Gantz Anime Review
US Release By
Gory Alien Hunting Action/Drama
26 22-minute episodes
2004-04-12 - 2004-06-22, 2004-08-26 - 2004-11-18
Kei Kurono is an egotistical jerk. He dislikes most people, and always has something bad to say about them. One day while waiting for a subway, a homeless man falls onto the subway tracks. Kei then spots an old childhood friend named Kato Masaru trying to help the man. Kato spots Kei and begs him to help rescue the bum. Reluctantly, Kei helps the man onto the tracks while everyone watches. However, the subway train is fast approaching. Kei and Kato are killed by the train in quite graphic detail. Or so we think. Kato and Kei are then transported to a room along with others who had a near death experience. Sitting in front of these people is a giant black sphere known as Gantz. Gantz tells them to hunt certain aliens, and gives them the equipment to do so. What are these aliens, and who (or what) exactly is Gantz? Are Kei and the others truly dead?
After viewing the first episode of Gantz, I was almost turned off completely to this series. I had a sick feeling in my stomach, and was ready to write it off as unnecessarily gross and lewd. Especially the part with the butter dog (I won't spoil it for you here). However, it quickly picked up after the opening episode, and becomes quite good for the rest of the series.
Art - Whether you liked it or not, Gantz is very, very impressive visually. I guess you should expect that from Gonzo. The scenes mixed in with CG are never overbearing, and work quite good with most of the scenes. The characters all look unique, except for the certain aspects of the women which I will touch on briefly.
Sound - For me, the best part of Gantz was the music. It has an awesome opening rap theme, and the ending song is really pretty. It conveys emotion at the right points, and goes for a little techno-mix during most of the action scenes, a la The Matrix. If you have a surround sound system, it's awesome.
Story - Storywise, the writing is fairly decent for the most part. You get quite a bit of character development into the 3 main characters. You see their deepest desires, as well as their fears. As the series goes on, you start to notice which characters are about to enter Gantz's world and a bit of backstory for them. Kei's character is written well, but Kato seems to be a bit of a wimp at first.
Content - Now you may be wondering why I'm writing a section about the content of Gantz. This is where a lot of the controversy surrounding this series comes from. This series was edited for Japanese TV, and there's no wonder why. Gantz is simply hard to look at sometimes. The blood and gore is almost on par with some gore-fest classics like Fist of the North Star, Genocyber, MD Geist, Devilman, and so on. It pulls no punches, and at times can go a bit overboard.
The language is pretty dirty also. F-bombs are thrown out all over the place, and rarely do we hear this much cussing in anime. I guess it goes along with the environment. The sexual content is also quite heavy. Kei is a pervert, and then some. Kishimoto has an alias that suits her perfectly. You have a dog who likes to lick inappropriate places. Most of the women in this show are ridiculously well-endowed, and all too willing to show it off. The actual sex in the show is not shown in graphic detail, but it's a little more than what you would see on late-night Cinemax. A lot of people I know who have seen this series have been put off by the sheer amount of graphic content it contains.
In the end, you will probably be one of two minds about this series. You really, really liked it, and will rush out to buy the series ASAP. Or, you really, really hated it, and would like to burn every copy you come across. I think the overall theme for this show is that it's male fantasy. You kill aliens with big guns, cuss all the time, look at naked girls and dream about sleeping with them, beat up thugs, see things blown up, and watch people get graphically killed. I personally liked it quite a bit. The story was decent, the art was fantastic (as was the music), and the voice acting was pretty darn good. The ending can be a bit cryptic, so I'll give fair warning. If you're of age, and can tolerate a lot of offensive content, give it a rent since it's pretty expensive to buy (a 10-disc set). If you are slightly squeamish, avoid at all cost cause you will rue the day you ever decided to set eyes on it.
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Notes and Trivia
Based on a lengthy (and still ongoing, as of 2006) manga series by Hiroya Oku. The manga is not available in English as of this writing. There is also a spin-off video game for the PS2, "Gantz: The Game."
US DVD Review
5.1 surround sound was great, so use it if you have access to it. I mostly watched the dubbed version, but the subbed version was just as good with a little less cussing to it. The DVDs are pretty expensive though. It's a 10-disc set that has only 2-3 episodes on each.
I don't know a parent who would let any child of theirs under the age of 18 watch this. Would definitely be rated R, probably pushing the boundaries for an NC-17 rating; ADV calls it 17+.
Violence: 5 - It's not quite an all-out splatterfest, but all of the violence is realistic and very graphic.
Nudity: 4 - Kishimoto is constantly naked, and Kei is very much a pervert. Not terribly detailed though.
Sex/Mature Themes: 4 - There's about two or three sex scenes in the entire series. It's not graphic, but much like a late-night skinemax movie. There's a gay bully in it also.
Language: 4 - I don't think any anime has had this much constant swearing in it.