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GANTZ Review

by: sothis
June 15, 2006

story 8.5/10

GANTZ screenshot 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.

animation 8.5/10

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.

sound 9/10

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.

characters 10/10

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.

overall 9/10

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.

Anime Info

Much to the annoyance of Kei, he and his childhood friend Katou have died, having been torn apart by a train. But rather than finding themselves at the gates of heaven, the duo materialize in a room full of strangers and a giant black sphere known as GANTZ. As if dying once wasn’t bad enough, the occupants of the room are then forced to embark on dangerous missions to kill strange aliens; missions that very few return from. Now, Kei, Katou, and a well-endowed friend must fight for their freedom with an arsenal of guns, high powered suits, and a very low chance of survival.

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About the Author

sothis's avatar

sothis

My fav genres include sci fi and horror, but you'll find a lot of obscure reviews from me too, given I watch a ton to add to the database. My new reviews are written a lot better than my old ones, so when in doubt, sort by date! ^_^ Enjoy, and I welcome any and all feedback.

More Reviews

comments

MrAnime avatar MrAnime
Mar 5, 2012

I've finshed watching this today, I got to say... This one surprised me.

The story really kept me watching the series until the end.

I mean, WOW.

Deadmatter avatar Deadmatter
Sep 24, 2011

meh i actually loved elfin lied, but i just couldn't stand this. the anime has ALOT of loose ends and it doesnt seem to have much of a story in my opinion. the ending also was totally off the wall and made no sense "to the actually story that is"

NoirTheElitist avatar NoirTheElitist
Jun 14, 2011

Ecchi will get worse, eh? *sighs*

I agree with most of it (even if I'm still on episode 12) apart from Kei's (guy) portrait. His rageful comments, his whines and even his boners makes me laugh, somehow.

griffioen avatar griffioen
Apr 19, 2011

I would have given the story a 7 cuz the end is really confusing, currently reading the manga cuz a lot of people say its better. well anyway GANTZ was still awesome untill the last mission where kurono is the alien

NoCheerios avatar NoCheerios
Jan 17, 2011

OMG THANK YOU most reviews of Gantz are underrated because dey no liek teh goar, which pissed me off. Sure, you can say that YOU thought the gore and sex made the show sucks, but they usually neglect to say that it's awesome assuming you can get past that :/

Thanks :)

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