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sothis's avatar
Jun 15, 2006

Prior to watching GANTZ, there were only two anime that I had seen that made me think "SHOCK VALUE": Elfen Lied, and Narutaru. While Narutaru excels in psychological shock value (episode 12, anyone?), Elfen Lied excels in "oh my god I can’t believe that body part just got ripped off of their body" shock value. GANTZ definitely rivals Elfen Lied with its grotesque nature, but is definitely stronger due to how nonstop the gore, violence and sexual undertones are displayed. While Elfen Lied only has sections dedicated to brutal violence, GANTZ is a nonstop assault on the senses with scenes of attempted rape, nudity, and an uncountable number of death scenes which often involve implosions, explosions, and involve a variety of subjects including aliens, animals, old people and children. Truly nothing is safe from the violence of GANTZ, and that definitely has to be the selling point of the series.

Story-wise, GANTZ starts out as violent as it ends up. Childhood friends Kei and Katou are waiting for a subway and see a drunken man on the tracks. Katou is the good guy and tries to save him, and Kei attempts to help, but their bravery costs them their lives. Kei’s decapitated head flying through the air is a harbinger for the violence to come. The two "awaken" in a room filled with strangers and a large black sphere known as GANTZ who, unbeknownst to them, will soon send them on harrowing missions to kill strange aliens; missions which carry a notable reward, and a high chance of dying in very nasty ways. The duo is joined by a very large breasted naked woman, a dog who can’t keep its face out of her crotch, and a company of others. And thus, the violence begins.

There are really two main facets to GANTZ: the violence and the sex. While I can appreciate the gratuitous violence to some extent, I definitely couldn’t appreciate the sexual part. Then again, I’m not male. The sexual aspect of the series is also very violent in nature for the most part, and usually involves Kei (the girl) being at risk of getting raped by random people. In addition, Kei (the male) is always thinking of sexual fantasies involving Kei (the girl) and his desire to pretty much force her to have sex with him. Along with the enormously proportioned and unrealistic anime breasts, she is a completely sexual character that is always the target of violence. I guess I just don’t find anything redeeming about that whatsoever. Episode 14 and 15 take the sex factor up 50 notches with some full blown hentai (aka porn) scenes. This makes me understand why the TV version was heavily edited. Sex aside, the violence does what it intends; it portrays maximum shock value. Elfen Lied was cool because people randomly get ripped apart; but in GANTZ, the violence is not only brutal, but it’s very uncomfortable to watch at times. I’m down with a random person getting blown up, but not when they are pleading for their lives, or are an old feeble person or a child. As mean as the aliens might have been, I was very uncomfortable watching them plead for their lives while crying, only to have a limb chopped off or be killed.

The only things I didn’t enjoy was the nonstop ecchi (as previously mentioned) and also the pacing; some episodes were based solely on waiting for GANTZ to send them out to fight an alien, reminding me of the multi episode battles in popular shounen series. Extended dying scenes that rivaled the 3rd Matrix also could have been trimmed.

Ultimately, the one thing that tarnishes the story in a major way is the ending; which, as everyone warned me about, is terrible. I’m talking open ended explaining nothing terrible. It’s very unfortunate, because you have a lot of questions throughout the series, only to have it end in such a disappointing fashion. On that note, the last few episodes are disappointing in general, too. Think Scryed episodes 25 and 26. It could have ended sooner, but instead was drawn out. Even so, I loved the story.
Visually GANTZ is an interesting mix of beautiful imagery and unique character designs, and 3D animation. When the characters run through the streets, it becomes 3D. This is interesting, but admittedly looks a little odd and definitely is not seamless. In general though, the colors are dark and gorgeous and the animation is pleasing. As mentioned previously I could have done without the nonstop nudity and ecchi cleavage shots, but I fully admit I’m not the target audience on that one.
I’m a big fan of GANTZ’s music. First of all, I’m a huge DNB fan and the intro is a DNB tune that I ended up loving. The music is mixed with metal, rock, opera, and other elements that make it unique and also very appropriate for the series.

The dub is good and doesn't sound scripted, though I don't know how happy I am with Kei (male) and Katou's voices. Both sound a little too high compared to their Japanese counterparts. Kei (girl) had the most offensive English voice, sounding low, raspy, and very out of place compared to the cute and innocent Japanese voice actor. Some of the other characters had voices that matched very well, though... but overall, poor choice of some voices for the dub.
Somehow, the creators managed to develop all of the characters wonderfully, even if the result is an uncomfortable feeling. For the most part, your opinion on all of the villains – human or alien – is turned upside down. You change from hating them, to feeling sorry for them for a variety of reasons. It’s hard to put a finger on how they did this... sometimes they would reveal the character’s past at the last minute, other times it was a simple sentence a character said. All I know is that when certain characters died – characters who I originally wanted to die – I felt very sorry for them and didn’t want it to happen anymore. After the first alien battle, a new set of characters are brought to the room of GANTZ. With most of these characters, we are shown their lives and hardships prior to their deaths, helping you feel closer to them. This also makes you more anxious, because you know some of them will not live out the next battle. The best part of the character development, in my opinion, takes place in the times in between the battles when you learn about each character’s history, and how they have been affected by their new power, role, and responsibility.

Kei (the guy) is arguably one of the most hated characters in anime history. He whines and has inner dialogues nonstop, during which he complains about the people around him and the situations he is in. He wants to have sex with Kei (the girl) so badly that he gets irritated and angry every time she a) won’t sleep with him, and b) shows interest in the very kind and compassionate Katou, who clearly deserves the affection of the ladies much more so than the misogynistic and selfish Kei. He’s an asshole, a jerk, and a selfish excuse for a human being... and the story is told through his eyes, which makes for an interesting perspective. The female Kei is pretty much what she was intended to be: a somewhat brainless sex symbol. Though the reasons behind her death are compelling, she doesn’t manage to shake her useless and vacant image. Katou is notably the good guy of the series, wanting to help people survive and help them even when they probably shouldn’t be helped. Clearly he’s the character you are supposed to be drawn to. All of the three main characters are developed throughout the series, with Kei (the guy) changing the most for the better.

While the violence and sex might be the reason people are drawn to the series, it’s my opinion that the character development, combined with the above, is what truly makes this series special.
It’s hard to explain why I thought GANTZ is as good as it is, or why it ended up impacting me as much as it did. Throughout the series, so, so many people die in so many horrific ways. Literally no one is safe from the scythe of the Grim Reaper, and several of the deaths will shock you. The assault of violence and excessiveness (with the gore, the deaths, and the sex) eventually desensitizes you to some extent, yet still makes you feel horrible when person after person is killed. I wasn’t expecting to like GANTZ as much as I did, but I’d recommend it to anyone who likes and/or can handle very violent and very dark series. Keep in mind that the first few episodes aren’t the best; I thought it started to pick up, character development-wise, at episode 5. Regardless, this is a great series, and one that I still think about from time to time.
8.5/10 story
8.5/10 animation
9/10 sound
10/10 characters
9/10 overall
noname0302's avatar
Aug 13, 2014

What is this and how do you dare compare it to Elfen lied???

I understand that they need a few episodes to estabilish the atmosphere and introduce the main characters, but here...I bumped into Gantz a lot of times throughout the years and at last I decided to give it  try even though the story looked bizarre and I didnt like the animation much. I didnt expect much and I was still disappointed.

Story: Im not going to judge, 3 episodes are not enough to do so, but it looked weak at best. We have our fair share of action(that is obvious even at this point), but it is a bit chaotic. These guns look useless. You shoot someone and he explodes in like 30 seconds. Your opponent has time to kill you 10 times even after getting shot. 

Characters: wtf is up with these guys??? Are they all retarded? In the start when they are killed by the train they had like 2 minutes to get the guy out then get out themselves. Dont tell me that highschool students cant a climb wall that is barely more than a meter. Just ask for someone to give you a hand and pull you up or work together or anything but this. This was the stupidest start to any anime I have ever seen. And then: a naked girl falls into your arms and Kei kisses her and the other guy wants to rape her. Wtf? You have like 6 grown men there and only one of them is smart enough to actually give the girl some clothes? These charcaters couldnt act any more stupid then this. And the first opponent is a green onion alien. Yeah...What were they smoking when they came up with this.

And about Kei. ffs when an old woman asks you if she is in the right station, you tell her. Even serial killers know that. 0/10

Animation: the animation is not bad, it has its own style which feels a bit outdated. This style evolved a lot in the past few years, but still, it does the job. The problem is, that the whole thing is gross. Why does the onion kid have to puke every few seconds. Just why?? Elfen lied had a lot a blood and still it wasnt repelling. 5/10

They shot themselves in the balls with the first few scenes and did nothing to redeem themselves. If you want to watch a massacre and some nudity watch Elfen Lied. It beats Gantz miserably is every way possible. 

I may be a bit harsh, but to be honest, this was the worst anime I have seen in a while. Some people really like gore and such, thats probably why they like Gantz, but there are tons of other series out there that are way better. 

Overall: the animation is not bad and we get some action. If I watched a few more episodes it will probably get better, but there is no chance I will watch any more of this. 3/10

PS: I doubt that this review will be a popular one, but I wrote it, so others dont get fooled by all the good reviews. Everyone has anime they like and some they hate. Im guessing Gantz will be many peoples favorite, but others will hate it. Im the latter. 

?/10 story
5/10 animation
?/10 sound
0.5/10 characters
3/10 overall
roriconfan's avatar
Jun 15, 2012

Full list of the review series can be found on this page, 3rd post from bottom:

The French may have said “Make love, not war” but then Gantz appeared and said “Why not do both”…

Gantz is a cool manga that did the mistake of asking from GONZO to turn it into an anime. It has a very violent and mysterious story that can easily glue you just to see what will happen next yet at the same time has a very slow build up that ends in a very confusing and almost unsatisfactory way.

As many will probably tell you, the anime is covering just the first three arcs of the manga, while the fourth is an anime original, done on the run to wrap the story. That move disappointed many, since anime originals are always trying to abruptly end a complicating story with poor reasoning.

Beyond that, the anime was still going slow just to stay away from the manga while at the same time had to last for a full season and not end out of the blue. The result was for a big portion of the excitement being lost at characters standing frozen and talking about irrelevant things in the most inappropriate moments. Although that was present in the manga as well, the time spent there definitely didn’t last that long and most of it felt like internal dialogue than chatting in the middle of a massacre.

Many disliked the characters for being too unmoral and carnal, violent and devoid of sympathy which further damaged the image of the anime. Well I can only blame GONZO for that since that was the intension of the mangaka from the start; to create a setting that made a contrast to all the shonen shows out there. The cast is indeed a bunch of miserable cowards and horny creeps instead of idealistic super-powered kids. Most of the magic of the story is how these bastards need to find the guts to get active and cooperate against their deadly adversaries instead of being apathetic idiots, waiting to be slaughtered like sheep. It was a social commentary around the modern way of life of sorts and I must say it was brilliant. GONZO unfortunately is a company completely incompetent at depicting human emotions in their characters and thus failed to use the proper aesthetics to make the viewers feel what I mentioned above. To most, the cast was indeed a bunch of nobodies, talking idiotically in the middle of a massacre and waiting to be killed. The lack of proper emotional depiction and music BGM just ruined it.

Another thing that felt bad for most is the complete lack of an objective. Why are all these things happening in the story? For what purpose? Again, this is a very unorthodox approach to storytelling as most people want a clear goal early on and yet all they saw here was a bunch of unsympathetic people being ordered to kill stuff. What for? The penalty for not obeying is death. The penalty for not playing right is death again. Ain’t they all dead already? So what is the point of fighting? Yet the series plays along in a way to not offer anything clear. Not even the rules of this game are explained at the unwilling players. Many need to randomly be killed just so the rest can figure it all out on their own. There are even some who have played the game before but refuse to reveal everything and just use the rookies as cannon fodder, distraction just so they can flank the enemy themselves. All that create a very aimless and seemingly pointless premise that leaves the average viewer at a complete disarray. And that is the beauty of it.

Imagine your average moe show that lacks an objective, other than to make you feel fuzzy inside with its easy going plotless stories. Gantz is probably the only anime that tries to do the exact reverse. You don’t understand the ulterior motives of this continual bloodshed yet you need to endure it. That actually works as means to think of stuff on your own and give your own interpretation of what is going on. So besides mindless action it was also a mystery that was asking from the viewer to solve it himself, without nothing be spelled for him. That of course can look as if the scriptwriter is too lazy to think of a story and just makes everything cryptic just to make it look cool. Sure, you can say he is. It also works fine because I was constantly thinking of possible reasons for all this mess.

The experienced eye can also figure out fast enough that everything is basically a social criticism of the modern way of life. The aliens in the story all represent various negative aspects of life, such as immigrants, NEETs and religious fanatics, all are in fact extensions of human folly that the average Joe needs to fight even if he doesn’t want to. Why? Well, because he is forced to do it, in the same way we are forced to spend decades in schools and workplaces. What is the ulterior motive of all that? Why, to survive in an industrialized world that cynically treats you as an expendable peon. There is no ulterior motive other than that. That is also what the show is all about, dressed with extreme doses of violence and sex. Because down to it, our most basic desires drive us no matter how idealistic we think we are and most hobbies, wars, studies, work hours end up being pointless time, existing just to keep us occupied. Even the dead can’t rest and are thrown to survive a second time in a perpetual on-going struggle for the most basic of all needs: Survival. The purpose is not to win but to stay alive. Indefinitely!

Even if you don’t think so deep, the show is still violent and sexual enough for you to just mindlessly stare at it… assuming the dreadful GONZO presentation doesn’t kill you first. It is exaggerating a lot in terms of gore and in depicting everybody as idiots and bastards as means to make you angry or disgusted with all that. And they do have some cool suits and weapons to break havoc if they ever manage to figure out how to use them properly. All that create potential for a numerous possible outcomes and it hardly feels it is predictable. I mean, in an average show you know early on how everything will end. The heroes will survive and beat the monsters and get married or something. Gantz is not like that since you don’t know who the main villains are. Plus, anyone can be killed at any given moment. It is its unexpected, violent, sexual formula that makes this anime extremely special.

Again, GONZO messed a lot at making all that clear and ended the show in a confusing and disappointing way. But beyond that, the production values are good and for once, the cold 3D models and the heartless music this company so much loves to ruin all its shows with for once worked nice since this is a show of pitiful people and no real goals.

Gantz is one of my favorite dark sci-fis and I gladly suggest it to everyone who likes this sort of themes. Just make sure to read the manga version as well, since it continues the story further ahead and offers far more material, as well as far more gore and sex.


And now for some excused scorings.

General Artwork 2/2 (well-made)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 2/2 (trippy)

Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 3/4 (not great but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)

Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 1/2 (erratic)
Complexity 2/2 (rich context)
Plausibility 1/2 (so-so)
Conclusion 1/2 (cheesy)

Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 2/2 (rather cheesy but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)

Historical Value 1/3 (still remembered by some as an interesting retro title)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of the very slow plot)
Memorability 4/4 (extremely violent/sexy to the point of forever remembering it)

If pacing and ending were better, this would be a blast.

VERDICT: 6.5/10

7/10 story
8/10 animation
7/10 sound
6/10 characters
6.5/10 overall
Abakus's avatar
Dec 22, 2014

If you think that the SAW-movies are excellent philososphical thinkpieces, that explore the base nature of man, then the Gantz Anime is for you.

The formula is true and tested:

Take a few normal people, throw them into a life or death situation, make vague comments about the survival of the fittest, lot's and lot's of gratuitous violence.

Where the manga at least tries to pretend it has a deeper plot, that has all gone out the window in the first 3 episodes of the anime, which makes the unfullfilling open ending come as no surprise.

Let's call it as it is: Gantz is pure shock value, with no substance to back it up.

2/10 story
8/10 animation
7/10 sound
2/10 characters
3/10 overall
FreddyCrab's avatar
Jan 11, 2012

Story: The story of Gantz is an interesting one. I will admit that. A group of people faced with death are abruptly thrust into a room with a large black orb called Gantz. These people are then charged with killing aliens, a deed what will not go unrewarded, as the person who gains the most points in doing so gets a prize. The first episode of this I found very interesting, I was hoping for people dying, limbs flying, everything what titles such as Higurashi and Elfen Lied had drawn me in with. However, I had two main issues with this series what ruined it for me, making me drop it so early on. 

Problem One: The gore? It wasn't human gore. It was all humans blowing weird green onion aliens apart. And to me, this wasn't very appealing. I like horror titles when humans are being brutally mudered in a multitude of ways. As sad as that sounds, aliens dying in brutal ways just didn't appeal to me- I just felt sorry for the poor things. This immediatelly killed my interest in this show, since a alien-killing series is not something I'd want to watch. If I watch horror, it has to be purely human horror.

Problem Two: The pornographic aspect to it. Straight from episode one the typical dumb big-breasted girl appears, stark naked in a group of men. Within two minutes of her appearance a man grabs her and tries to make her give him a blowjob- something I do NOT want to see. Then after she is saved by the only likeable character of the whole bunch, a dog comes up to her and gives her some nice oral sex. And the girl just sits there and takes it, giggling and slightly muttering ''!'' yet doing nothing and obviously enjoying it. She disgraced the female gender so much I have to say she sickens me to the point where I'd kill her if I go the chance. 

Animation: Animation in Gantz was very good, though I must admit I wasn't that keen on how all the people resembles REAL people as opposed to usual anime people. That ruined it a little for me.

Sound: I LOVE the Gantz opening. I can't remember the ending, but the music played in the actual show was very good too. It was creepy, spine-chilling and suited the overall show.

Characters:  Although interesting (It certainly was a unique change for the protagonist who you hear the story from to be a complete jerk) the amount of unbelievably despicable characters in contrast to the only one decent character was too strong. Out of the 15 people stuck in the room with Gantz, all were men who were cruel, abusive and thought badly of others. Even the few one of two of them what were alright turned psychotic by the end of killing just one alien. Only one girl was featured in the show which I also didn't like, and as aforementioned she was a complete twat who hardly deserves living **vents** D:< Kazuo was the only genuine amazing character, with a good heart and willingness to help his friends or anyone in need. However it infuriated me when the main guy would complain at how the stupid ditzy girl preferred Kazuo to him. Why he fails to see why Kazuo is the only mildly human character is beyond me- he was the only guy who wasn't planning to rape the girl every second.

Overall: I see why this is so popular, but the pornographic aspect and lack of human murder just took away all interest this held for me.

8/10 story
7.5/10 animation
8.5/10 sound
7.5/10 characters
7.5/10 overall