New DVD Review
New TV Review
Search DVJ 2.0
The animation, action, and sheer violence will grab you by the shirt collar and bitch slap you silly.
Review by Matthew Anderson
This is a special preview of a press sampler,
Japanese audio only.
Series Length: 26 episodes
U.S. Release Date: February 2005
Rating: R (Language, violence, nudity, adult situations)
While rescuing a drunken bum who fell off a subway platform, Kei Kurono along with childhood friend Masaru Kato, are killed by the approaching train.
At least that is what people think.
Actually, Kei and Masaru have been transported to an apartment in Tokyo by a mysterious orb. Along with a group of others who have "died", they quickly learn why they have been brought together.
They must fight and destroy invading aliens that only they can see.
STORY: Based off the manga by Hiroya Oku, "Gantz" is one action packed, violent anime. While Series Editor Masashi Sogo story won't break any new ground as far as originality, he makes up for it with sheer voracity. It's fast paced, brutal, and graphic, everything you could want in an anime!
ACTING: The entire cast is solid. Daisuke Namikawa gives Kei the right amount of negative attitude and constant whining needed for this apathetic kid. Masashi Oosato on the other hand plays Masaru as the polar opposite; very heroic, yet hiding a seething rage underneath.
FAN SERVICE: Well, we get to see a lot of full frontal nudity! There are visual references to the manga, as well as enough blood and guts to satisfy all you gore hounds.
For the longest time, it seemed that production of quality anime had reached rock bottom. While the number of animated titles were up, most were re-hashed plots, with average animation, obnoxious characters, dumbed-down story lines, and cringe-inducing dialogue. From the silly "Love Hina" to the awful "Demon Lord Dante", it looked as if anime industry had lost its teeth.
Thanks to "Samurai Champloo" and now "Gantz", my worries about the future have been abated.
"Gantz" is a welcome throwback to the edgy and in your face anime of my youth. The plot is simple, the action intense, and the CG animation by Gonzo is way cool.
The story is as simple as they come, but it's the little details that makes "Gantz" so fascinating. A team of people assigned against their will to fight evil is nothing new. When no one can actually see them fight, it takes several attempts to fire the weapons, and the enemy is made of onions (don't ask), you know this isn't going to be your typical "elite team" of killers anime. It's pretty obvious who the survivors are going to be, yet you will be on the edge of your seat, waiting to see in what horrific way each one is going to die.
Boy do they die, in some pretty nasty ways. Every possible way to buy it, from dismemberment to exploding heads, are contained in just these first two episodes. That's not all. You also get plenty of nudity, an attempted rape, multiple murders, and the torture of an onion man (you read that right). It has been a long time since I have see this much up-front violence in an anime.
Like the story, the characters are pretty typical, but their quirks are interesting. Our "hero" Kei, is very aloof and cares nothing for his fellow man, even when they are in mortal danger. Just another punk kid, right? Well this punk kid can see through women's clothing (a plus) and read minds (a negative). Because he knows what people are thinking, it's easy to see where his distain for humanity comes from.
The rest of the characters get some fleshing out, before they get rubbed out. I am curious to see what demons are plaguing Masaru. This boy has some issues about being the strongest, and isn't afraid to rush headlong into danger to prove he is a man. It should be fun pealing back the layers (pun intended)!
Gonzo Digimation has done a great job with "Gantz". It's smooth, very detailed, and the CG is blended perfectly with the traditional elements. The quality of the animation, both key frame and in-between, remains consistently high, as do the scenes that are heavy on the CG. The only noticeable exception is the death of the onion man. It seems a little light on the gory details. Mind you, the dying pleas of the little onion guy are far more effective than any chunks you don't see.
The opening theme [Super Shooter] by RIP SLYME really kicks ass. Its driving beat and hip-hop inspired sound is perfect for this in your face, hard core action series. This is one of those great "stick in your heads" kind of tunes.
Already, controversy is surrounding "Gantz", but it isn't the graphic violence or disturbing "incidents" that's causing the problems. ADV has announced that "Gantz" will be released in 13 volumes with only 2 episodes per disc for under $20. On the one hand, the show rocks, and it is cheaper than most of their "new titles", which still go at almost $30 a pop. On the other, people will have to shell out $234 dollars for 13 volumes when they can get 6 volumes (5 on the first two and 4 on the rest) for $180? The extras will have to be really kick ass to make it worth while! Don't get me wrong, it's a great title, but is it "Evangelion" great? Only time will tell.
No matter how you look at it, "Gantz" is going to be one of the big names in 2005. The animation, action, and sheer violence will grab you by the shirt collar and bitch slap you silly. I can't wait to see the rest and learn the truth about the onion people!
ŠAll information protected by DVD Vision Japan copyright unless otherwise noted.