New DVD Review
New TV Review
Search DVJ 2.0
"Gantz" is a welcome throwback to the edgy and in your face anime of my youth.
Review by Matthew Anderson
13 Episode TV Series
Company: ADV Films
Running Time: 50 minutes (2 episodes)
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 an 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 only they can see.
Armed with powerful weapons, they must fight off a vast assortment of foes, each one more dangerous that the last. Kei and Masaru also have to deal with the rather unsavory elements of their own group; Yakuza bosses, an apathetic punk, and the really creepy teenager Nishi, a hard edged killer who seems to know everything.
DVD VISION TEST
VIDEO: The transfer is fantastic. There are no pixels, wrinkles, or blemishes anywhere to be found. This is the benefit of digital based animation. Many of the technical errors of the past are nonexistent when you transfer from a digital source to a digital medium.
AUDIO: Well done for both the English 5.1 and Japanese Dolby 2.0 tracks. The English track has a fuller sound, and is louder in volume. On both versions, the audio is crisp and rich, full of surround sound during the action elements.
EDITS: Clean open and close have been used. Other than that, everything there in all its visceral glory!
EXTRAS: Clean open and close, an interview with Director Ichiro Itano, and that's it.
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 acting on both versions are wonderful. 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.
The English cast is nothing to ignore. Chris Ayers matches Daisuke Namikawa in temperament, giving a even more bitchy quality the disaffected Kei. For Masaru, Illich Guardiola makes for a great "bad ass with a good heart", and in some respects, surpass the Japanese actor in intensity.
The supporting casts on both sides do really well, with Chris Patton giving an even creepier vibe for Nishi than Masashi Yabe, and that's saying something!
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, stupid 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 apparently can see through women's clothing (either a power he has or he is just plain horny) and read minds (again, not sure if it's a power or just a reflection of his negative attitude). Because he knows what people are thinking, or at least assume what people are truly feeling, 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.
In our advanced review, I talked about the controversy surrounding ADV plans to release "Gantz" in 13 volumes with only 2 episodes per disc for under $20. The show does rock, and it is cheaper than most of their $30 new titles. Unfortunately, the extras are pretty threadbare, and really don't enhance the presentation, which might make it harder to take that first, fateful step to seriously invest in this series. The fact of the matter is, "Gantz" will be released with 2 episodes per disc, and bitching and moaning about it wont change reality. Boycotting this series because of the presentation is silly because it will prevent you from enjoying one of the best things to come out of Japan in the last few years.
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.