The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials


Title: Gantz
Genre: Action
Company: Gonzo
Format: 26 episodes
Date: 12 Apr 2004 – 22 Jun 2004 and 26 Aug 2004 – 18 Nov 2004

Synopsis: On a fateful day, high school student Kurono Kei runs into his childhood friend Masaru Katou while waiting for a subway. When a bum falls onto the subway tracks, no one wants to help him, especially not the selfish Kei, but Katou quickly moves to help the unfortunate bum. After an internal dilemma, Kei uncharacteristically decides to kelp Kurono save the man, but in the process an onrushing subway train kills the two of them. The next thing they know they are in a small apartment room occupied by a black sphere and several other members of the “dead” who got there through similar means. The sphere, calling itself Gantz tells them that their new lives belong to it, and it gives them missions to fulfill.

The Highlights
Content: Extremely brutal and graphic, not for the faint of heart.
Pacing: Horrendous; takes too long to get from point A to point B.
Animation: One of Gonzo’s better jobs; fights have no reused cells.
Plot: Intriguing, but slow moving and leaves just about everything unexplained.
Excitement: You will be on the edge of your seat.

When I say Gantz is not for the faint of heart, I mean it. Gantz is so disturbing, graphic, and inappropriate for children that it makes Berserk look like Winnie-the-Pooh. Even in Japan no one would air the episodes unedited at any time of the day. Putting the “ultra” in ultraviolence, the “go” in gore, and the “charge” in sexually charged, Gantz is an action-packed thrill ride, albeit a flawed one, that will keep your heart racing and your interest piqued.

Gantz provides a look at the darkest aspects of human behavior and the human mind, by letting you get to know the characters from the inside out. Characters think out loud in a sort of pseudo stream of consciousness, thus showing that which is normally left unheard. This keeps the cliché “show the evils of humanity through children” theme from being dull. In combination with the uniqueness of the situation, the characters’ thoughts make Gantz an intriguing watch. A creative use of the Bundle theory and a raw look at the best and worst of humanity makes Gantz more than a gore-fest.

All semi-intellectualities aside, Gantz is as adrenaline pumping during its fights as it is interesting in between them. The art and animation are what we have come to expect from Gonzo and the action sequences move fluidly without reusing cells… even if they do drag on a little too long. The missions are anything but straightforward and there are several twists in each fight, leaving you unable to do anything but expect the unexpected. The intensity of each episode keeps on growing and growing as the show progresses right up to the last episode.

The plot and pacing are, regrettably, also what we have come to expect from Gonzo. Each fight lasts for several episodes, which causes events to advance at a very slow pace. If that was not bad enough, Gantz suddenly stops thirty seconds away from a good ending. No answers to be found anywhere, only aggravating questions upon questions. What is Gantz? The world may never know. Why are there aliens on Earth and why does Gantz want them dead? The world may never know. Call me crazy, but I shouldn’t be quoting a Tootsie Pop commercial when talking about important details.

Gantz starts off with loads of potential, but fails to live up to it. Exciting fights just do not make up for the lack of answers, but you will likely find yourself enjoying every minute of every episode nevertheless. Gantz is definitely a great way to satisfy any ultraviolence cravings you may have, while not being unintellectual. However, those of you who need everything wrapped up in a neat little package should probably watch something else.

The Rating: 8

Reviewed by: Kuma

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