Gantz Vol. #3 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 18 & Up
  • Region: 2 - Europe
  • Released By: MVM Entertainment
  • MSRP: 19.99
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Gantz

Gantz Vol. #3

By Dani Moure     March 15, 2006
Release Date: March 13, 2006

Gantz Vol. #3
© MVM Entertainment

What They Say
The first game is over, but will the horrors committed be forever burned into the souls of those who remain? As new shocking developments rip the survivors' "real" worlds to shreds, the sins of the flash grow and spread like cancer, festering until the line between good and evil ceases to exist. In a world where the laws of life and death have been overturned, what other forbidden passions remain? The series that shocked Japan continues in the third stunning volume of Gantz!

Episodes comprise:
9. I'll Kill You Without A Moment's Hesitation
10. Yuzou-kun?
11. He Can't Shoot
12. Kato, You Wait Here

The Review!
The latest volume of Gantz proves to be as inane as the last in many ways, and yet just as compelling.

For this review I listened to the disc in Japanese with subtitles. The stereo track is your standard mix, and I noticed no dropouts or distortions during regular playback. The voice acting is actually quite good, with the principal cast performing quite well.

I briefly sampled the English 5.1 mix, which adds a bit of directionality to things, and I noticed no problems with this track.

The four episodes on this disc are presented in anamorphic widescreen, and look excellent for the most part. Aliasing is barely noticeable even in the pans in this volume, though the transfer did look a tad soft on a couple of occasions. Colours are vibrant and the show generally just looks very good.

Subtitles are in a nice yellow font and I didn't notice any major grammatical or spelling errors.

No packaging was included with this check disc.

The menus are pretty simple but fit the tone and style of the show. The show’s logo appears taking up most of the screen before it shrinks and becomes a part of the main menu screen. This features the cover image of Nishi to the left, with episode numbers, and links to the setup and extras menu down the middle. A section down the right has movies from the show looping round beneath a red silkscreen. The opening song plays over this menu. Sub-menus are static and silent, just providing their selections in the same theme as the main menu. It’s simple but fits the tone of the show, and access times are nice and quick.

The clean opening and closing makes another appearance here, while the only other feature is a nice collection (5 minutes worth) of television commercials for the DVD release in Japan.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Before I sat down to watch this third volume of Gantz, I tried to think of what it was that made me enjoy this show quite a lot, even for all its blindingly obvious failings. And I couldn’t. So I just sat down and absorbed the latest four episodes, and found myself feeling just as entertained after this disc as the last. Sure, I spent a lot of time screaming at my TV wondering how the characters could be so darn stupid, and yet this is one of the few series that I never find myself checking the time left on the disc when I’m watching, and the time really flies while I do. There’s just something that’s just so damn compelling to me about Gantz, and for the life of me I’ve no idea what it is.

Before I start going over some of the stupid things (of which there are far too many), let’s get an update on the story. Picking up from the final episode on the last disc, our band of heroes (Kurono, Kishimoto and Kato for those keeping track – the three “Ks”!) were joined at Gantz’s lair by some new arrivals, a gang of three thugs and their “leader” who we saw gushing over his kid on the last disc, a young boy and his grandmother, some model guy, the ever-lovable licking dog and of course the ever present annoyance that is Nishi. As you might expect at first the new guys are all wondering what the heck is going on, while the other three almost make their pants brown when they realise where they’ve been brought to again. That’s right, the second game is about to begin!

This time the target Gantz lays out is the “Suzuki” alien, that looks like a robot (but there’s more than meets the eye to it, or rather them), and the regulars realise they’re going to have to hunt it down. Unfortunately for Kurono he’s left his suit at home, while the three thugs stupidly refuse to wear their suits (amusingly, and in a nice touch, the model chooses to make a fashion statement by wearing his regular cloths over the top of his suit). Much back-and-forth posturing from everyone, especially Nishi, results in the regular aggression from him as he kills one of the thugs to prove a point (and up the violence quota a bit), before they set off.

Once the hunt begins, the group is gradually separated after Nishi goes off on a mini-rampage to get ten more points, which sees himself lose his eyes (literally) to the Suzuki alien, as well as the rest of him eventually. But can our unlikely protagonists win? And which of them will survive? The clock is counting down, and annoyingly the disc ends in a cliffhanger (with one episode of the first season remaining).

So, it all sounds pretty standard for this show, right? Well that’s because it is. Gantz has, in its first two volumes, carved out a real sense of style for itself (whether the style is good or bad is entirely down to your own preference), and it’s essentially more of the same here. So if you liked the first two discs, get this one now; if you didn’t, leave it well alone!

If only it were that simple. I really wish I could articulate exactly what I find so intriguing about Gantz, and what makes me so compelled to watch it as quickly as possible once I start, because if I could then I might be able to explain why I’d still recommend this show even though it has such blatant flaws. Most annoying of which, is still the snails pace things move at. I mean, honestly, this is an action show. I saw in the first volume that the director liked to get into the characters’ heads, and hoped it wouldn’t be detrimental to the show. Well, are we really supposed to believe that when a Suzuki alien that the party is hunting is chasing Nishi around in a fairly narrow and shallow river, while everyone else is on the bridge, there’s a good five minutes for everyone to stop and chat while they debate what to do to help him?

Sure, that’s exactly what we’re supposed to believe, because that’s what happens. One minute the alien is a few feet behind Nishi, the next our characters go on and on for a while, we get a cut back to a chase that looks as if they’re running in circles, then more and more talk, then finally as Kato jumps down the alien is almost upon Nishi… right where it was when they originally started babbling. In fact it brings up a question that I have, when we’re watching the show is it slower than real time? Because the clock starts at an hour and by the end of the episode, only 15 minutes have passed. OK, so that’s not really a serious question, because I’m sure some of the scenes are supposed to be concurrent (even though there blatantly aren’t enough), but it’s a bit annoying.

And as if the stupidity in the way the plot pans out at times wasn’t enough, I could honestly kill the characters myself at times, because they’re so stupid. Really, really stupid. How many times does one of them have to be in front of an alien with a gun at point-blank range to learn to actually pull the trigger before the alien makes an escape? Because I can think of many instances, from Kurono, to the model boy, Kato and probably the worst of the offenders, Kishimoto, where they could’ve easily had the kill but didn’t, for no good reason. If they’re as scared as they make out, and watching their friends and allies getting mauled, you’d think they’d be driven to do it. But I think we only actually got one alien kill by gun in the whole volume. It’s pretty ridiculous in anyone’s eyes.

Yet despite all that, I am drawn into the world of Gantz every time I watch it and find it hard to stop until I’m forced to by the DVD credits. There’s something about the show that just compels me to watch it until I have no more, almost as if I’m addicted to it knowing how stupid it can be. And after every viewing I am more than entertained even with all the flaws. It’s so strange because I don’t remember any other anime series being like this for me, which makes it even harder to review. I do find the characters interesting, flawed though they are, and although I was a bit disappointed that the philosophical questions raised in the last disc were side-tracked by the latest game, I still enjoy seeing the characters in these situations, even if sometimes I’m willing them to die (the only death that I didn’t like in this volume was Nishi’s, as he’s one of my favourite characters).

The animation still looks a bit awkward, and often a bit too digital, but in general it’s not too bad and at least stands out with its own sense of style. I really like a lot of the background music as well; I probably wouldn’t usually but it really fits the “in-your-face” tone of the show quite well, and the opening theme in particular rocks.

In Summary:
Despite all the odds, given just how flawed much of the show is, from the story to the characters to the situations (will we ever find out exactly what Gantz actually is?), it is gradually winning me over more and more with each episode. It’s a bizarre phenomenon, but Gantz is just really likeable even though it has its problems. The release format in the UK continues to get huge bonus points from me, and I look forward to seeing what the end of the first season and start of the second brings to the table.

Japanese Language (2.0),English Language (5.1),English Subtitles,Clean Opening & Closing,TV Commercials

Review Equipment
Philips 28" Pure Flat Widescreen TV, Philips DVP5100 code free DVD player, JVC gold-plated RGB SCART cable, standard stereo sound.


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