Gantz Vol. #09 - 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: 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. #09

By Chris Beveridge     October 31, 2005
Release Date: November 15, 2005


Gantz Vol. #09
© ADV Films


What They Say
With only a handful of players still alive, the third game continues grimly forward. But how can beings of flesh and blood defeat a monster made of metal, armed with dozens of weapons and with the ability to repair any battle damage it takes almost instantly? Has the Gantz finally placed the resurrectees in a game they cannot win?

The Review!
As one mission comes to a bloody end the start of another kicks off and the latest round of complete idiots shines brightly.

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, this installment has one of the new characters introduced in this volume and she pulls off the skintight black outfit just as well as the rest of the women we've seen in the series, well, except for the grandmother. 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.

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 extras this time continue with the basics and expand on it a bit. The opening and closing sequences are presented once more in their clean format. The new extra is the latest in the series of interviews with the sound director having an interview along with the voice actors for Kishimoto and Kato.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Gantz gets closer to the conclusion of the series and this volume's three episodes that takes the current storyline and brings it to a violent close. The cast continues to change though there are obvious ways of manipulating it so actors can continue to participate which makes the show that's so serious about having fun with death doesn't make it quite as permanent as it should be.

The battle at Raitenan temple goes on strongly here as they deal with the last of the creatures in the golden form. The thing has certainly caused a lot of trouble and death in the last couple of episodes between its high precision laser beam and its big bottle of acid that managed to act way too slowly last time. The creature basically appears to be unstoppable as everything that they've done to it, including sniping it this time around, just doesn't work. The fight sequences here work out nicely though because it is so hard to kill and it gets a bit creative with how they deal with it both in the actual fight, such as what Sei manages to do, but also in how the creature works to ensure its survival as much as possible. Like some of the past aliens though, it does take on that "Oh come on and die already" feeling that gets things close to being annoying.

In between the violence there is some rather good fun with the characters as they deal with their situation. Kurono is just beside himself with the pain that he's in having lost a leg and an arm but also from seeing Kishimoto die the last time around. There's even pangs of guilt within him as he's laying there unable to do anything but Sei is still taking care of him and even intimating that she really wants to be something more if he can bring himself to it. The rush of adrenaline, the copious amounts of death and carnage and everything else involved in the situation has certainly affected her and she takes the opportunity to talk things out with him until confronted with the statue again. Even Kato gets in a couple of moments and has some smarts installed into him early on when he has to deal with Kurono's slowly disappearing leg and comes up with a move that actually makes sense.

Thankfully, this arc does come to a resolution and the downtime from it is rather dramatic compared to previous encounters. In a way, seeing how Kurono comes out of this particular encounter takes you back to the rather cynical character we met the first time around in all of this and explains how he was in regards to just doing things and getting it done, not caring about anyone else anymore after seeing similar things happen too many times. Kurono's move back into normal life until the next time he's called up has him trying to resolve things internally with Sei and just getting through the days. He's got one great awkward encounter with Kishimoto that shows he's still one of the most socially inept people out there and watching that was just plain fun to see since he's such a hard character to root for.

Naturally, there isn't a lot of real downtime here since the cast has shortened up a bit and the series gets to do something that they really like; introducing a number of new characters and causing them all to die in various ways so that Gantz has his next band of fighters at his disposal. As with previous rounds, there are some connections that come through and they vary from what you could consider an amusing coincidence such as the one girl reading the book that Sei had ordered to the outright obvious of having the duo that killed the homeless man show up. The ties that bind Kurono to them is almost laughable at this point since it was the act of kindness wrapped up in shame that got him where he is. The rest of the cast has some ties to other characters or tangents to them but just like before, their meeting is painful.

Watching all of them getting together in the Gantz room with Kurono being the only carryover there and his poor attempts at explaining things only makes you wish for someone decisive around. And not Kato decisive but someone who can really just stand there and say exactly what needs to be said. So much of the time is spent lollygagging that you just want to throttle everyone. One nice change this time though is that they're all cautious enough to actually wear the combat suits so you don't have that mix of some wearing them and others not. One of the nice additions to the new group though is that we do get Kurono's teacher here who had shown up briefly during the Raitenan fight when none of them could be seen, so Kurono new of her affair which he blurts out. Between her and the other girl, they definitely help to fix the low female factor that the show suddenly took on.

In Summary:
The ending to the arc from the previous volume works out well though it does get to be a bit too much by the time the final "boss" is revealed but overall it was a different experience from past aliens. The downtime before the next fight and the subsequent series of deaths is roughly the same as the previous times its happened but knowing that this is the last arc in the anime you don't get quite as full a picture of some of them as you did in earlier ones as the need to get them into action is much strong. There is a great little quirk thrown into things as the alien is revealed and everyone is suited up to deal with it, particularly when it comes to the stats for the alien. Though we'll unlikely get the real answers we want with regards to what's really going on here, the next volume looks set to close up the arc and window into Gantz's world nice enough. Gantz continues to have that feel of being a show filled with incredibly stupid people but you can't turn your eye. They're like the results of a car accident that you just can't help but look at.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Interview,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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