Monster Monday: “Gashunk gashunk” – Juni Ito’s ‘Gyo’ Manga

There are plenty of reason to love Junji Ito’s work.

We’re about to cover just one of them, which should be more than enough for now…

Juni Ito’s manga is unfailingly horrific, disturbing and marvelous. If you love horror of any kind, we can’t recommend his back-catalogue highly enough. For the sake of this Monster Monday, however, we want to focus on his series GYO (The Death Stench Creeps)
and the disturbing, and mostly unexplained, phenomena that it tries to explain. Well, there is a rational explanation given. In the loosest possible sense of ‘rational’. Perhaps ‘plausible’ is the best description for what happens in this manga. It’s really dream logic, which makes it work, the sense of a nightmare you can’t quite climb away from and situation getting worse and worse.

Title page from the first manga novel. Fish with legs. Yes, it sounds first....

Title page from the first manga novel. Fish with legs. Yes, it sounds silly…at first….

The basic premise of the two book manga GYO (The Death Stench Creeps): Volume 1
is that sea life has started climbing out of the ocean on strange, organically manufactured but artificially installed little legs. The setup is pretty bloody weird already, but the horror doesn’t end there. The first appearence of a ‘fish with legs’ is almost funny. But it’s merely the warning shot of a much bigger disaster for humanity. Because these things are powered by the gassy stench of death itself, and the attacks from the ocean to the land are about to get much more deadly, and much larger, too.

Most notably, starting with this Gshunking monster:

The death-stench propelled shark pursues terrified Tokyo residents

The death-stench propelled shark pursues terrified Tokyo residents

Take that, Sharknado! The ‘Gshunk Gashunk’ noise is simply terrifying, you’ll ‘hear’ it in your head all day afterwards. The sound is, annoyingly, missing from the OAV movie version.

When this shark attacks, you won’t be safe on a bigger boat or anywhere on land, either…

Aaaaaaaaaaaaah 'Gshunk'

Aaaaaaaaaaaaah ‘Gshunk’

But the shark is a pussycat compared to what happens next. If you think you’ve seen everything in horror, then Gyo will offer something else entirely. It clings to you, it’s a hard idea to shake off, and it takes it about as far as it possibly can. After all, when those unlucky fish rot out of their little legs, and there’s a vacancy, what do you think the legs will come for next?

This will certainly not be the last reference to Juni Ito on the Eyeball – we’ve only just begun – Junji Ito is a modern Lovecraftian master of extreme and unsettling horror manga.

Oh, and he loves cats, too!

Have a Gshunking-good week. Enjoy the madness and see you lovely Eyeballers next Monday!

Also in Monster Mondays:

Enid Blyton’s most terrifying moment

1980s Children’s TV just doesn’t get any weirder…hopefully

Scariest zombies in a video game award goes to…

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