Mania Grade: B
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- 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. #04
By Chris Beveridge
June 10, 2005
Release Date: May 03, 2005
What They Say
As Kato struggles to maintain control, Kishimoto realizes that with her new body comes new hope. Unfortunately, before she can act on those options, the second game begins! As a new group of players is initiated into the world of the sphere, the survivors of the first game are confronted with an entirely different breed of opponent — one that’s smarter, more aggressive and more organized — and that’s before the real game even starts!The Review!
Still reeling from their experiences and trying to feel like they can get back to their normal lives, the mix of existing characters and new ones are set up for their next mission.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, Nishi gets the cover this time and his appearance continues to be amusing since he doesn't go with just wearing the suit but by at least wearing a jacket along with it. 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:
Similar to the previous volumes, we get some of the expected standards such as the clean opening and closing sequences. Continuing what we got with the previous volume, we get the second part of the Cast Talk featurette with the voice actors from the first one plus a new one, the gentleman who played the Suzuki Alien, coming up to the stage and being part of the group. Just like the first one, this is a pretty solid cast talk piece though it is mostly just promotional fluff, there's some fun little bits to the discussions and it runs a good twenty minutes in length..Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The second arc to the first season of the show starts up with this volume though it's very similar in nature to the previous two episodes in that while there is some minor action going on, it's very much in the real world vein and not with the kind of over the top violence we got early on in the show. The series two episode format gives us essentially what is another volume of minor character development and setup.
For the two Kei's, their lives are both going in different directions and each of them are oblivious to what the other needs. Kurono continues to have the possibility of being called up to service in the back of his mind so he's got kind of an edge to him, but this is heightened by the fact that he's pretty much walking around with a stiffie all the time. With Kishimoto still living with him and doing things with him like the shopping and what not, he's constantly surrounded by her and is constantly turned on by her. He even gets her to try on the black uniform once and he's practically exploding from lust right then and there, especially when she asks what she needs to do to really activate its powers. Kurono actually does make a play for her at one point and it's one of those things where you admire the audacity but at the same time shake your head and think less of him.
For Kishimoto, her state of mind continues to be in flux. She's distressed to some extent over a number of things and they all complicate each other. One area that weighs heavily on her is that she's lost her life since a duplicate was created and is living things like she used to. To see and hear things like that, plus how the rest of the family reacts to her, only sends her self worth lower. She's also having flashbacks to when she killed herself and seeing it happen over and over again which will certainly cause problems as well to ones mental state. With her being trapped by both of those things and living with Kurono, who at least can go out to school and do some of his normal things, she's like a rat in a cage that has too much time in her own head.
Probably the most interesting story to follow, unless you're just here for the gratuitous boobie shots with Kishimoto, is what Kato is going through. With him and his brother living with relatives who detest and essentially abuses them, he does his best to ensure his little brother isn't hurt much if at all and given everything he needs. Ayumu suffers through much of this because he just wants to get past it so he can live with his brother on their own some day and he does it without complaint. This just grates on Kato since he hates to see his brother like this and it causes him to lash back every once in awhile at his aunt.
But he can't do much there because for now at least he needs her. Where he's able to lash out is at school where he's something of a savior to the underdog as he takes on action against the bullies and hangs out with the geek group to some extent. His helping of one of the kids this time sets the stage for him to be singled out for revenge by some of the thugs and they end up with the help of someone a grade up from them who is essentially a foot taller and twice as ugly. He'll do it for free too since he wants to rape Kato and his pretty face. This doesn't take long to get back to Kato and it just sets him off in his controlled way and he just goes to town with it. Unlike the violence in the Gantz related scenes, the material here is much more brutal because it's easier to associate with and doesn't have the outlandish elements like the clothes and weapons, or aliens for that matter.In Summary:
Most of the time in this volume is devoted to the three lead characters and their arcs but the next round of disposable companions is brought into play as well and they get a most basic set of introductions and setup, which means we get to see a small bit of their lives before their big death scene and arrival in the Gantz room. Unlike the previous volume, there is some violence and action in here so it's not a complete character driven piece but that makes two volumes in a row where things have calmed down considerably from the second volume and all the revelations from there and the extended battle. It sounds like a broken record, but the pacing of the series – which is fine – just doesn't jive well with the release pattern of the series for me.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Cast talk featuring Masashi Osato (Kato); Hitomi Nabatame (Kishinoto) and Rakkyo Ide (Suzuki Alien),Clean opening animation, Clean closing animation
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI with, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.