Life’s a bitch when you die and that’s why people are forced to play this game that might make your death even worse than before and you notice a lot of fucked-up shit in there, too.
Kei Kurono is a typical high school student in a selfish world, not caring about anyone other than himself. However when, by chance, he was forced to help out his childhood friend, Katou Masaru, rescue a drunkard who fell into subway tracks, both he and Katou were killed… Or not. After being run over by the train, they were suddenly teleported to an enclosed apartment with others who recently died. And now their lives are controlled by a mysterious black ball inside the apartment called GANTZ, and they are forced to participate in a “game” of unprecedented danger and horror.
Based on the manga from Hiroka Oku, the concept of this game of fighting aliens and other various horrific things to survive is honestly the show’s greatest strength as every game happens during the show’s run gets aggressively challenging and brutal. The trials of surviving the game does have an effect on those who manage to survive it and can determine if they can last long there or eventually slip up and die. It shows the world a ferocious and aggressive side that doesn’t hold back on topics like gang violence, sex, rape, suicide, etc…..and now I’m realizing that I’m saying that the show is deep; it’s not but all the sex, gore, and action are quite a watch and believe me on that level.
However, something can spoil that for me and my God, it’s the majority of the characters. I wasn’t expecting any grand development or any likable characters at first but some of them are aggravating and too annoying to care about and that’s most of the selected players. I get they’re supposed to be unlikable but that doesn’t mean that’s fine. You’re supposed to make me give a damn about them and root for most of them to survive, not make me want them dead the next minute. The only character that managed to have some development was Kei Kurono because at first you see him as a horny student (hell, most of us felt like that) but the more he progresses after those games and all the horror he witnesses, the better character he becomes. As for Kato…..that’s the opposite. He’s the same character you see in the beginning and he’s just flat-out boring and the other Kei (as in Kishimoto) is just the same and the weakest character of the show (and mean just a character overall) as she’s either rely on Kato too much, very flaky, and basically eye candy for the audiences. Other characters I’m not getting into because SPOILER – People die when they are killed!!! And I wouldn’t get attached to some characters if I were you…provided that you liked some of them.
So for the animation, the gore and sex is plenty in here and it’s all thanks to Studio GONZO and it was adequate to a point as some action (well, battle and sex) scenes were decently animated. Color palette is subdued and dark and hardly noticeable of any big changes.
As for the music, the opener “Super Shooter” by Rip Slyme is easily the song that gets you in the mood for when the episode starts. It’s that type of song that gets stuck in your head after watching a few episodes with the fast-paced J-hop beats and its nonsensical lyrics that makes you want to sing along. The ending “Last Pink” however doesn’t do that. It feels completely out of place after every episode end like it should’ve been placed in a slice of life anime, not one about hunting aliens and trying to survive.
For the English dub by ADV Films, this is the first time I’ve noticed Chris Ayres as a voice actor (I just noticed him as an ADR director for Sentai Filmworks) and he did a fine job as Kurono although I almost thought that was Greg but with a different voice (Well, they are brothers in real life so I can see the resemblance). Other performances are rated to fine to meh with some stilted performances but manageable.
FINAL VERDICT: GANTZ is a gory tale that has all the right things in action, gore and sex but disappoints on a character level. I know I’m going to hear ‘the manga is better’ argument and while I hear that may be true, you should give the series a shot.
So how many points does the show get?
7/10 – OKAY.
GANTZ was available from ADV Films but it has been re-licensed and rescued from FUNimation Entertainment for DVD. Weirdly enough, the show is not up for streaming on their site.
And that’s it for now. I’m MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid, bringing all the dead people into my game.
GANTZ – animated by GONZO / licensed by FUNimation ENTERTAINMENT (formerly from ADV FILMS)