Manga Review: “Gyo”

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It is going to be quite difficult to say much about Gyo without peppering this review in spoilers and ruining the surprises for prospective readers, but I’ll do my best.

Right off the bat, I have to say that reading this manga will definitely make you wonder whether creator Junji Ito is a complete psychopath, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. I was first introduced to Junji through another manga of his – Uzumaki – which I devoured and found myself wondering what kind of lunatic could come up with such a twisted tale. Upon adding Gyo to bookshelf as well, I’m now convinced that Junji either has the most horrifying night terrors in the history of mankind, or he is communicating with some other Lovecraftian dimension that I want to stay as far away from as humanly possible.

Gyo opens with a young couple on vacation, and as they experience a bit of a frustrating time, arguing with one another, they are beset upon by a disgusting and frightening creature that followed them home from the ocean: a fish with strange, sharp, insect-like legs that allow it to skitter around horrifically. On top of the cringe-worthy creepiness of the creature itself wafts a disgusting rotten smell – the smell of death.

From the moment the “Walking Fish” first arrives, you’ll feel chills going up and down your spine, because Junji’s artwork is beautiful and horrifying in equal measure, and he does an amazing job of portraying a disgusting, deadly monstrosity that just screams “unnatural horror”. And it only gets better from there, as more Walking Fish begin to crawl out onto the beaches of Japan, followed by more, and more, and more, until it seems that the entire ocean is emptying of its inhabitants, who are now crawling over every inch of Japan, terrorizing the population.

If such an image isn’t nightmare-inducing enough for you, believe me when I say that it gets worse. Much, much worse. I refuse to give anything away, because the continual build of more and more horror is part of what makes the story so amazing, so please just trust me when I say that if you’re a fan of horror – and in particular a fan of Japanese horror – you’ll be delighted (in a terrifying way) by this story and the accompanying gorgeous artwork.

The single complaint that I have about Gyo is that the story did not come to any kind of a logical, satisfying conclusion. Given the nature of the story this could be a personal preference kind of a situation, but while some people prefer the unknown, I myself prefer some kind of an explanation – or even an attempt at one – as to what has actually occurred. While Junji’s Uzumaki was filled with weird, strange, unexplained insanity, there was also just enough of background and revelation for you to have a vague idea of what had caused the events, and they came to a kind of conclusion in the end. Gyo, however, ends much like a zombie movie that stops just as the outbreak begins to overtake the planet. There are bits and pieces of information that attempt to explain how a single Walking Fish may have come to exist, but zero explanation as to how millions of them would have come to exist. On top of that, there are strange characters introduced to further the plot, but their presence and purposes are completely glossed over, and we are additionally shown a strange supernatural phenomenon that may be responsible for how the Walking Fish are able to walk, but that’s all we actually get…an image with no further correlation or information as to what this phenomenon actually is. One could definitely make some educated guesses, but this is a story that leaves so much so open, that a reader such as myself can’t help but sit back and think, “GIVE ME MORE INFORMATION!” Again, this could be a personal preference, but I can honestly say that I finished the story with a twitch in my eye, wanting nothing more than to have some kind of link into Junji’s thought process so that I could understand where some of this had come from.

The particular version of Gyo that I have – the 2-in-1 Deluxe edition – also includes a couple of short stories tacked onto the end as a bonus. The first – The Sad Tale of the Principle Post – is a very short that makes your mind go blank as it struggles to comprehend how the subject of the tale could have ever possibly occurred. The second – The Enigma of the Amigara Fault – might give me nightmares for the rest of my life. It’s another tale with little-to-no explanation, but given the nature of the story and the outcome for the characters involved, this is a tale in which you may actually want to know less. In particular, if you have even the slightest form of claustrophobia, this short story might send you into fits of hyperventilation just thinking about it.

Long story short: Junji Ito is a master of the freaky, the disgusting, and the downright disturbing, and brings it all to you wrapped in a package of beautiful, exceptionally-detailed artwork that leaves little to the imagination. Gyo – and it’s accompanying bonus stories – is terrifying, chill-inducing horror that you won’t be able to put down until you reach the end, and is creative in a way that makes you shudder for the sanity of the mind that thought it up. From a horror fan who has found herself fairly desensitized at this point in life, I can honestly say that it creeped me the hell out, and that is high, high praise.



Want to check out Gyo by Junji Ito for yourself? Click right here to order the 2-in-1 Deluxe Edition!

Plans and Goals 2018: Week 2 Review

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I feel like I say this often, but the past week seemed to have disappeared on me in the blink of an eye. I feel like I literally just wrote last week’s post, although seven more days have mysteriously passed. Happily, part of the reason time has escaped me again is because I was rather busy getting things done. What a concept, right? So let’s take a look…


Plan #1: Focus more on Writing.
I didn’t reach my writing goals for the week at all, unfortunately, but I did manage to write something every day of this past week, which is a real accomplish for me, believe it or not. I also managed to get a few other things out of the way (which I’ll mention shortly), so I should be able to (hopefully) catch up a bit in the second half of the month.

  • Goal #1: Write half a million words throughout the year. I only succeeded in writing 1370 words on one day this week, which is a bit of a downer, but as mentioned I did manage to write daily, if only a little. All told I wrote 3108 words toward blog posts, 1528 words toward The Other World: Book 2, and 379 words toward a random personal project I began. That’s 5015 words total for the week, which isn’t much, but at least it’s something. For the sake of argument, I’m now at 9179 words for the year so far, which is an average of 706 words per day. Nowhere near the goal to reach half a million by the end of the year, but it’s definitely better than nothing!
  • Goal #2: Sell more books. Thus far this year I haven’t sold any books online, which is a bummer, but I believe I’ve sold a few via the collectibles shop I mentioned last week. I haven’t been able to get a hold of the owner, as he’s currently on a trip to the other side of the country, but the last time I was in the store it seemed like a few of the books were missing from the stack, so fingers crossed!
  • Goal #3: Complete and publish The Other World: Book Two. The little that I did write toward TOW2 this week brought me very close to the end. There are a few things near the beginning of the manuscript that I have to go back to before it can be a complete draft, but I’m nearing the point when I’ll be able to wrap it up and ship it off to my beta readers.

Plan #2: Focus more on YouTube.
Jason and I KICKED ASS on this goal in the second week. I don’t know where the energy and motivation came from, but I’m definitely not complaining!

  • Goal #1: Film more often. In the past week I filmed 8 videos, which I haven’t done in AGES, and between myself and Jason we actually managed to get every one of them edited and published, shocking some of our closest YouTube friends with our sudden burst of output. It was awesome!
  • Goal #2: Put more focus into, and have more fun with, the social media aspect. I petered off with this one at the end of the week when I started to get exhausted (and then Adrianna had a friend over for a sleepover, and pretty much everything came to a grinding halt…lol), but the majority of the week was good. Lots of tweeting, Instagramming, and talking to people on Facebook. I’m still getting used to getting back into SnapChat – it just doesn’t seem as important since there’s not really a lot of interaction there – but I’m working on it. I want to try to bolster the Instagram posts in the coming week, as that’s where we have the most followers and interaction.

Plan #3: Focus more on myself.
And here’s the real test? Did I take care of myself during all this work? Well, yeah, for the most part, I did!

  • Goal #1: Take time daily to read/watch/play. I’ll willingly admit that a lot of my “me time” this past week consisted of crashing on the couch and playing Sailor Drops on my phone, but given how much I was getting done with the YouTube channel, I’m going to forgive myself for defaulting to brainless mobile games for a bit. I also began reading A Clockwork Orange, which proves to be very interesting, and last night when the girls were finally quieting down a bit I absolutely devoured Gyo, which I’ll have to write a review of soon because…damn. I’m going to be having nightmares for weeks!
  • Goal #2: Stay active, but don’t obsess. The overwhelming majority of my physical activity this week involved cleaning, but hey, it needs to be done, and at least I was up and moving around! I also played a bit of  Just Dance with Adrianna, which never fails to remind me how out of shape I am, and while this doesn’t necessarily fall under “stay active”, I also started taking vitamin D to combat the winter blues, as well as guzzling more water to keep myself hydrated. So far I think both things are helping because I’ve been feeling more awake and alert, which is never a bad thing.

So that was my second week of 2018. Not a huge amount of success on the writing side, but lots of good with everything else. I’m hoping to press into the third week with more filming and more writing, and if I can manage to carve out some time I’d like to get back into Breath of the Wild before I forget how to play. ^_~

How was your week? Were you able to accomplish anything? Do anything fun? Make any progress toward your own goals? Feel free to share!