Gyo by Junji Ito, Publication Run 2001-2002, 390 pages approx
So the second book I’m going to talk about is the Viz collection of Gyo by horror mangaka Junji Ito. Junji Ito is one of the best known horror manga artists. I have his classics Tomie and Uzumaki and both are twisted, crazy works. I also have another of his books on my TO READ LATER pile.
Gyo is the story of rotting sea life coming onto land with organic metal legs. The ensuing terror that grips the world as the reader follows Tadashi and Kaori. We start with them at the first location this starts and watch what happens as the world is engulfed. Its pretty light on story and characterization to be honest. There is a lot about gas and smell. The story does seek to explain what goes on in vague retro science fiction type of way. As for characters Kaori is very annoying and Tadashi’s uncle is an a-hole but there’s little else running through. Tadashi seems like an alright dude but he does get annoying at times.
The thing about Junji ito is that his work is really the experience. It’s insane and unique approach to body horror. Gyo is a a quick read with so many crazy images. Its a visual marvel for anyone into horror. The scene with the great white shirt with legs is something I kind of like to see a Hollywood studio try. in fact the story is so bare bones a good horror script writer could make some real magic here. With the right director, could be a horror masterpiece. But its Hollywood so… And then I’m sure they would go with a happy ending. Ito’s works don’t have happy endings. They just sort of end in despair. Though this one did have a brief suggestion of hope for the future but the stories personalized to Tadashi, and to a point Kaori, so the story has to end with them.
The Viz collection I have has two bonus stories. The first a short of little substance but the second one! The Enigma of Amigara Fault is the major source of inspiration for Steven Universe’s Kindergarten. If you’re familiar with SU, you know Kindergarten is where gems grew other gems. Body shape holds in stone mountains where gems popped out. That’s dark for that show, here its down right horrifying. A discovery has people all around the world visiting this strange phenomenon and the ones most entranced, finding what hey believe to be their own hole. If I had never watched Steven Universe I’d still want to talk about this story.
If you like horror, specifically body horror and strange horror, this is for you. Of course, Uzumaki and Tomie are superior to Gyo. But I say check them all out.