Gyo is an animated adaptation of the horror manga series created by Junji Ito for Big Comic Spirits magazine from 2001 to 2002. The anime adaptation is a 70-plus minute OVA adaptation animated by Ufotable and released on February 15, 2012.
Okinawa becomes manifested with a stench of death coming from fish walking on mechanical legs that are leaving the ocean and headed into the cities. A young woman named Kaori tries to find out the whereabouts of her boyfriend Tadashi when the city of Tokyo gets hit by a swarm of the walking fish.
-Kaori Sawahara- The female lead of the OVA who was on a trip with her two friends, Aki and Erika, before the walking fish pandemic occurs. She returns to Tokyo to find her boyfriend Tadashi after learning that the walking fish have swarmed into the city.
-Tsuyoshi Shirakawa- A cameraman/ reporter who accompanies Kaori around as he investigates the walking fish pandemic.
-Tadashi- Kaori’s boyfriend in Tokyo whom Kaori loses contact with when a swarm of walking fish hit the city.
-Erika- One of Kaori’s friends. A promiscuous girl who likes using her body to get the attention of men.
-Aki- The second of Kaori’s friends. An overweight girl insecure with her appearance and jealous of the attention that Kaori and Erika get from guys.
Gyo is comparable to bad American horror films in the fact that both rely on grotesque violence and content to shock its viewers at the expense of quality plotting and setting up genuinely suspenseful moments to horrify viewers.
While a well-animated work compliments of Ufotable, Gyo only cobbles by with its plot thanks to the grotesque moments involving the walking fish and the effects that the mysterious stench they emit have on humans. The violent ways in which people get killed off and what happens with the corpses have no real purpose at all in Gyo’s story besides trying to gross out its audience. The OVA doesn’t even bother to explore what the cause of the walking fish are until late in the second half. Even then, it still felt cobbled together due to the lack of foreshadowing over the nature of the fish and the stench they emit.
Adding to the absurdity of Gyo’s plotting, the OVA tosses in failed moments of twisted black humor towards the ending of the series featuring Tadashi’s father and a circus full of twisted performers. The failure with these moments is that they are quite out of place with the horror that Gyo was trying to build up on with its grotesque developments involving Tokyo’s human populace.
The characters in Gyo are not much better off either as they are hardly fleshed-out and are limited in personality to a great extent, limiting how much one can feel for their problems. This means one could care less about Kaori’s problems finding her boyfriend as she is regularly seen worried and angsting over his well-being throughout the rest of the OVA when she arrives in Tokyo.
Speaking of characters, Erika and Aki are perhaps the worst characters within the OVA, considering the former is pretty much a slut making use of her looks to have her way with men (with one instance of her having a threesome with two guys) and the latter being so insecure of her looks that she bad mouths both her so-called friends when left all alone to deal with the mentioned threesome by Kaori. Besides making you wonder how Kaori could be friends with such horrible characters, Erika and Aki are a waste of screen time in the movie as they contribute nothing to advance the movie’s plot and are only around to showcase how they either get killed off or get affected by the walking fish.