Gantz Vol. #4 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A-
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: TV MA
  • 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. #4

By Dani Moure     May 19, 2006
Release Date: May 22, 2006


Gantz Vol. #4
© MVM Entertainment


What They Say
As Kato struggles to maintain control, Kishimoto realizes that with her new body comes a 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 series that shocked Japan continues in the fourth electrifying volume of Gantz!

Episodes Comprise:
13. Please Die
14. Goodbye
15. I Wanna Be There Now
16. I Will Do It

The Review!
The violence and sex quotient is upped as the second season gets into full swing in the most recent volume of Gantz.

Audio:
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.

Video:
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.

Packaging:
No packaging was included with this check disc.

Menu:
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 Seito the right, with episode numbers, and links to the setup and extras menu down the middle. A section down the left 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.

Extras:
The clean opening and closing makes another appearance here, as well a TV commercial for the game (which actually looks interesting). The real meaty extras though are the interviews with creator Hiroya Oku and Chiaki Kuriyama (Kishimoto), and director Ichiro Itano and CG director Yasuhiro Kato. Both are quite interesting and run just over 15 minutes each, featuring some really interesting insights into the show and its creation. I really enjoyed these extras.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Once again I found myself looking forward to watching another volume of Gantz, all the while wondering what there was to like about it. And although I know it's not particularly deep, often being little more than a showcase for sex and violence, what it continues to be is hugely entertaining and there's still the entertainment factor that just compels me to watch the show as a bit of entertainment and not really think about it a great deal.

This volume is interesting in a few ways, most notably as it's the start of the second season proper. When the show first aired on Japanese TV, the first season's 13 episodes were heavily edited and 11 ended up on TV. But for the second season, it aired uncut and so unsurprisingly once the second game is over in the first episode of the disc, the violence and, most notably, sex quotient is suddenly pushed way up. But this show is always about appealing to the sex and violence crowd, and although I initially hoped there was a bit of explanation for it that hope fades more with each disc, yet I still just can't stop watching.

Volume 4 kicks off where the last one left off, with the second game winding down as Kurono is left to face the bird alien alone, without even his suit to protect him. To be honest, I found this one of the more laughable sections of the show, as the aliens who are with the bird one and keep saying that person's name are perhaps the least scary, funniest looking and in part most stupid enemies you might ever see, and it detracted from the tension a bit (although they play Kurono really well here). The rest of the gang are all together and find the dead old lady, and eventually catch up with Kurono. But when the game eventually ends they find themselves being scored by Gantz, and Kurono comes out on top since he's the main one who actually kills things.

With this game all said and done, the players return home and all isn't well for everyone. Kurono is still struggling with Kishimoto's feelings and is extremely frustrated by her attitude towards Kato, since she is just constantly mentioning how great he is all the time. It leads to a rather sad situation where she ends up leaving his house, although she maintains that she thinks he's great. He thinks he's messed up, and imagines some interesting situations where she comes back. This was one of the more interesting aspects of this disc for me, as both are struggling with the situation and are a little messed up. Kishimoto is the one struggling with her identity the most, since another version of her is living with her parents, and she's found a hero figure in the form of Kato. But Kurono, being the selfish young jerk (what teenage boy isn't?), he thinks she should be more grateful to him and obviously is attracted to her. Things are never really going to work between them and the relationship is thrown an interesting twist when the next game begins.

Kato meanwhile has to deal with his brother and the evil aunt, and when he sees his brother beat up again he snaps, threatening the aunt physically before they move out. They are struggling a great deal financially, but Kato sees no other way than moving out to protect his brother. In many ways he's such an admirable character, the way he stands up to people to protect others and is such an idealist. But in such a dangerous environment when everyone is hunting he is also one of the most stupid people on the show, who would rather stand in front of an alien staring than shoot it with the gigantic gun he has in hand.

The biker, on the other hand, is having relationship issues of his own and I quite liked his story and the way it played out. Little did his girlfriend know that he was actually trying to help her and the baby out, but he ended up coming to an end that you'd kind of have expected. Although it came in an interesting manner, with Gantz seemingly granting his death wish outside of the game environment.

It's always quite enjoyable to see things settle down when everyone returns home from a game, to see how their moral outlook has been altered and indeed how the fighting has changed them in general. In Kurono, it just seems to make him more selfish and annoying, while Kishimoto is drawn towards Kato more and more. Naturally though, the next game soon begins and throws some more interesting things into the mix.

This time, a lot more people are present, with the priest being the most annoying as he refuses to listen to reason and just tries to get people to pray instead, despite the warnings from Kato and the others. It's funny to see Kurono also finally let out all his burning desires as he gets to sleep with the new girl on the block (who is so easy it's a bit absurd), and we're given some surprisingly graphic sex scenes to go with it (I have to say I found the girl's ever-changing breast size in these scenes amusing though). The inevitable happens to some of the new guys when they eventually get sent out, but with some new dynamics amongst the cast it'll be fun to see where the writers go with this as the show is now entering its final stretch.

In Summary:
Make no mistake, the characters in Gantz are still quite stupid, the animation is still awkward at times and indeed, the sex and violence are in the driving seat over the plot at the moment (we still know nothing about Gantz really). But I've given up trying to find a reason to like this show now, I just do. It's fun, mindless entertainment with an intriguing enough story and although it's not of the same calibre as some other shows currently on release, it's still one of the most entertaining and, tellingly, one of the first to go into my player once I receive a new disc. That's not a bad thing at all.

Features
Japanese Language (2.0),English Language (5.1),English Subtitles,Interview with Creator Hiroya Oku and Actress Chiaki Kuriyama,Interview with Director Ichiro Itano and CG Director Yasuhiro Kato,Clean Opening & Closing,Videogame Commercial

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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