Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack / Cert: 15 / Director: Takayuki Hirao / Screenplay: Takayuki Hirao / Starring: Mirai Kataoka, Hideki Abe, Ami Tamiguchi, Masami Saeki, Takuma Negishi / Release Date: October 1st
Director Takayuki Hirao brings Japanese horror manga artist Jumji Ito’s graphic novel screaming to life in this distinctive anime adaptation. Certain strands of the story have been changed and condensed but the themes of learning from past mistakes, the search for truth and the atrocities of war are packed into seventy surreal minutes.
Kaori, Erika and Aki are vacationing by the sea when they happen upon a stinky, scuttling sea creature that has been hiding out in their summer house. Kaori kills the creature and places it in the trash but it floats up out of the bin triggering an attack from the Pacific Ocean. The three girls are joined by two local men leading to some familiar anime flesh exposure and a horror movie style set up as fish suddenly grow legs and go on a rampage.
The invasion doesn’t really let up from here on in with swarms of fish making their way on to the mainland and violently attacking humans with their new spiky metal legs. When Kaori discovers her fiancé Tadashi is in trouble she heads back to Tokyo to see if she can save him. Gyo kicks off its weirdness from the start and doesn’t stop until the very end. The allegory with the Pacific War is made clear throughout the film but it also comments on loyalty, manipulative media and a greedy society fascinated with fame.
Visually Hirao has stuck with the twisted and delightfully bizarre imagery from Ito’s graphic novel to which your eyes will be glued to the screen as each new creature is revealed. Ito’s creations bring new levels of madness to the usual shark attack scene. As the human race turns into grotesque green gas bags emitting noxious fumes, sporting tentacles and shit-spurting body spouts, Kaori clings to the hope that the mutated beings still have possession of a soul and free will. The idea of divine retribution is handled with a circus top scene full of supernatural Edvard Munch inspired smog that brings the film to its startling conclusion. Alongside all that a mad professor waxes lyrical about government conspiracy and cover-up whilst experimenting on this new species of farting fish.
Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack is infectiously funny, fast paced anime that delivers an assortment of freaky sea beasts whilst also commenting on the impact of conflict.