Gantz Vol. #5 -

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. #5

By Dani Moure     July 18, 2006
Release Date: July 10, 2006

Gantz Vol. #5
© MVM Entertainment

What They Say
Round Two - KILL!

The violence erupts as the second game not only pits the resurrectees against aliens, but against each other as well! As the new group of players fight amongst themselves, a newer and deadlier alien menace is thrown against them. Against the sonic screams and ever increasing numbers of their new opponents, the enhanced power suits and weapons provided by the Gantz are no guarantee of survival... but for the unsuited Kurono the likelihood of survival is almost non-existent! The blood will flow in the fifth shocking volume of GANTZ!"

Featuring episodes 17-20

The Review!
The more things change, the more they stay the same. At least, that's how it was with Gantz until the end of this volume...

For this review I listened to most of 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 for an episode, 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 Kurono on 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.

The clean opening and closing makes another appearance here, as well as a short music video promotional piece. Unfortunately, we don't get any interviews this time around.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This volume of Gantz, one of the most strangely addictive series you can find at the moment (despite not actually being all that great), can be summed up pretty easily, so I'll break it down as such.

Episode 17: "Tramp, us two random guys are gonna kick your ass!!"
Episode 18: "ZOMG! Kurono-kun you're so amazing ZOMG!"
Episode 19: "Oh no the monk statues, they're... *squish*"
Episode 20: "What the f "- ARGHH!"

OK, that's definitely over-simplifying things, but it's funny because Gantz is so slow-paced, especially for an action show (and there are some great examples of that in these episodes), that it doesn't seem like a great deal happens much of the time. A whole episode is spent mulling over one action, or one event that takes place. The first three episodes here definitely fall into the usual trappings of this series, and yet it remains incredibly compelling all the same. And then, once it's drawn us in while plodding along, it throws everything into complete chaos in the final episode on the disc. I've no idea what will happen on the next disc, but I'm sure it won't be pretty, and it would seem that for some, this disc is the point of no return.

So the story continues from the last disc, with everyone together about to face the two giant statues that have started moving. But there's a completely random distraction, as the homeless man Kurono and Kato saved way back in the first episode is wandering through the streets, followed by two thugs who are trying to beat him with a baseball bat (and have already killed a couple of people with one before). Quite what their purpose was, I wasn't too sure even by the end of the disc because it didn't amount to much more than a brief digression from the statues that were moving about ever-so-slowly. The homeless man's appearance does see Kato and Kurono start to question what's happened to them though, and indeed why they're continuing when it all seems to have been for nothing.

As ever, the story moves rather slowly with everything being analysed to death by the characters. It did make me laugh that every time they tried to mount a strategy against the statues they'd spend ages setting it up. It's quite fitting that the blast from their guns takes a while to reach its target after it's been fired though. Also on the Gantz slow-o-meter of amazement is the movement of the enemies, or lack thereof. Honestly, I can't count on all my fingers and toes how many opportunities the enemies had to squish the Kurono and the gang, and yet would rather stand there and do nothing while everyone talks. It's certainly been the show's style from the start, but it is quite annoying.

Anyway, since no one is really getting anywhere with the two statues, Kurono ends up going postal and starts really going all out to fight and destroy them. The others watch, continually amazed by his actions and yet not really managing to help out at all. Never mind. Kurono does an admirable job but it's all for naught when by the end of it, you guessed it, another set of statues has shown up. This is where the squishing begins, and it's quite funny, if again suffering from a strange distraction.

Here, Kurono's school teacher appears and gets into a squishable position, so he and Kato try and stop her. It's all a bit futile and they end up squished... yet not. They're stamped on but they seem to remain, which is perhaps a hint of truth about what exactly is going on in these games that Gantz is playing. It all continues to be rather dramatic, but almost everyone makes out in the end.

The best is saved for last though, as everything is thrown out the window (figuratively) as the final uber-boss statues need to be defeated. The group try a few strategies, but they're not really the best, and several casualties are suffered, some who prove no one is safe in this series. Indeed only three people have seemingly survived by the end of this episode, and one of them has lost a few limbs. It's all very bloody and brutal (and yet somewhat comical in the show's usual way), but things are left on a pretty evil cliffhanger and I can only assume that there will be someway to at least partially reset what has gone on here, because otherwise part of the connection with it will be lost. Nevertheless, this is one of the best episodes of the series yet, because it goes beyond some of the things we've seen so far and puts everyone on the line. It is also home to my favourite slow-o-meter moment ever, when the liquid goo is being thrown on Kato and Kishimoto is running towards him. Never before have you seen liquid defy gravity for so long while someone thinks things through in their head, because I swear it goes on for a good minute from release of the liquid to impact, and it's only travelling about a metre!

We do get some nice character development mixed throughout the episodes as well. Kishimoto realises who it is she really wants (or does she?), while Kato starts to realise his feelings as well (you just knew something bad was bound to happen), and Kurono and the new girl decide to start going out. We even get to see more of stalker girl and model boy, and see their relationship develop somewhat. The internal musings of the characters that we often see as they're thinking every little thing through (I wonder what would happen if the creators decided to animate the characters going to the toilet...) are frustrating at times because you know things should be happening but time has seemingly frozen. Still, if you overlook that aspect then we do get quite a lot of incite into the characters, their motives and their relationships, which is a good thing.

In Summary:
Though it's easy to be humorous about Gantz's ways, from story through to characters just because of the way the show plays out, I can't stress enough how entertaining and compelling this series is. It's still one of the first discs to go into my player when a new volume arrives, and I'm enjoying it a lot. This volume turns the heat up in many ways while continuing with the same formula the series has had since it began, and even the characters show slightly more intelligence on occasion. At least most of them bother to actually fire their guns and defend themselves before they die now. If you're out for an hour and a half's entertainment, you could do a lot worse than getting yourself Gantz.

Japanese Language (2.0),English Language (5.1),English Subtitles,Clean Opening & Closing,Music Video

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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