You know: in a foolish, undiscriminating way, I've been happy these last few months. I don't know why. I just am. I love my friends; I love my pupils; I love what I read; I -- dammit -- love my thoughts. I love the taste of oranges.
Thornton Wilder in a letter to Gertrude Stein, Aug 14, 1936

Thursday, July 19, 2012


And we're off!

Junji Ito's last outing involved a remote seaside village overcome by a geometric shape. That idea may not leave you shaking in your boots, but by the time Uzumaki reached its transcendent conclusion, Ito had literally put you through the wringer. The story gave new meaning to the idea of getting tangled up with your neighbors, and you shared with the protagonists the finer points of how to balance prohibitions against cannibalism with the fact that your little brother had turned into a very tasty looking snail and you were starving.

Gyo, titled in English The Death Stench Creeps opens on Okinawa. Tadishi and his really pretty awful girl friend Kaori are spending an unfun vacation on the island. There is a smell of rotten fish floating about, but no one expects the cause to be fish with legs crawling onto the shore and into the city. As for the smell? The fish are dead, it is only their tiny mechanical legs that keep them ambulatory. And actually "tiny" is not consistently correct. Great white sharks have great big legs.

Takshi and Kaori make it back to Tokyo but soon the fish are appearing on the Western beaches of the main island. And Kaori will not shut up about the smell. And she seems to blame Takishi for everything that is happening. Note to Takishi: Get a better girlfriend. 

But poor Kaori. She suffers the fate worth than death when wounds from the mechanical fishy legs prove infectious in a most disgusting way. 

Things go from bad to worse, and one thing I like about Ito's manga, at least the one's I've read, is that he wraps everything up in two or three books. This first volume ends with every possible worst case scenario coming to pass, and I can hardly wait to see how much worse things get before they get very much weirder in Volume 2.

It is not going away

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