Gantz Vol. #02 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 17 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 17.98
  • Running time: 50
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Gantz

Gantz Vol. #02

By Chris Beveridge     May 27, 2005
Release Date: March 08, 2005


Gantz Vol. #02
© ADV Films


What They Say
In a digital realm between life and the hereafter, there lies an empty room, a black sphere, and the trapped souls of the unfortunate. Here, the only meaning left is in the brutal game. Welcome to GANTZ, the next level of action, horror, and science fiction. Inspired from nightmares, Gantz brings forth a shocking vision produced in precise 2D/3D animation to showcase a slick and bizarre tale.

The Review!
The horrific events of the first encounter play out here in detail until those who survive get a chance to try and understand what's going on.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The Japanese track has a pretty decent stereo mix to it which is mostly really active during the action sequences. There is some good directionality to various dialogue scenes when there are a lot of people in a given area and it shifts nicely with some of the ambient sound effects. The music makes the most use of the stereo channels though and uses it well. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 2004, the transfer for this series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The transfer is also of the uncut version of the show that wasn't fully aired in Japan but used for home video. The shows design is similar to a number of recent Gonzo shows where it has a lot of bright bold colors and has a very digital feel across the board, from the layered look of the characters on top of the backgrounds to the camera movements. The transfer is essentially free of problems and looks really good though there is some noticeable color gradient issues but that's just inherent in how this is animated.

Packaging:
Using some of the character artwork from the Japanese releases, the cover has a good looking pose for Kato in his black suit and wielding a transporter gun while looking all intense. The mixture of the blacks and reds in the background and the Japanese logo for the series gives it all a rough and raw feel. The back cover provides a number of shots from the show around a circle in the center that holds the summary of the premise while most of the background is similar to what's on the front cover background. The discs features and technical information are easily found along the bottom along with the production credits. The insert replicates the front cover on one side while the reverse side lists the two episodes titles and… that's it. This is definitely one of the biggest wastes of space for an insert.

Menu:
The main menu layout uses a lava lamp like background with murky blacks and reds while the bulk of the menu is given over to the round black orb from the show where the menu selections reside. A brief bit of the opening song from the show plays along before looping back. This is one of those where using just the first 30 seconds really doesn't work out well at all and leaves you with a highly annoying menu. Access times are nice and fast and the layout easy to navigate. The disc also properly read our players' language presets and played accordingly.

Extras:
The first volume has a couple of extras, such as the expected standards of the clean opening and closing sequences. In addition to that, there's video interview with the Japanese voice actor for Kei's character and we see a bit of his performances, he talks up his character and the show in general for just under six minutes.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the next installment of two episodes, the opening arc of the series comes to its conclusion and we get over an entire episode of action while the bulk of the second episode deals with some exposition both on the battlefield and afterwards when things are calming down. Just like the first two episodes though, by the time you get into the flow of things you find the disc already over.

With those that came across into the room with the sphere in the last volume now out in the city and running around with their weapons that they don't have much clue about, they succeeded in killing their target of the Greenonions kid only to find that what's presumably his father is now on the scene and mighty upset about what's happened. His rage and fury slices brutally through those that were involved but that doesn't assuage the anger that he feels and he wants to eliminate the trio that had just arrived. Kato, Kei and Kei are stunned by what they've seen an unsure what to do. In fact, all Kato can do is weep for the death of the Greenonions kid he was trying to save, which seems to register with the bigger guy but he still wants more vengeance.

This leads into a longer fight and chase scene where we see more of how different things are for these three and the big creature as their actions are reflected in the town in different ways but all of it leaving them all invisible to the naked eye. Some people feel their presence but can't do anything about it while others simply don't register them at all. What proves to be their saving moment after things become even more brutal is when Nishi arrives on the scene and seemingly saves the day single-handedly. His price for it though is to be able to verbally abuse Kei about his being a hypocrite and unable to really understand the situation that they're in.

This does lead them to finally getting some of that information out of Nishi when they return to the sphere and the room. What he reveals plus what the sphere itself and the end of the sequence reveals is just what kind of game this is but not who is behind it. The setup, what we get of it, is interesting enough but it comes across as unsatisfying after what we've seen so far. I know it's going to be repetitive when I say it, but it would have been a more powerful opening arc if the first four episodes had been kept together and seen as one piece. What we get at the end is probably just the tip of the iceberg for what's really going on and it certainly intrigues.

In Summary:
Gantz continues to be a pretty mysterious show even though we do get a good deal of information this time around. With the cast pared down pretty heavily from the opening episode we're able to get past a lot of useless banter and right to the issues after the fight sequences are over. The opening bad guy was pretty weak in general since we couldn't understand a lick of what he said and that's no more exciting than watching the characters beat up on a simple beast. There's plenty to be interested in here but it continues to be difficult to really get into due to the pacing being so thrown off with the short running times.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Clean opening and closing animations,Interview with Daisuke Namikawa (Kei Kurono)

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with upconversion set to 720p, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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