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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Gantz, Vol. 2
Gantz, Vol. 2
ADV Films // Unrated // March 8, 2005
List Price: $17.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted March 19, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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The Show:

A series that was heavily censored when it appeared on Japanese TV, Gantz is a recent show from Gonzo.  Gonzo is a fan favorite studio, responsible for such creative and ground breaking shows as Blue Submarine #6 and Last Exile.  I was excited when ADV announced that they were releasing this 2004 series on DVD in Region 1, but I'm not nearly as impressed with this series as I have been with their past efforts.

Kei Kurono is a high school student who gets into some serious trouble on his way home from school one day.  As he's waiting for a train, he sees a homeless drunk fall onto the tracks.  Kato, a childhood friend of Kei's, Kato, whom he hasn't seen in years jumps down to help and Kei goes to his aide.  They manage to get the derelict off the tracks, but as they do an express train arrived and kills them both.

Or does it?  They both wake up in an apartment with several other people and a large black sphere.  The other people have recently 'died' too, and no one knows why they are there.  Unable to escape, they wait until writing on the sphere, called Gantz, tells them to kill an alien hiding in the city.  It opens up to reveal weapons and uniforms, and then the recently dead disappear one by one to confront their advesary.  It's all arranged like a game, but no one knows the rules.

In this volume, Kei finally realizes that he's not in a game, and that it is deadly serious.  The monster that they are fighting, having killed half of their number, turns on the three remaining members, Kei, Kato, and the woman Kishimoto.  It is a tough and bloody battle, but during the fight Kei discovers that the suit he's wearing gives him superpowers.  He's much stronger and more tough, but he's not sure how to control the suit's features.

Near the end of the battle, Kato is fatally wounded, and Kei is in trouble, when Joichiro Nishi, the middle school student from the Gantz room shows up and captures the beast.  Nishi knows more about what is going on than he's letting on, and seems to be familiar with this game and how it's played.  At the end of the round, he revels some answers, but most of what he says is very vague.

This series isn't really shaping up that well.  The premise is very intriguing, and the mystery of just what the Gantz is, and why it is here will keep me watching.  Unfortunately the emphasis is on blood and gore, instead of developing the story.

I didn't really understand most of the characters motivations.   Kei Kurono is really a jerk, with no redeeming values, or so it seems.  While people are dying around him, he's thinking about how to score with Kishimoto, which doesn't seem entirely realistic.  Just about everything he says or does shows him to be an egotistical and not very bright guy who doesn't care about anyone but himself.  In other words, an asshole.  I guess the show could be about him becoming a nice person, but somehow I doubt it.

This is a bloody show, with people's arms being ripped from their bodies and heads flying off.  It has monsters who bleed from their eyes when they get mad, and weapons that cause chests to explode in spectacular fashion.  They are definitely going for  the gross out factor, which is a shame.  The premise is so interesting it could easily carry the whole show without the over-the-top violence.

The DVD:


Gantz in being released with only two episodes per volume, and a retail price of $17.99 per volume.   While I applaud ADV trying something different with this release, putting the 26 episode series out on 13 discs is a really bad idea for many reasons.  First, it will cost over $50 more than it would have if it was released over 6 volumes at $29.99 a pop.  Then there is the shear volume of space that the series will take up when completed which another down side.  Lastly, it will take over a year to get the whole series with only two episodes being released each month.

This slow pace could be something that Gonzo wanted, the way they insisted on the four episodes of Blue Submarine #6 to be released on four DVDs.  Whether an experiment by ADV or a stipulation of licencing the series, the way that this is being released is a big negative to me.

Audio:

Gantz comes with an English dub in 5.1 and the original Japanese soundtrack in stereo.  The original track sounded very good, but the English dub was a little easier to watch.  There are several scenes where people's thoughts are audible, and it was a little easier to understand who's thoughts you are hearing in the English dub.

Though the English dub was in 5.1, it wasn't as dynamic as I was expecting.  The explosions didn't have a lot of impact, and didn't sound much different from the stereo mix.  Besides that, they did make good use of the surround channels, throwing some of the effects and occasionally the voices to the rears.  The Japanese track also did a good job with the front soundstage, using it to full advantage.

There were not any audio defects worth noting.

Video:

Generally the full frame image was very clean, though there was some aliasing.  This was minor though, mainly occurring in the backgrounds.  The colors were a little on the muted side, but that was probably the creator's intention.  A very nice transfer.

Extras:

This disc also includes clean opening and closing animation, a series of previews, and a six minute interview with Daisuke Namikawa, the actor who voices Kei in the original language.  The interview is pretty standard, with Diasuke talking about how he feels about the character and what he hopes happens to Kei.  While he doesn't give anything away, he does talk about what happens in the later episodes of the series in general terms.

Final Thoughts:

While this show has a very interesting story, the execution leaves something to be desired.  The main character is a jerk, and most of the show is devoted to blood and gore.  The way the show is being marketed is another negative.  With only two episodes per volume, it is going to take over a year to see the whole series, and it is going to cost more than if they had done a regular six volume release.  A marginal release, though it does have the potential to become very good, this volume is best Rented.
 

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