Book Review, Horror

Gyo by Junji Ito

Gyo cover

So I thought it would be a good idea to read lots and lots of horror manga and write about it. I love Japanese horror novels and films so this seemed like an amazing idea. I hadn’t read any horror manga before so I combed the internet looking

for the best horror manga that was out there and this manga popped up on EVERY list. Even when I mentioned to other people that I was reading horror manga they said “have you read the fish one?” or made some sort of joke about fish. …Fish? So, that seemed
like a good place to start. Also why the hell did everyone keep talking about fish? I needed in on the joke so I picked up Gyo, aka “the fish manga”.

Long story short: What did I just read?!

I am very familiar with manga and all its oddness but Gyo not only takes the cake it takes the whole bloody bakery of weirdness and goes on a sugar filled crime spree. It is so odd that when I finished it my partner asked what it was about and I just sat there saying “umm” because I couldn’t explain it without sounding a little mad.

Gyo is about fish that sprout legs and walk out of the ocean. That is the entire premise. You follow a young couple who spend their time being chased by fish. That doesn’t sound too bad until you remember that sharks are fish too.

Gyo manga panel shark

I can’t explain the horror in this book too well. It isn’t straight up scary but it has plenty of ideas that are terrifying when you think about them properly. That sort of thinking is found a lot in Japanese horror and it is why I love it so much. It is scary because it is realistic and hits home better than most horror genres. In this case it is the focus on smells, germs and general icky things that gets you. If you were a germaphobe, had an issue with strong smells, fish or spider legs this would seriously get under your skin. And to drive the creepiness of the idea home it is all backed up by gorgeous art work. The designs of the main characters are simple but when it comes to the fish and horror scenes it goes all out with the detail making it has gruesome as possible.

Gyo manga panel fish

It is really hard to say if I enjoyed this manga or not. It certainly did its job of leaving me confused and grossed out, but I can see that a lot of effort, thought and love went into it. I will definitely be recommending it to people in the future when they mention horror manga to me, so it certainly left a lingering impact.

All I can say is check it out for yourself, but maybe avoid it if you have a fear of fish and other gross things.

Warning: This manga contains mild nudity and extreme gore.


6 thoughts on “Gyo by Junji Ito”

  1. This was my first Junji Ito work. I love it and you should read Uzumaki next (I have the hardcover omnibus and it’s amazing)

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