end of the world is nigh and it smells like feet. Mutant fish flatulence is a tough way for
humanity to go out, but it looks like our number is up, nonetheless. Prepare yourself for a messy apocalypse in
Takayuki Hirao’s Gyo (trailer here), which must be
poised on the brink of taking the world by storm after it screened yesterday as
a co-presentation of the 2012 Japan Cuts and New York Asian film festivals.
and her friends are spending their last spring break together vacationing in
Okinawa. This will not be a good time to
be near the water. She is hot but
nice. Erika is hot and mean. Aki, the third one, is plain and dumb. They will act accordingly throughout the
impending crisis. It turns out the trio
is on the front line. They are the first
to record an encounter with the stinky fish with strange bio-mechanical
legs. It turns out there were plenty
more where that one came from and they have already overrun Tokyo.
the worst from a disconnect with her fiancé Tadashi, Kaori rushes back to the
fish-battered city, hooking up with Shirakawa, an only slightly sleazy
photojournalist. Ostensibly acting as
her protector, Shirakawa really wants to get a story from Tadashi’s at least
partially mad scientist uncle, who has apparently become the world’s preeminent
authority on “walking fish” in a matter of hours.
says End of Days like hordes of walking fish cascading over Tokyo’s boulevards. However, it is the death stench that is the
real poison, mutating humans through their open wounds. It looks like it is payback time for all that
sushi Japanese chefs served up.
the way, Gyo is not for kids. As if all the mutant mayhem were not enough
of a red flag for parents, let’s just say Kaori’s friend Erika is kind of a tramp. It did not screen as part of the Anime from Hell sidebar for nothing. Considering how gleefully notorious it will
surely become, Gyo is sure to be
picked up by other festivals, so you’ve been warned.
Gyo credit—it takes the wild premise
of Junji Ito’s manga and runs with it.
There are times it plays like the anime equivalent of a Roger Corman
film, but how can that be a bad thing? To
Gyo’s further credit, it features a
strong female protagonist, though it would probably be a stretch to call it
empowering, unless you’re a fish. It
should also be noted those mutant farting fish seem to be the result of a nefarious
Imperial Japanese research project during WWII.
Frankly, North Korean lunacy would be a more likely culprit, but it is
just nice to see this one not blamed on the American military, as in Bong
Joon-ho’s overrated The Host.
This is a good film to see with an
audience. Indeed, it is surely fair to
say most of the patrons at the Japan Society felt they got their money’s worth,
even if nobody will be mistaking it for a Miyazaki film anytime ever. Worthy of a long run of midnight festival
screenings, Gyo was an entertaining
bit of strangeness for this year’s NYAFF and Japan Cuts: The New York Festival
of Japanese Cinema.
Labels: Animated films, Anime, Apocalyptic cinema, Japan Cuts '12, Japanese Cinema, Killer fish, NYAFF '12