Brutal, Brutal Shit
I have finally found someone with brains who is willing to review anime and possibly manga for this site, Lonely Sunset. His name is Jon, and this dude pretty much has the same tastes as I do (except for Kimi ni Todoke), and getting his opinion on an anime might just be the same as mine. This is his first review and it’s about the Ichiro Itano adaptation of the manga, Gantz.
It is not easy to find an anime that keeps you on edge. Something that in which no character seems safe, and nothing is certain. Gantz is one such anime, an relentless monster-busting gorefeast. It takes no prisoners, and even the central characters do not seem safe from harm. However, what Gantz has in intensity and shock, it lacks on plot and theme.
Gantz follows high school student Kei Kurono. Kei is a rather selfish teen who’s only goal in life is to get laid, going on record as one of the horniest anime characters of all time. However, this goal goes unmet, as Kei and childhood friend, Masaru Kato, die saving a homeless man from an incoming train. Unexpectedly, they end up in an apartment room with others who have died, including naked girl Kei Kishimoto, and and a sphere referred to as Gantz. The sphere opens up, revealing racks of black suits and weapons. They are informed that they have been given a second chance at life, but with a catch. They must hunt and kill aliens when called apon by Gantz.
Gantz actually has quite a few things going for it. It has a very interesting premise, and an edgy feel. As mentioned before, this is a very violent series. Heads explode, limbs get cut off, people get torn to pieces, and all is shown on screen. Throw in some domestic violence and nudity, and what you have is something not for the sensitive or faint of heart. These elements make Gantz a relentless, gritty urban supernatural thriller.
The visuals in Gantz are a strong point. Character designs are reminiscent of people you see in everyday. Business men, gangsters, and other people look as they would in real life, nothing stylized, safe for the gantz suits. The gantz suits actually compliment Kei and company’s character designs well, though they look silly on some characters. The aliens are some of the strangest looking creatures you will see, and of course, the gore is well detailed. The background art is also good, giving the feel of a real city. The music does a fine job of setting the tone for the series , and the opening theme perfectly captures the grittiness on the show. On the technical side, Gantz is solid, if only the same could be said for the writing.
The biggest problem with Gantz is definitely the way its themes are handled. It is clear that Gantz wants to say something about society and human behavior, but the message is muddled. In the world this series paints, people are mean-spirited to the point of being unbelievable. There is almost no one willing to help their fellow man, only looking out for themselves. While there is certainly some truth to what Gantz shows about human beings, it comes across as more nihilistic than truthful.
Most of the characters in this series are not very likable, most are quite despicable. Kei is one of the most unlikable leads around, he’s selfish, lecherous, and has little to no decency. He does manage to somewhat redeem himself near the end of the series, as he begins to look out for others, though not enough to redeem him completely. Kato proves to be much more likable, if for no other reason than he is the voice of morality in a show that would otherwise be completely devoid of it. He’s back story, which is of a violent relationship between Kato, his younger brother, and abusive aunt, also gains him some sympathy points. Rounding out the main cast is Kei Kishimoto who, despite being in an interesting situation due to a failed suicide attempt, is the least interesting and explored of the three. The rest of the consists of a collection of thugs and psychopaths, and innocent, well-meaning victims of society, all of whom will obviously die.
The pacing of this series is another problem. Scenes seem to drag on and on at times. The scenes in the Gantz apartment, in which the new recruits try to figure out what happened to them while the veterans try to explain the situation, are interesting at first but eventually become quite tedious. Just as grating is how long it takes characters to make decisions, even in the mists of battle. Entire scenes are devoted to characters making decisions instead of getting anything done, and it grows tiresome after a while. The plot is stretched thin over 26 episodes and lacks a proper conclusion, making Gantz less than a rewarding experience.
If you are simply looking for a thrillingly violent series with strong technical merits, than Gantz is certainly worth checking out. It has an intensity and willingness to show extreme violence that most anime do not come close to. However, if you also seek a well plotted, rewarding experience, there are much better titles that do the same.