DVD
Gantz
Volume 2 - Aftershocks

Starring (voice): Daisuke Namikawa, Masashi Osato, Hitomi Nabatame
MVM
RRP: 19.99
MVD 2107
Certificate: 15
Available 09 January 2006


The first game is over but will the horrors committed be forever burned into the souls of those who remain "alive"? As new shocking developments rip the survivors' "real" worlds to shreds, the sins of the flesh grow and spread, festering until the line between good and evil ceases to exist. In a world where the laws of life and death have been overturned, what other forbidden passions remain?...

Aftershocks sees the second volume of Gantz episodes to be released by MVW. What I loved about the four episodes on this collection was the fact that the writers are not afraid to shift pace as teh story progresses. Volume 1 thrust viewers into Gantz's messed up universe without leaving them with any space to breath. In Volume 2 we get to learn a lot more about the background of the characters without the writers feeling the need to quickly set out on another Gantz mission immediately. This helps to not only build up a relationship with the main characters, but also builds tension as to when Gantz will call them back. Also in this collection random characters seem to keep cropping up for no real reason - there's a spoilt child and his doting grandmother, a male model and his stalker, and a gang of bikers - but worry not their appearance isn't there just to confuse you... every thing is made clear as the epsidoes progress.

That Means at the Time... opens with the mysterious tooth collecting bully beating up a man for reasons not yet known. It later transpires that this juvenile thug beats up anyone that fails to pay protection money to another member of his gang and that he is currently beating up the school's karate instructor because he dared to challenge him and his gang for picking on his karate students.

Back in the Gantz room, one of the seasoned players of the cruel game explains to the survivors that they are fax copies of their real selves and that they are free to return home. However, they must not talk of Gantz or their experiences. Kurono goes back to school, Masaru goes back to looking after his younger brother, but Kishimoto cannot go home as her real body wasn't destroyed (Kurono and Masaru's bodies where totally torn apart by the tube that ran them down, and no one knows who the two mystery school boys are that were killed) in fact she survived her suicide attempt. This now means that Kishimoto has nowhere to stay - she can't really go home and explain to her family why there are two copies of herself.

Alright sees Kishimoto turn up at Kurono's front door and ask to stay with him. Kurono has the hots for Kishimoto (well, for her huge breasts) and agrees to take her in on the off chance that she will sleep with him. And he really thinks his luck is in when he realises that she'll have to share his single bed. But, just as he's managing to get somewhere (in his eyes) she starts telling him about her self abusive past and the fact that her real body is still alive.

We're After You sees Masaru and his brother have a serious run in with their aunt - who is a bit of a bully - who they live with after their parent's were killed. She has made them sit on the floor without an evening meal while she and her two young sons stuff their faces. The reason they are banished from the table is because Masaru's younger brother accidentally got his aunt's carpet a little dirty.

Meanwhile Kurono and Kishimoto are out shopping for supplies, but things start to take a turn for the worse when the shop assistant offers to let them take the groceries home for free if they can direct her to the right platform for a journey she wants to make. Startled by such a bizarre request, Kurono and Kishimoto make a run for it. Later, back at his house Kurono reflects on the odd event and comes to the conclusion that Gantz is gearing up to transport them in for another game. He insists that Kishimoto tries on her gaming costume as it is her best chance of survival should they suddenly find themselves in the Gantz room. However, does he have other motives than Kishimoto's well being? Could it be that he can't wait to see her huge chest crammed into that tight black latex outfit? Yep, it looks like Kurono is perving after large breasted women again.

Uh-oh! sees Kishimoto reveal to Kurono that she is in love with someone... and she is keeping going for this special someone. Everything points to this special person being Kurono. Could his luck finally have changed? Has the girl that he's been lusting after since he met her, finally fallen for him?

Gantz also decides that it's time to bring back the survivors from the last game as well as a few new recruits to track down and kill another alien being...

There are plenty of amusing elements to these episodes. Kurono's large breast fixation could be his downfall. Two items were left at the scene of Kurono and Masaru's messy underground train accident. Masaru left a plastic umbrella with initials engraved on it, while Kurono left a specialist porno mag that caters for those that like top heavy girls. The police seem intent on tracking down the owners of these items in order to find out who the two boys were.

Kurono's infatuation with Kishimoto's breasts is also amusing. He's totally blinded by them and convinced that she will fall for him - especially after she asks him to keep her in his house like a pet.

Extras on this disc include textless opening and closing titles (as with the last volume); 2 x 18 minute Q&As with the voice actors (the second one has too quite a soundtrack); and some trailers for other releases.

This is one release that I am now starting to eagerly anticipate every couple of months. The writing is tight and the acting is fantastic. I also love the music. The opening track (Rip Slyme's Super Shooter) rolls around your head for ages and I can't think of a better way to close each episode than with Bonnie Pink's Last Kiss power ballad. As I mentioned earlier the writers aren't afraid to shift pace constantly. This could have been a mindless action packed series where every episode featured a new Gantz mission. Thankfully that's not the case and there is a level of intelligent writing that makes the viewer really care for the characters.

Without a doubt one of the best Japanese animated series currently in production.

Darren Rea

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£14.99 (Amazon.co.uk)
   
£16.99 (Moviemail-online.co.uk)

All prices correct at time of going to press.