Gantz Vol. #08 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: TV MA
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Gantz

Gantz Vol. #08

By Chris Beveridge     October 05, 2005
Release Date: October 11, 2005

Gantz Vol. #08
© ADV Films

What They Say
This time, they thought they were ready for anything the Gantz could throw at them. They were wrong. The third horrifying game rips into the resurrectees, decimating their ranks as wave after wave of deadly opponents exact their bloody toll. No one is spared, no one is safe, and for any of the players to survive, one of their number will have to make the ultimate sacrifice. And even then, it may all be for nothing.

The Review!
The violence continues to roll right along here though the sex is cut down considerably as the group deals with big tough statues.

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.

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.

Using some of the character artwork from the Japanese releases, Kishimoto gets the cover this time around and surprisingly it doesn't look like she's just a pair of walking breasts as they don't dominate her frame completely. 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 three episodes titles in a scattershot manner almost and… that's it. The inserts for this series continue to be one of the biggest wastes of space for an insert.

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.

The set of extras for this release is minimal for the most part. The opening and closing sequences are presented once more in their clean format and a new extra in the form of a short music video is included that has footage up through episodes on this volume.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Oh my god, I have never met a show whose characters I wanted to slap more than the cast of Gantz. Every now and then things seem like they're starting to get a little bit better but then they pull it out from underneath you and they're all acting like dead bugs on a stick. You almost want to throw something like this into the real world just to see if real people really would react differently.

But that's where I wonder if I'm either reading too much into the show and trying to figure out if this is a commentary on modern Japanese society and how coddled and non-confrontational they are, whether that's just a blanket generalization with no worth or whether the original author for this just didn't know how to write how characters would really deal with these kinds of situations. When we last saw everyone, we had a couple of people killed by going the wrong way and then the arrival of the massive green and red Christmas critters. They begin to target the latest group of slack jawed yokels that Gantz brought on board and move towards eliminating them, thankfully starting with the priest who just chants and prays.

And this is where I thought the series had managed to change some as after that happens, Kurono finally reaches his snapping point and takes on a pro-active approach to the things. Wielding both a rifle and pistol, he goes into hardened mode and uses the suits abilities to their fullest yet by leaping and bounding about and utterly destroying the green monster. Half the group is fascinated and amazed by him, but those that know him are almost scared at the change. What he's done though has certainly given them some hope at defeating these things and they all go after the red one with a new vigor, which is needed since that one has spent its time calculating everyone's moves. The range of players in this round is rather good compared to the previous groups and I was glad to see some strategy enter into things as they got themselves a solid sniper in the group.

The danger level keeps rising battle to battle here as they move through the numerous enemies that Gantz has them going after this time and each solution is just plain violent. The first giants were taken out rather easily all told but the Buddha was almost comical in how that happened. The rest of them seem to be a strange mix of easy and hard and the final enemies that they have to face turns out to be the real challenge as it starts to cut down on the numbers of what you'd consider the heroes. The fact that they've outright killed several of the lead characters that you wouldn't expect to be killed even in a show like this surprised me a lot. I was extremely pleased to see one female character in particular go. I was also really glad to see Sadako (as credited in the show but the end credits list as Sadayo) get some good screen time and participate, as well as the Dog. The violence is all over the map in this set of episodes and it's interesting to see that the sex has turned into a but of hardcore lust among some of them and that they're sorting their feelings out in the midst of battle.

But therein lies the same trouble the show has. The characters keep doing stupid things at the wrong time. Be it watching while just one or two people fight or talking about things that don't matter when going into battle. After seeing a homeless guy's body whose head has been caved in, how Sei and Kishimoto can even think of having a conversation about relationships is beyond me. That's a moment where you say, "Hey, let's get past this first and get out of here alive" instead of agreeing that you're over someone and interested in someone else. Even one characters heroic sacrifice is something where when you watch it, you just have to think that there were probably a dozen better ways of handling it than that and that the way it played out again points back to really bad writing.

In Summary:
If there's a plus to the show beyond its gratuitous violence and copious open sexual nature it's the fact that odds are if there are characters you don't like they'll be dead within a few episodes. This volume really ratchets up the number of dead and does it in both mundane and creative ways. Kurono has some great moments here as he realizes that he's got it in him to be a can-do kind of guy and just does and even Kato has brief bursts of a similar nature, but most of the characters are just sacks of dumb cement waiting to be killed.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Music Video,Clean opening animation,Clean closing animation

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


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jnager 3/13/2012 1:18:16 PM

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