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Manga: Gyo
Gyo is a Seinen horror manga by Junji Ito, also known for creating Uzumaki and The Enigma of Amigara Fault (which, incidentally, is an extra story in the back of the second volume).

During World War II, the Imperial Japanese Army commissioned a secret experiment to create biological weapons. The end result - a deadly bacteria that infected corpses and released nauseous gases, and a walking mechanism fueled by these gases, for the purpose of spreading infection. This plan was averted when the ship carrying the bio-weapon was sunk by American bombers during the war - but the bio-weapon remains active, infecting the sea life and spreading back into Japan in the form of what appears to be undead walking fish.

It gets worse.

An animated OVA for the story was released on February 15, 2012 by Ufotable. There are some artistic liberties with the OVA story, such as Kaori becoming the protagonist, as well as new side characters to boot. Whether this makes it a better adaptation or a poor rendition of Gyo is up to interpretation.

Trailer for the OVA can be viewed here.

Gyo contains examples of:

  • And I Must Scream
  • Body Horror: A particularly gruesome moment when they tried to remove the tubes out of Kaori's mouth. Her mouth was grotesquely disfigured and judging by the detailed drawing one can plainly see that if you try to yank the tubes away her mouth would stick to it and got peeled off. Surrounding the inner lips were a kind of wires that were sewn in. It was sad.
  • Body of Bodies: Becomes a commonplace sight.
  • Brick Joke: The first walking fish is smashed and bagged, but its bacteria keeps producing enough gases to make it float to the mainland.
  • Cassandra Truth: The fact that Kaori even goes into full-blown fits over a scent only she can smell didn't help.
  • Circus of Fear: The setting of the penultimate chapter. Yes, there are clowns.
  • Creepy Uncle: Tadashi's uncle, also a Mad Scientist.
  • Depopulation Bomb
  • Downer Ending: Apart from the hero meeting up with La Résistance, it's a total downer.
    • The OVA tries to make the ending even worse by showing scenes of the infection in different countries, a clear sign that unless an immunity is developed, most of humanity is pretty much screwed.
    • Unlike the manga, the OVA implies that there is an organized effort by the Japanese government (or its remnant) to evacuate the survivors from Japan, or at least from Tokyo. Similar evacuation efforts may very well be taking place in other countries. Also, the internet is shown to be still functional when Tsuyoshi uploads the plague data.
  • Editorial Synaesthesia: Stink lines.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: Tadashi is the only named character we know for sure survives.
    • In the OVA, Kaori is this.
  • Evil Hand: One of the legged machines is removed from the fish it was fused to, after which it latches onto a scientist's arm. Though he promptly amputates it it starts crawling around for a while.
  • Evil Smells Bad: Basically what the story is about.
  • Evil Uncle: More like callous and really crazy uncle.
  • Fanservice: Though it somewhat serves a purpose to the plot (washing the smell away), Kaori's shower scene in the first chapter is one of Junji Ito's very, very rare examples (possibly the only example) of nudity that seems partially meant to be eye-candy and not just horrifying. The shower scene is also used to implied that the zombie fish is around, though, but that isn't too scary, at least not more scary than other scenes. This unique case of fanservice is probably due to the quite light-hearted start of the manga.
    • Fan Disservice: When the Death Stench starts to infect humans some chapters later, there is again a lot of nudity, also of Kaori, but this time, it certainly isn't played for fanservice. The term Squick only scratches the surface...
  • Fate Worse than Death: Ignoring the physical Body Horror for a bit, the bacteria slowly paralyses the victims' muscular and nervous systems, keeping them vegetative but very much alive. Kaori is even conscious enough to reactivate her walker and try to Murder the Hypotenuse.
  • Fog of Doom: Envelopes the setting pretty quickly.
  • For Science!: The apparent motivation for Tadashi's uncle improving upon the design of the old, rusted mechanical legs and constructing the two prototype walkers. What exactly he planned on doing with them is a mystery for the ages.
  • Ghostapo: Given its nature, the Death Stench may or may not have been related to the Axis Powers' notorious occult experiments.
  • Hot Scientist: Ms. Yoshiyama.
  • Just Before the End
  • Karmic Death: The soldier who shoots at the legged machines driven by human bodies, and then gets impaled by one.
    • In a sense, the karma goes even deeper than that, as the Imperial Japanese Army - the predecessor of the JSDF - was the organization that created the bio-weapon in the first place.
  • Mad Scientist: Tadashi's uncle.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: What compels the walkers' behavior. They straddle the line between being a sentient bio-weapon and being literally powered by ghosts. The story provides no definitive answer.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: The disease can apparently infect anything. It was originally developed to infect mammals, specifically the original plan was to release infected dogs and have them spread it to enemy soldiers, but in addition to this we also see such diverse things as elephants, cattle, pigs and whales, the eponymous fish and sharks and even an octopus. Then again it is supernatural bacteria.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Zombie fish. With robot legs. Actually, just robot legs. Made by ghosts.
  • Raising the Steaks
  • Scenery Gorn: The final chapter plays this to the extreme, with giant walkers composed from mountains of dead bodies.
  • Screaming Woman: Kaori. In nearly every scene. In the anime, however, she is noticeably much calmer.
  • Spider Tank: All the walking fish are fused with these. They steadily get bigger to carry bigger bodies.
  • Threatening Sharks: Walking ones, with spider legs. An early terror.
  • Time Skip: Invoked when the hero falls into a canal and goes into a Convenient Coma for a month.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The ending.

Tropes from the OVA:


GASHUNK
Gregory Horror ShowHorror Anime & MangaHekikai No Aion
Futakoi AlternativeCreator/UfotableKara no Kyoukai
Gunsmith CatsSeinenHanayamata
GuyverMangaHachi Ichi
GorShort TitlesHBO

alternative title(s): Gyo
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