Gantz Vol. #7 (of 7) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, November 27, 2006
Release Date: Monday, November 13, 2006
What They Say
The fragile bonds that hold the survivors together are frayed to the breaking point, but in Gantz's game, survival is impossible without a warm body guarding your back. As the Gantz reaches into the "real" world and a fresh batch of resurrectees are offered up on the altar of slaughter, Kurono finds himself partnered with a new lady killer. If looks could kill, he would have died a second time, but will she be his salvation or his death? Get ready for the body count to go through the roof, because nothing has prepared you for the seventh staggering volume of GANTZ!
24. No Labyrinth Is Inescapable
25. Let's All Go Back Alive
26. Please Live
After seven volumes and plenty of sex and killing, Gantz reaches its animated conclusion, but is it satisfying?
For this review I listened to most of the disc in Japanese with subtitles. The stereo track is your standard mix, and I noticed no dropouts or distortions during regular playback. The voice acting is actually quite good, with the principal cast performing quite well.
I briefly sampled the English 5.1 mix for an episode, which adds a bit of directionality to things, and I noticed no problems with this track.
The four episodes on this disc are presented in anamorphic widescreen, and look excellent for the most part. Aliasing is barely noticeable even in the pans in this volume, though the transfer did look a tad soft on a couple of occasions. Colours are vibrant and the show generally just looks very good.
Subtitles are in a nice yellow font and I didn't notice any major grammatical or spelling errors.
No packaging was included with this check disc.
The menus are pretty simple but fit the tone and style of the show. The show's logo appears taking up most of the screen before it shrinks and becomes a part of the main menu screen. This features the cover image of the Kurono with a gun in either hand, with episode numbers, and links to the setup and extras menu down the middle. A section down the left has movies from the show looping round beneath a red silkscreen. The opening song plays over this menu. Sub-menus are static and silent, just providing their selections in the same theme as the main menu. It's simple but fits the tone of the show, and access times are nice and quick.
This volume concludes the cast and crew interviews we've been getting on previous discs, with a nice interview section that looks back at several of the past interviews and includes some footage of questions and answers that were chopped from those.
There's also a great little feature that runs about 15 minutes, discussing the images and editing of Gantz. This features several of the production staff talking about how the show evolved and came to be what it was. The clean opening and closing round things out.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
So Gantz finally concludes, and does it go out with a bang? Well, not quite. It's the usual story of the manga still running, leaving the anime creators to either just stop the story or wrap things up in their own unique way. What we get is a final volume that does close some of the character storylines, leaves plenty open to interpretation, doesn't get too deep and sure as heck reminds us, one last time, just how dumb and stupid many of these characters are.
Kurono begins the disc still in hiding with Mika held hostage following the two serial killers turning everyone against him, brandishing him the "Kurono alien". Soon the tables turn though, as Mika starts to believe what Kei says and he runs off with her in his arms. Furuta, the old man, starts to question Kajiura and Muroto as to whether they really did kill the homeless people or not, and while Kajiura gives the game away, Muroto pleads his innocence by saying Kajiura made him do it. Since he's still a minor, Furuta (who is clearly one of the most na├»ve people in the show, and that's saying a lot) believes his story and wants to reform him.
Kajiura and Muroto escape and it all leads to the group's big split, as things turn around and everyone starts to hunt down the pair of killers (with Furuta still desperately wanting to take Muroto back with him). It's not quite as easy as it seems, though. The pair are worthy opponents and, while Kurono continues to have mixed feelings about his experiences, and has to deal with flashbacks of his friends, many of the other new faces are deservedly taken out as they display extreme acts of naivety and downright stupidity.
And that's where my biggest issue with this last batch of episodes lies. Ignore the over-arching story and its implications for a minute, and you can quite easily notice how the characters aren't just stupid, they simply refuse, under any circumstances, to learn from their mistakes. Furuta is the icing on the cake, and frankly deserved everything he's got. Sure, a lot of people might like to try and find the good in someone, but it becomes a bit of a joke when he does it even faced with a bazooka. Nonetheless, he's not the only one that suffers. I won't even mention Saito, other than to say someone who wants to go it alone when everyone around them is potentially going to get slaughtered is just an idiot. The two women display more tenacity and intelligence than the men, but still suffer the same pitfalls that lead to their deaths.
With the characters acting so typically stupid (and although I may have ranted about it, I've accepted it as the series' trait and it becomes a great amusement as well as frustration) you would hope the story is up to scratch. Well, on the one hand it delivers an end to this game, but on the other, it really does little to solve any mysteries that have been lingering throughout the show's run. This last game always felt a little tacked on, lacking a little of the depth that the previous games had (to a degree). But still, it is fairly action packed, sees almost everyone get what they deserve (they are killed off) and does almost conclude.
But one of the things that's kept me going over the course of the series is the ongoing story and the questions it raises, such as who or what is Gantz, what is its purpose, why is it running these games? All these questions have been raised since the first few episodes, and yet they never really go anywhere. They kind of just fizzle out (or in Gantz' case, disappear). It's a shame because it would've been nice to get this part of the story, but I can only assume this has not been answered in the manga at this stage (and if it has, shame on Gonzo for not incorporating it).
The last episode is left open to plenty of interpretation, but one really nice aspect is how it comes full circle and takes things back to the train accident and shows, to a degree, how everyone is more related than they thought in this story. Still, the way it does finally end is extremely abrupt and you have no idea what exactly will happen to Kei as he re-enacts the crash. It's all left to your imagination. While anime series tend to do this a fair bit, it's always nice to get at least some answers, even to just one or two of the questions. It was not to be though, and we have to settle with a very open ending. It struck me as though it was trying to be something of a metaphor for Kurono's death (at he start of the series), but really it's not all that obvious what the creators were going for.
One of the key talking points I always had early on was the potential the show had to discuss and explore concepts (obviously to a simple degree) such as the meaning of life and death, the afterlife, and other such things. This aspect was played up a little early on, as we got inside peoples' heads and saw what was going on with the, But instead over the course of the series that was wept away in favour of more action and violence, and that sums Gantz up nicely.
Gantz's conclusion is still a lot of fun to watch, and remains hard to stop once you've started, but it is also a bit disappointing in the way it ends. As much as I've enjoyed the show, I can't help but feel slightly disappointed with it as a whole, too. Sure, it delivered the sex, bad language and violence it promised, but that came with stupid characters and a fairly silly story that never really ends up getting resolved. I'd have enjoyed the finale a lot more if at least a couple of niggling questions had been answered. The production values have also been up and down (on this disc especially, with the characters badly off model for one of the episodes), but overall I'd still recommend Gantz as a great piece of entertainment.
It could've been so much more, with depth and a strong story added in to the mix. As it is we get a somewhat trying but ultimately fun, brainless show that's ridiculously addictive despite its many flaws.
Japanese Language (2.0),English Language (5.1),English Subtitles,Clean Opening & Closing,The Secret Behind the Impeccable Images of Gantz feature,DVD Special Feature Collections
Philips 28" Pure Flat Widescreen TV, Philips DVP5100 code free DVD player, JVC gold-plated RGB SCART cable, standard stereo sound.
Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: A-
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: N/A
Menus Rating: B
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: 15 & Up
Region: 2 - Europe
Released By: MVM Entertainment
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2