Monday, October 29, 2007

Manga Monday 50: Gyo

Gyo (Volume 1)
Junji Ito

Like the title that the creator is probably most known for, Uzumaki, Junji Ito's horror title Gyo finds a second life in Viz's Signature Series. The second printing of Gyo brings that startling title (with a great cover) to new readers, myself included, who was all but ignorant of the creator's work beyond the Uzumaki collection that I read years ago. But after reading the first volume of this science fiction/horror title, my interest in Ito has been reinvigorated by what I deem a superior title, perhaps even persuading me to revisit that other work that I dismissed as overrated. I am that impressed with Gyo.
Gyo follows a young Japanese couple, Tadashi and Kaori, vacationing in Okinawa where, one night, they are besieged by a horrible rotting stench, and are subsequently terrorized by a small creature that turns out to be a fish walking on spider-like legs. And it's not an isolated incident. This book begins with a scary, creeping dread and quickly builds to a horrifying, suspenseful panic as things keep getting worse and worse for the couple in question. It also turns into more of a science fiction book as the story progresses and what they are dealing with is explained a lit more. But it works. That shift is natural and the action continues to be thrilling and fast-paced, despite things becoming a little sillier toward the end of the first volume. This is truly a relentless thriller that's sure to produce plenty of scares, and is certainly a timely release in light of the encroaching holiday. Forget trick-or-treating this year, stay inside and curl up with a good book. This good book. A+

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