Holy crap, Holy crap!! Three words that will change your life forever…Fireball Shooting Dinosaurs!
Writer/Artist: Hiroya Oku
What They Say
Dinosaurs. Seriously, can the frantic world of Gantz get any more scary? How about a giant doughboy with crazy fangs and a strange outie bellybutton? Yeah, it's not just scary; it's a very strange world for Kei. At least this time the Gantz crew have a new weapon! It's an awesome state-of-the-art uni-motorcycle thing! And one of the characters uses a massive space samurai sword. It's Gantz!
Picking up right where the last volume left off; people are punching dinosaurs in the heart till they die, Kei and the old man are tackling (literally) a headless Brontosaurus, and Izumi gets ‘intimate” with a panda bear while recovering from fighting the giant Triceratops! (For more on the panda intimacy, Google “Gantz context” and choose the first link…priceless!!!)
The series does not know how to slow down at all and this volume is so jam packed with amazing craziness that it was almost too overwhelming for me to take. After the Triceratops fight, Izumi encounters a Tyrannosaurus Rex that begins fighting two other Triceratops and thus enters the coolest thing I have seen in a while that follows through most of the volume as a constant reminder that anything goes in Gantz and it is better for it. The Tyrannosaurs (there are three total, two of which Kei encounters later) shoot giant fireballs from their mouths!!! This was totally unexpected and totally awesome as the fireball does some serious damage, the first instance of which show the fireball blowing right through a Triceratops with none of the gory details spared.
Much of the volume follows Kei and the old man as they race around town in a super powered futuristic Monowheel simultaneously fighting and running from the fireball-shooting dinosaurs. In theory it seems like this segment goes on for too long but the action is paced out so perfectly that the fight is neither too short nor too long, it is the baby bear of dinosaur action scenes. Along the way the remaining survivors who are just starting to realize what is going on, elect Kurono as their reluctant leader for his bravery, knowledge, and sheer awesomeness. Kei also begins to gain a lot of confidence here as his determination to survive, to reunite with Tae, and to protect everyone reaches new heights despite not wearing his power suit the entire time. Even the ESP chest punchers (whose names have not been given at this point) show a glaring respect towards him.
Meanwhile, Izumi is fighting his Tyrannosaur with his extendable super samurai sword; but after defeating it realizes he just made the mother of all dinosaur aliens VERY angry. This dino looks like a Brachiosaur with very large, very sharp plates on and below its head and makes for a mean adversary. Outside Kei and the others encounter the bumpkin alien and all hell breaks loose when the police show up to investigate all the explosions, courtesy of the fireball-shooting Tyrannosaurs.
A sense of urgency picks up here towards the end as time is almost out and Kei remembers that he must score at least 15 points to live and by running away to stall for time will get his points taken away. The bumpkin alien is a lot tougher than he looks, of course, and plenty of violence and action keep things moving quite briskly. How will everything turn out? Who will survive and how awesome will the climax be? Have to wait till next volume to find out!
The only real issue with this volume, as well as volume 12 but to a slightly lesser extent, is the cultural insensitivity running rampant. Among the new players is a group of Americans who can’t speak Japanese and are kind of racist in their depiction. They are black, prototypical ‘gangstas’ who speak in slang that was more popular in the early 90s than it is today (“you go boy” “off tha hook” etc). Also, every scene that features Reika, a beautiful idol, features at least one character commenting on how “This is no place for a woman” or “leave it to the guys”. Sexist…yes, possibly racist… yes; but these moments are so small an incidental that they hold no bearing on the great action that comes before, during, and after. If these kinds of insensitive leanings will turn you away you probably aren’t reading this review, but everything else is so much fun and so awesome that not only can I overlook these shortcomings but can even ignore them altogether!
Do I love this series? Yes, unabashedly so. Is there something for everyone to enjoy in it as well? I think so. There are few series that can amp up the intensity and action as much as Gantz. While it won’t give me great insight into anything I enjoy reading each volume with renewed vigor and pure excitement. This volume really encapsulates that feeling and that is why I rate it so high. The events that unfold are great for showing other people and getting excited about all over again! Every second is fun, unintentionally (intentionally??) hilarious and come on…Fireball Shooting Dinosaurs!!!! It doesn’t get better than that! Recommended!