Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack (Japan - 2012)
Voices: Mirai Kataoka, Takuma Negishi, Ami Taniguchi
Director: Takayuki Hirao
Plot: On vacation in a sea resort, three teenage friends must suddenly fight for their lives - and their sanity - when the village is overrun by mysterious walking fish, an infestation that quickly manifests itself all over Japan.
Review: A bizarre, gruesome and quickly-paced horror anime, Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack is as weird a tale as you'd come to expect from Junji Ito, the manga creator of such tales as
Uzumaki (itself a great live-action film). The end of the world scenario, inspired by
H.P. Lovecraft and other Japanese adults-only flicks, throws in biological monsters and other atrocities amid a sometimes exciting slew of genre clichés and engaging killer action. The movie starts off with familiar genre tropes, but from there the actual horror that gets released on this coastal community, then moving to Tokyo, is completely over-the-top ridiculous, ludicrous, and - admittedly - original. I mean, where else but from Japan can you get the idea of fart-gas powered mechanical contraptions? As silly as the image of giant underwater predators attached to insect-like mechanical legs running around the city might be, it's only the start of what is a really crazy and involving affair. For one, the transformations of human beings to bloated green messes is as disgusting and disturbing as anything you would see in a zombie film. And the lingering question as to what is behind it all - hinting only at a cool alien angle - is never clear, and that's a good thing. As for the animation, it's rather
minimalist throughout, but it is straightforward and provides the right visual approach to get its story across. At barely an hour, the movie never over stays it's welcome, and the
bizarre elements and ideas come fast and furious. Themes of humanity, of otherness and survival all peer through, but it's clear that it wasn't the most important focus - what's intended is twisted sci-fi / horror tale big on Z-movie exploitation, with the expected teen horror staples of sex, nudity, gross out sequences and violence, and in that it delivers. A perfect film for Toronto's Midnight Madness festival...