Gantz Vol. #10 - 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: 29.99
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Gantz

Gantz Vol. #10

By Chris Beveridge     January 13, 2006
Release Date: January 17, 2006


Gantz Vol. #10
© ADV Films


What They Say
Gantz is the bloodiest, weirdest, most addictive anime experience of 2005, and this tenth and final volume definitely lives p to the hype! Who wins and who dies in the final game? The answer will surprise you!

The Review!
Gantz finishes out its last round with plenty of action, violence and skin to satisfy most fans of the series.

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 final cover goes to the final real villain of the show with Hajime having a good detailed full color shot here with that grin that only someone like him could have while the background provide a collage of other characters. 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 last set of extras has a couple of interesting pieces to it as well as the standards. The opening and closing sequences appear for the fine time in clean format and I continue to like having them on each volume. A somewhat strange extra is basically a "best of" the interviews piece that ties together various segments from each of the interviews done throughout the series as well as providing things like never been seen footage. The really nice new extra here is a behind the scenes look at how the series is made from a technical standpoint and goes into talks with the filming director and shows how various shots were accomplished and so forth. It runs about fifteen minutes and was definitely interesting to see.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The second half of the series, or second season as its called at times, comes to a close with the last three volumes that deal with the current group of victims trying to deal with being put through the Gantz ringer. As we saw in the previous volume, this one turned into a real twist for Kurono, the only surviving member of the original group or any of the past excursions as well, as he's been labeled as the one that must be defeated this time. Gantz must be nervous about what Kurono may be able to do to him to do that is the general idea.

Not that we get any answers about that or anything else. In fact, that and the final seconds of the last episode prove to be incredibly frustrating, but for obvious reasons, because of that as it doesn't really wrap anything up in a definitive way. With the source material being an ongoing manga series that isn't a surprise though but it leaves you at the very end feeling somewhat frustrated depending on what you wanted to get out of the series. If it was just a constant splatterfest with skin and general amounts of violence then it ends on a relatively high note though the last little bit may just be a touch tedious since you'd want it to end on an adrenaline rush. If you were hoping for even a hint of explanation about what Gantz is or anything else that's going on here, you're basically in the same boat I am now, hoping someone picks up the manga and that the author there is capable of actually following through on his work fully.

That said, the other 99% of this volume is a lot of fun to watch and really does a solid job of following up on the kind of action and brutality we've come to expect from the show. While I've believed that on some level that the series was trying to promote a point of view, typically something about how the Japanese people seem to be unable to make decisive actions in a physical manner and have a reliance on others to do it which plays into a lot of post World War II politics and psyche, the final episodes seem to play up a much more simple aspect where the idea is that we've seen a lot of really very difficult to kill opponents so far but that the ones that are the hardest to kill and the most violent is man itself. The inclusion of the two nutjobs that get their kicks killing homeless people and women alone makes for some fun but with the shift to making Kurono the villain, who may now potentially be a threat to Gantz itself, it adds a nice wrinkle to it all.

Of course, that's just what you can read into it and it's certainly open to plenty of interpretations depending on the characters that you deal with the most. Furuta for example can bring some interesting aspects to it as he plays heavily on the negotiator role who wants to believe the best in people. Following the two more decidedly evil characters, Hajime and Ryuta, they don't offer much of anything for the most part as we learn more about what kind of evil they've brought upon people but Hajime has some very interesting moments of dialogue as the final fights start to come down. He tries to play up the abused child angle for sympathy – after playing the others for fools several times already – but then he goes further to justify his actions by bringing in some real world examples and politics that definitely date the show. I certainly won't call the show or his comments anti-American but it was amusing to see his attempt to use such things as justification.

One of the areas that I found myself enjoying the most during this final arc was seeing how the latest female character, Mika, changes as it progresses. Most of the characters don't change throughout their missions, Kurono being an obvious exception really, but Mika has some end of life issues to deal with and has some strange connections to her past life due to the book that she has. She's not as bad as the girl who hid constantly in the previous session but she does find herself in some decidedly nasty situations as she becomes bolder about being involved and making a stand for herself as the groups finally form off against each other in a funeral home of all places.

If there was one thing truly missing from the final arc here, particularly in these three episodes, is that the tension added by the Gantz countdown clock was vastly underused. There's roughly forty minutes or so that the characters have to play with as it ends here but for most of the episodes the clock doesn't get used until it gets down to about three minutes or so and even then it's just a reminder really. This missing tension to their actions, the need to finish things out before their time runs out, is a really needed element here since otherwise a lot of the pacing feels like it's far too relaxed. Then again, poor pacing by the characters isn't exactly new though and watching Kurono go through plenty of moments where he should be fighting but instead spends it trying to console one of the dying members of his group just infuriates and frustrates.

In Summary:
Gantz overall has been a mixed bag of a series. I appreciate the over the top violence and the up front nature of the sexuality in how they kept both together. It's a series that is open to plenty of interpretation on top of its baser displays but some of it is just far too blunt at times to really be effective. It's a very frustrating show at the same time since a lot of the characters act in completely irrational and stupid ways. It's akin to watching a horror movie and yelling at the screen for the character to not do something so obviously stupid and dangerous when there are far better ways of dealing with it. But Gantz achieves its overall goals of being an interesting of elusive piece of work that appeal to some primal instincts and questions just how far people are willing to go for their own survival. If only it provided something definitive at the end instead of offering nothing but useless speculation.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 5.1 Language,English Subtitles,Clean opening animation,Clean closing animation,Best of Interviews,Behind the Scenes of Gantz

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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