Okay, so Gyo means “fish” in Japanese, and not “a dreamlike nightmare that gets worse and worse until you are screaming to awake”. Which was my first guess.
Gyo is a manga (a Japanese graphic novel) produced by a macabre-spewing author/artist named Junji Ito. My wife gave it to me for Christmas, a little thing she thought I’d like.
So let me put it this way – I found it disturbing. Sickening. Crazy. Bleak. Strange. And just goddamn weird.
It was also pretty good (from a horror viewpoint).
I’m not going to spoil too much. At the start, a young Japanese couple is out on Okinawa on a fishing trip. While in the water around a war wreck, the guy sees something in the water, something small and fast and strange. Before he investigates, sharks drive him back to the boat. But when back in their little cottage, his girlfriend (who is hyper-sensitive to smell) starts to freak out – she swears she smells something dead. The mystery deepens with bumps in the night and all that, until finally we see the crazy thing that’s in their house with them – a dead fish walking around on crab-like legs, clicking about and stinking up the place. Crazy.
What’s worse, eventually we find out it’s not just one fish – it’s all the creatures of the sea. And some of those things, the big things with tentacles and teeth, well, that starts to get downright eerie. But things get stranger and stranger until you find yourself growing numb – it’s just horrible to comprehend what you are seeing.
So, what do you want – a ghost that goes “boo”?
I’ll have to admit, you had to suspend just about all your belief to make this work – hell, you just had to accept the unbelievable. And once the story shifted to a certain place (namely, a very strange circus and a weird airship) it was almost too crazy to even stick with. But yes, overall it was a lot of fun since horror stories are not something I usually play in.
I’m not sure if I’d recommend this (even though I loaned my copy to my innocent niece). Gyo is as strange as it gets, and if you want to see what darkness your mind can travel to, this story might be something you’ll want to look into.
Or maybe not.