but this too is quite literally laughably simplistic, as you end up chuckling at the bitchiness of Kaori's friends as they lay into one another, while the descent of even Tokyo into looting, rioting and general mayhem doesn't really elicit much thought.  Perhaps if you're a fan of mindless, gory, gruesome horror Gyo will have something for you, but apart from making me giggle a few times out of sheer stupidity there's little to really sell the OVA to the average anime fan - its dumb, tacky and exploitative for the most part, and no amount of labelling it as "post-modern" is really likely to change that.

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