GANTZ is a unique anime to say the least. It makes me question a lot of things. I would say its seinen but it feels like it was aimed at adolescent boys. At first I hated it, being so shocked, but the story just kept on getting better. The second half has an amazing turn of events, I didn't see things coming. The story gets pretty intense. It is shockingly explicit, going beyond what I've seen in an anime. Elfen Leid was more reasonable than GANTZ and I loved Elfen Leid. After the first few episodes I was thinking a more graphic version of Kick-Ass. It grew on me, in a similar way that Elfen Lied seemed initially shallow, but later turned out to be awesome. There is excessive mature themes, including violence and gore on the level of Elfen Leid. I can kinda understand why some people would say this is like Elfen Lied, but I didn't agree. Elfen Lied had a different, more sensible atmosphere, while this anime is more gritty and could be an 80s Hollywood movie. But afer watching it all, especially the end, I'd say the comparison to Elfen Lied is fair, but this is different in many ways. Should you watch this? If you don't get easily offended and can look past bullshit for an interesting story, then go ahead. Or you could watch the more tasteful live action movie for less time and less offensive crap. Also, before you read this review, please note that I hate ecchi and any nudity and explicit content that is present for no valid reason.
For a 2004 anime the quality of the animation is shoddily bad. A real shame given the style of the anime is actually rather unique, complete with interesting camera angles and a slightly different style of character animations. At times I felt like this was a western animation, but after a while it sinks in that these characters are animated very similar to most other animes. As I mentioned, unique shots are used, the camera flicks around at different perspective, often giving a better view of the action. There is one other thing to talk about here. Portrayal of very graphic themes. Is the nudity done in a sensible and mature fashion? I'd argue it isn't. The first real scene was very similar to the start of the Kick-Ass movie, but going further with the nude fantasies. There are other ways to show that the main character is a hormonal pervert. But things go further, there's a dog that (ugh sorry for this) eats pussy. I'm sorry but that is appauling behaviour and I'd put that dog down if I were it's owner. Moving on to other things, the sexual abuse refers to attempted rape. In the first episode a Yakuza member tries to rape Kei Kishimoto. I'm not comfortable with such a subject matter myself, but I have overlooked it in the past in films and such and ended up enjoying the rest of those stories. Here it is arguably fine, just because of the context of the situation, it kinda makes sense and it's not just put there for shock value. There are relatively explicit sexual scenes, which in addition to the stuff, I've mentioned already, takes things too far. Then there is the sheer gore. Brains splattered all over a lot of things, the blood is quite normal. Theres even a bit where a guys eyes explode, ears pop and neck breaks, exploding heads, decapitation, etc. Personally, I deal with gore just fine, I'm a bit desesitised to it since it is an animation. Overall, the animation was just shocking due to the sexually vulgar and purile content.
The music is okay, but not to my taste. The intro song is a bit of a rap song, but nothing that sounds like music to my ears. The music during the anime itself doesn't seem to stand out too much, though its generally quite fast paced at times to match the action. The outro music is much better, but again, not so great that it would want to make me get the soundtrack. The anime is available in both English and Japanese. Surprisingly, the dub is fairly decent. If the main character sounds a tad like Greg Ayres, you aren't far off. The VA for Kei is actually Chris Ayres (the brother of Greg) and another major name in the dub business is Chris Patton, who does the voice of Joichiro Nichi, also did many voices including Greed from FMA, Asura from Soul Eater and even Tatsuhiro Sato from Welcome to the NHK, one of the earlier animes I watched and I feel nostalgic about. Funnily enough, Greg Ayres has a small cameo role as a very minor background character.
Kei Kurono is the typical perverted high-school student. So much so that, like at the start of Kick-Ass, he gets 'excited' during class fantasizing about his (young female) teacher and female classmates. He is somewhat selfish, though this anime seems to show that this is actually a trait shared by pretty much every human. He had a history of being a bit of a badass kid, so much so that his friend Masaru Kato looked up to him and wanted to be like him back when they were kids. Nowadays Kei is a perverted coward who can't stand up for himself like he once did and often cries, which is a bit weird for a teenager. Instead he is jealous of his friend for gaining the attention of the girl and he really wants to bang her, like any perverted adolescent would. To actually explain this character, he is rather shallow for the first few episodes, therefore a bit of a disappointing main character. But later on, this character becomes very interesting.
The more interesting character is Masaru Kato, Kei's old friend, therefore also a highschool student. This guy is the opposite of Kei in some ways, not a wimp, not a pervert, naturally buff and strong and he has a big sense of pacifism. He live with his younger brother at his aunts house, after his parents died. His aunt actually treats them like shit and his pacifism means he doesn't fight back. But of course so much shit happens to him in this anime, that he begins to question his philosophy. He seems perfect, but he isn't, in a realistic and well done way. He doesn't feel that violence and killing is the right answer and this gets him in harms way. This isn't kept to as religiously as you'd think however, while there are bits that could have viewers shouting at the screen for Masaru to act, there are other buts that will have us shocked and reconsider his personality. The best character in this anime, not simply one sided as he might appear to be.
Kei Kishimoto, a frequently naked big breasted high-school student. This immediately screamed terrible character, but then I got the backstory in later episodes. There is major bullshit in the lack of modesty with this character, she can't even defend herself from a snatch-licking dog. She also SPOILER< moves into Kei's place as his pet >SPOILER but this is also due to the intersting history and personality this character actually has. She isn't exactly psychologically stable, explaining some of her actions and her situation is a potentially controversial (Asian parents...) one. It's mentioned in the anime that she is reliant on other's too much and this is actually a fair point. She is infatuated with Masaru, despite the fact that Kei, the main character, is the one who wants to bang her most and gets the closest opportunity to, but she is able to control the situation there. If only she could do the same with the stupid dog.
There are various interesting side characters, like the douchebag Jouichiro Nishi, who knows what's going on and is a veteran of the whole situation. The biker character Tetsuo Nemoto is also interesting, this thug actually has a wife and baby in need of his support. There's also a suprising addition of a gay character and a stalker girl, who looks like the grudge girl (also said in the anime itself) stalking a pretty boy model. There's a martial artist Sei Sakuraoka who provides an interesting plot development with romance. Kei's techer is more than just a minor side character, especially towards the end and many more simple characters get surprisingly major roles throughout the story.
There is definitely a somewhat unique plot here, I've never seen anything like it and like Elfen Lied, it get's better ther further in the anime we get. Kei and his friend Masaru are killed when they are hit by a train and they are bought back by a mysterious sphere, the titular Gantz. There is a lot of gruesome deaths in this anime and they really aren't afraid to kill off characters, since despite the ambiguity of death in this anime, there is a legit death status and characters can die properly. They find that they have been put into a survival game where they must hunt down and kill alien creatures to stay alive.
There is much more to the plot than this, each character has their own agenda and side-story going on, Kei has his issues being a hormonal adolescent, Masaru must protect his brother and deal with his abusive aunt. The female Kei also lands in a very unique position, one where she has nobody to depend on. However, the overall plot is rather slow and certain arcs of the story take too long, in my opinion anyway.
But the second half is where it all happens. The anime takes many unexpected twists and turns, characters actually have some progression, despite the small time period during which this anime takes place. There are needed gaps in between the action, but I can't help but feel there is some filler in there in the first half. There are various mature themes depicted in this anime, though the manner in which this is done is questionable. The second half made me question my very own beliefs about the morality of many issues. Right now I want to list the many mature themes that were present in this anime like I did with Elfen Lied. There were many aspects of the story and things happened that made me shout WTF out loud for the neighbours to hear. However there are some very tense moments in the second half. The plot just gets so erratic, in a good way. I wouldn't say this is a spoiler, but the alien enemies get more and more challenging and difficult as the story progresses. And the final enemy, is the most difficult of all and it is the most interesting. I feel like this anime is trying to give some social commentary. The only downside to the story is the occasional bullshit and the initial slow pace.
This is one anime that gets much better in the second half. Gantz is not going to be everyone's cup of tea. The shocking vulgar content seems like it would appeal to teenagers who enjoy that sort of stuff, but to the ordinary person, may just put them off. I wasn't drinking for this one, I didn't think I'd need to. But I didn't like the manner and atmosphere with which some things were dealt with, especially with both the male and female Kei's. The story made this anime for me and for the interesting story alone, if you are an adult capable of looking past some terrible bullshit, this is a must watch. Just like Elfen Lied this is an anime that improves over the series and it also similarly depicts some mature themes and makes the viewer think.
Family-friendliness Rating: 5/5 The absurdity of this anime (I'd give it higher if possible)... it goes places where no other anime does, not even Elfen Lied (lower is better)
Overall Rating: 7.5/10 (higher is better)
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.
ANIME MINOR JEWELS SERIES
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.
ART SECTION: 8/10
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)
SOUND SECTION: 7/10
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)
STORY SECTION: 7/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 1/2 (erratic)
Complexity 2/2 (rich context)
Plausibility 1/2 (so-so)
Conclusion 1/2 (cheesy)
CHARACTER SECTION: 6/10
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)
VALUE SECTION: 6/10
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)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 5/10
If pacing and ending were better, this would be a blast.
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.