Gyo: Ugomeku Bukimi was first published in English by VIZ Media as a VIZ Editor's Choice title, a slightly larger format, from September 10, 2003 to March 10, 2004. It was later republished as Gyo: The Death-Stench Creeps by VIZ Media under the VIZ Signature imprint. Volume 1 on October 16, 2007 and volume 2 on January 15, 2008, and again in a hardcover omnibus on April 21, 2015.
The series was also published in Spanish by ECC Comics (October 1 and October 29, 2014) and in Polish as Gyo: Odór Śmierci by Japonica Polonica Fantastica (2013).
Horror is a hard thing to make in comics today without just being a mindless blood bath of gore and fluids splattered across the walls. Junji Ito does a good job of providing us with good, freaky stories that scare or just plain old disturbs us. Gyo is one of his most recent stories that he took a chance with and provided us with a new look of what is under the sea. Not just that either, in this series we were also given two quick short stories at the end of the series to leave us terrified of not going under
our houses or go hiking anymore.
The main story is nice and helps build up tension and suspense as each chapter builds. The things that make this story from reaching a perfect score are that two chapters that take place in a carnival is a bit lacking and the end leaves us without a good real way to end the story. Otherwise this story provides us a good explanation of what is happening to our hero and builds up a nice strong storyline.
Now the other two stories are interesting. The first one is too short and lacks any real depth or horror to it, though it leaves us wondering. The second short story really is a lot better and can give us shivers. This story is strong and provides enough information to understand the situation but leaves us with two questions at the end: why are they drawn to the area and who was that at the end of the story?
This story has a nice sense of art style, the main characters are nicely drawn, the details the world are amazing, and the monsters or should I say fish, are drawn beyond any skill level I have seen before. This story has set the bar high on what a story should look like. There is nothing to complain about here.
What can I say about our only four characters? The female lead is a complaining brat who never gives up complaining about the smell, but after a while I say why she would complain. It doesn’t help us like her more though. The male lead character is pretty cool and has a good sense of luck throughout most of the story. His uncle is a bit weird and there isn’t enough information about him to connect him with us. His assistant is interesting, but still, not enough information is given about her to make us feel connected with her.
The short stories lack a bit of depth in the characters, but then again, they are just short stories so there isn’t enough time to shell out a lot of information about them. The first story leaves us with nothing to know about any of the characters, but the second story does provide us with enough information about our two characters, though not a lot, to understand them a bit.
The main story itself was fun to read, but not enough to make me want to read it over and over again. The short stories, however, would be fun to read again and again. Overall, it depends if you like the story the first time around then you might want to read it again.
This is a solid horror story, but lacks a strong ending that may disappoint. Horror fans will enjoy the story and so will fans of Junji Ito as well. Also, if regular people are looking for a good story with a great art style, they’ll want to jump into this story.
Warning: This story contains graphic violence, nudity, and disturbing images. Do you hate that stuff? If you do, avoid this story at all costs!
Gyo— another masterpiece by Junji Ito after 'Uzumaki', one of the greatest horror manga series that could have ever been made! Having his works equipped with bizarre plots and aberrant visuals, Junji has proved that horror is not necessarily synonymous with 'the ghost with long black hair' or 'the evil, bloodsucking vampires lurking in the bush out there'. He has the ability to create gruesome horror out of anything and everything, even if it is a fish. Fish— that's exactly what he portrays in 'Gyo', well, in an extremely absurd way that is beyond anyone's imagination with Junji being an exception of course.
has nineteen chapters, each having 16-19 pages for the main story, and another chapter that comprises of two short stories which are independent of the main story; the total being twenty chapters. The manga is thus pretty short but by the time I finished reading it, it felt as if I have been through a long journey filled with 'skin crawling' moments. To be precise, I love the story. I'm really impressed with Junji's creativity at horror storytelling. I seriously can never imagine something as unique as that even in the next ten, twenty or thirty years. It has suspense, it has that 'Oh-crap-why-did-that-have-to-happen' feeling and it keeps you turning the pages because you simply have no idea what's going to happen next. The characters are also pretty good. I especially liked the protagonist, Tadashi. He didn't give up in spite of the havoc around him. Instead he chose to stand up to the 'monsters' and protect his girlfriend. The ending, however, turned out to be a disappointment for me. It was not satisfactory and it seemed incomplete. I was so engrossed in reading that I didn't realize it was already over and when the first short story came up, I was literally like, "Huh? What is this?" until I realized that the main story is already finished.
Speaking about the two short stories in the end, the first one wasn't really that good. There was no mention of what had happened, how it happened and why it happened. It just happened. The second short story, on the other hand, was fantastic. I might as well call it a little masterpiece of Junji because it is short, hardly around 20 chapters or so, but it was downright creepy.
The art is great. It is similar to Junji's other works. The backgrounds are detailed, and the characters and their expressions are also well drawn. The style is well suited for horror manga.
To conclude my review, I will say that I recommend this series to all those who love horror and are looking for something unique to read which will stay in the back of their mind for quite a long time, if not forever. But I think it is also necessary to warn you that it has various disturbing visuals and if you think you can't take them, you must stay away from this manga.
The manga starts as a fun read, with a creative premise and situation. Since neither the reader or the characters knew anything about what was going on, it felt eerie and weird, as in, “what the fuck is going on?”, I’d say this was a good start.
But that’s it, after the initial beach chapters, the manga starts showing it’s terribleness.
Unlike most of Ito’s manga, Gyo, doesn’t have that creepy atmosphere always looming in the background, normally represented by the visuals, be it the dreadful backgrounds or the sheer expression of terror on the character’s faces. One of my main gripes with this manga is that
it focuses too much on the premise, dead sea creatures with legs and walking among earth are scary at first, but a strong premise isn’t nearly enough to hold an entire manga on it’s own, it needs more than that to keep the reader engaged and entertained.
Gyo is a gore fest, it’s obviously trying it’s hardest to shock you and show off the nastiest images possible, but it doesn’t do that very well. Drawings of gore aren’t that disgusting, specially when it’s so ridiculous and over the top.
The “story”, if you can call it that, is simple and very cliché, another “save your girlfriend, save the world” kinda story, where the main character gets involved in all this and has to save his love, eventually discovering what really happened and the truth to these horrible creatures, despite being a completely average person. To make matters worse, he’s nothing new and hardly developed, if at all. it’s also incredibly hard to feel anything for the girlfriend when she’s just a damsel in distress.
The explanation of the mystery and events tries to be very scientific and realistic, but fails miserably, in actuality it is terribly lazy and weak, with a bunch of science mumbo-jumbo sprinkled in the middle.
Junji Ito wasn’t at his best when writing this, at least his other most popular work, Uzumaki, being as average as it was, had a stronger premise and also was an enjoyable, interesting read, the characters were realistic and had amusing reactions to their world and what was happening, you won’t find anything like that here.
Most manga by Ito has interesting visuals and presents something new and scary every chapter, a smart move by the author. It’s hard to be sacred by something you are familiar with. By keeping it fresh and introducing new horrors, he keeps that feeling of uneasiness and dread, the feeling of not knowing what’s to come. This is evident in that most of his work are one-shots or very short manga in general. Gyo, however, barely introduces new horrors or monsters at all, it escalates things, sure, but you can only be so terrorized by a shark with legs after you’ve seen it many times.
It’s become clear that Ito wanted to creep you out with the “monsters” on this manga, and that’s fine, but on this work, were the monsters are almost all fish, they get old fast, losing the impact along with it.
It’s easy to get a shark, put some legs on it and call it a monster.
The best I can say about it is, besides the beautiful art, that the ending doesn’t have any sequel-bait and just ends things quickly.
Don’t read this.
If you are interested in Junji Ito’s works, go read Uzumaki, Junji Ito’s Horror Collection or, better yet, The Enigma on Amigara’s Fault, a short tale on the end of this book, great fun and by far the best thing to come out of Gyo.
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