While waiting to catch a subway train home from school, 16-year-old
Kei Kurono sees an old childhood friend, Masaru Kato, on the
railway platform. Suddenly, a drunken homeless man falls on
to the tracks. Despite the number of witnesses who could help,
only Kato goes to his aid. Recognising his former friend,
Kato calls for Kurono's assistance in rescuing the man. Together
they manage to get the man to safety, but in doing so they
are hit by an incoming express train and killed instantly.
Seconds later, with no idea of how it has happened, Kurono
and Kato find themselves in an unfurnished apartment in Tokyo
in the company of several strangers, a dog and a large, black
spherical object they are told is the Gantz...
on Hiroya Oku's comic, originally serialised in the weekly
magazine, Young Jump, Gantz is the controversial
anime series that, even in its heavily censored TV broadcast
version, shocked Japan with its splatter-punk violence, explicit
profanity, stark eroticism and unerring tendency to challenge
the limits of acceptability for a primetime animated TV show.
first disc in this collection contains the first four episodes
in the series and neatly introduces viewers to the world of
Gantz. As our two heroes are killed, they suddenly
find themselves in a room with a number of other people. All
of these people have recently died and have been given a second
lease of life, after being resurrected by the Gantz. As Kurono
and Kato are trying to come to terms with their situation,
they witness the transference to the room of a naked girl,
the victim of an apparent suicide. It is soon revealed that
a new life comes at a price. Their reprieve from death's clutches
is dependent upon one thing - to remain alive they must follow
the Gantz's instructions to seek out and destroy alien life
forms known to be hiding on earth. Failure to comply will
result in a second, permanent death.
is bound to be compared to The Matrix, but that is
an insult to the intelligent writing behind this animated
is certainly not the sort of Japanese animation I remember
from my youth. Gantz is a hard hitting, adult-based
series which sets out to entertain and shock the viewer. And
it works - on both counts. The series is part shocking (there
is a rather harrowing attempted rape scene as well as the
rather graphic death scene of Kurono and Kato), part humorous
(Kurono's voice-over is amusingly detached as his body is
torn apart, and his constant erection problems are laugh out
loud funny) and part social commentary (the thoughts of all
the individuals on the subway platform in the first episode
illustrates what a cold way most of us live our lives).
include the opening and closing credits without the rolling
credits, and an interview with director Ichiroh Itano and
Daisuke Namikawa (who voices Kurono on the original Japanese
two features episodes 5-8. 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
I loved about the four episodes on this collection was the
fact that the writers are not afraid to shift pace as the
story progresses. The first four episodes thrust viewers into
Gantz's messed up universe without leaving them with any space
to breath. On disc two 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 episodes progress.
5, 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 attacks
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.
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.
6, 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.
7, We're After You, sees Masaru and his brother have
a serious run in with their aunt, who is a bit of a bully.
They've lived with her since their parents were killed. She
makes 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.
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 underground train 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
8, Uh-oh!, sees Kishimoto reveal to Kurono that she
is in love with someone... and the only reason she is continuing
with Gantz is so that one day she will be able to make her
feelings known. 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
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...
are plenty of amusing elements to these episodes. Kurono is
infatuated with Kishimoto's breasts is. 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. 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 dead boys are.
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 quiet a soundtrack); and some
trailers for other releases.
to disc three, and the violence erupts as the second game
not only pits the resurrected
against aliens, but against each other as well. As the new
group of players fight amongst themselves, a newer and deadlier
alien menace is thrown against them. Against the sonic screams
and ever increasing numbers of their new opponents, the enhanced
power suits and weapons provided by the Gantz are no guarantee
of survival... but for the unsuited Kurono the likelihood
of survival is almost non-existent.
9, I'll Kill You Without a Moment's Hesitation, opens
in the Gantz room. Kei is starting to panic because he realises
he's left his suit at home. Everything is starting to go pear
shaped - the bikers are not taking the idea of Gantz seriously,
and as a consequence are refusing to put on their suits. But
when Kishimoto goes into the hallway to change, several of
the bikers follow her so they can spy on her as she gets undressed.
As Kato tries to keep order and get everyone to change, Nishi
tells them all that they are not a group, and that they won't
all be coming back from the game. He states that Kei is as
good as dead without his suit, Grandma and Ryota are not likely
to make it back alive, and that the bikers are society's rubbish.
Kosuke, one of the bikers fires his gun at Nishi. When nothing
happens Nishi fires at Kosuke, who's head promptly explodes.
Then Gantz sends them out into another game.
10, Yuzo?, and Kei materialises into the path of his
target, the Suzuki Seijin alien. He has the chance to shoot
it in the back, but when he realises it has bones he can't
bring himself to pull the trigger. The alien keeps saying
"Yuzo" over and over again. Kei runs for his life
and soon runs into the rest of the gamers. Nishi seems to
be the only one who is up for trying to complete their mission.
For some reason, the rest of them stand on a bridge and argue
while Nishi struggles with the alien. Eventually, after much
deliberation and pointless arguing Kato goes to help Nishi.
11, He Can't Shoot, sees Kato attempting to kill the
Suzuki alien, while the rest of the gamers watch on and continue
to argue. Nishi has been badly injured, in fact it looks as
though he may not survive for much longer. But if he can stay
alive until the game is completed, he knows he will return
to the Gantz room as good as new. Kei watches from the bridge,
knowing that Kato won't shoot no matter how bad things get.
Most of the other gamers have decided to make their way home,
and leave the battle behind. But they are not aware that if
they leave the gaming area they will be killed. Eventually
the Suzuki alien is destroyed, but for some reason the gamers
remain in the battle arena. They soon realise that there is
more than one alien to destroy and that they can't return
until they have killed all of them.
Kato, You Wait Here,
and Kato explains that they must all work together if they
are to have any chance of getting out of the game alive. They
realise that there is at least one other alien that needs
to be dispatched. Kato, Kishimoto, and Hojo go after the alien
that they can see on their tracker, while the rest of the
group go looking for the other gamers who have wandered off
(they need to warn them about not stepping outside the gaming
zone). Kei's group eventually follow the tracker to a large
warehouse, which seems to be filled with aliens. But when
Kei enters the building things seem to be worse than they'd
feared. Not only are there a whole gang of Suzuki aliens,
but there is also a huge boss alien too.
the fantastic episodes that we were presented with on disc
one and two of this collection, I was
a little disappointed by this disc.
Sadly the writing was not as tight as in previous episodes
and as a consequence this disc seemed to drag a little. Not
only that, but I was confused (that's not difficult these
days) by a number of things:
why after spending previous episodes setting Nishi up as a
cold and mysterious character did they half-heartedly attempt
to make us feel sorry for him. It felt out of place and didn't
work. Maybe if they'd focused on the fact that Nishi was a
normal kid before Gantz had hardened him, then we'd have felt
for him, but all you end up doing is not caring whether he
is going to survive or die. Equally, the grandma and grandson
characters are pretty pointless. This is a shame, because
their introductions and original deaths showed promise of
possible interesting characterisation. Sadly what we get is
a rather two dimensional spoilt brat and his doting grandmother
cluttering up the scenes.
I couldn't work out why everyone spent ages arguing on the
bridge when they should be killing the alien. And as for Kato's
inability to fire his gun... He's just seen one of his team's
eyes and eardrums explode due to the alien's attack. I'm sorry,
but however much of a pacifist you are I'm sure that you could
pull a trigger with the threat of that happening to you hanging
over your head.
include textless opening and closing titles, Japanese TV spots
(an interesting collection of Japanese TV ads for the DVD
release); and trailers for other anime releases.
four and as Kato struggles to maintain control, Kishimoto
realises that with her new body comes a new hope. Unfortunately,
before she can act on those options, the second game begins.
As a new group of players is initiated into the world of the
sphere, the survivors of the first game are confronted with
an entirely different breed of opponent... one that's smarter,
more aggressive and more organised... and that's before the
real game even starts.
episode 13, Please Die, Kurono stumbles into a room
where the final boss alien is hiding out. For some reason
aliens surround Kurono and treat him like a friend, that is
until he accidentally steps on one of the little chicks that
is wandering around. Suddenly the aliens turn nasty, and the
boss alien suddenly notices the intruder. Kurono opens fire,
which results in the building collapsing and luckily saves
him from certain doom. While Kurono managed to escape, so
does the boss alien - who picks up Kurono and soars high into
the sky. With time running out for them to complete the "game",
how can Kurono kill the last boss in time?
14, Goodbye, sees everyone returned to the real world
after a successful mission - that is all those that survived.
After a failed attempt at talking Kato into allowing her to
return home with him, Kishimoto goes back to Kurono's house.
Returning to school, Kurono starts to daydream about Kishimoto
- getting an erection in the process - much to his embarrassment
and the classes amusement. Meanwhile, Kishimoto is hanging
around a book shop when she spots a beautiful girl called
Sei Sakuraoka. Kato
returns home to find his aunt mistreating his younger brother,
Ayuma. After a confrontation Kato and his brother are kicked
out. But Kato was prepared for this and has already found
a flat to rent. Back at Kurono's flat, Kishimoto is still
clueless as to why her and Kurono keep falling out. After
another night of arguing she decides to leave.
15, I Wanna Be There Now, and Kurono regrets arguing
with Kishimoto. Before long everyone is transported back into
the Gantz room. However, this time there is another bunch
of strangers awaiting their fate. Amongst the newcomers is
Sakuraoka, the girl that Kishimoto saw earlier, and a loud
mouthed Buddhist priest
who explains to everyone that they are in limbo, waiting to
find out if they will be going to Heaven or Hell. Trying to
stay out of Kishimoto's way, Kurono heads out into the hall.
Sakuraoka follows him and the two start to chat. Kurono brazenly
asks her if she will have sex with him. Although surprised,
she agrees. While they are in the middle of making love Kishimoto
walks in on them.
episode 16, I Will Do It, the priest convinces the
new gamers that Kato is a demon, but then they are all transported
into the next game. Outside a Buddhist temple, the tracking
device tells them that their prey is inside. Someone asks
whether the two large statues outside the temple are aliens
and so they decide to scan them and discover that they display
life signs. But before anyone one can do anything both statues
come to life.
include interview with creator Hiroya Oku and actress Chiaki
Kuriyama; interview with director Ichiro Itano and CG director
Yashurio Kato; clean opening and closing titles; trailer for
the Gantz console game; and trailers for other anime
DVD releases. Although I seriously suggest that you wait until
you've watched all the DVDs before you watch the interview
with Hiroya Oku and Chiaki Kuriyama. There is a major plot
development spoilt for those that haven't already read the
five and this
time, they thought they were ready for anything the Gantz
could throw at them. They were wrong. The third horrifying
game rips into the resurrectees, decimating their ranks as
wave after wave of deadly opponents exact their bloody toll.
No one is spared, no one is safe, and for any of the players
to survive, one of their number will have to make the ultimate
sacrifice. And even then, it may all be for nothing.
very little point in me breaking down the this disc into episodes
- because to be quite honest very little happens.
17-20: Confronted by the red and green giant statues, the
team have to fight for their lives. And when a few, smaller
statues come to life, several of the unsuited players realise
that they can beat them without any problem. Once
that threat is over a number of other statues come to life
- including a big bad boss that seems impossible to kill.
Then, just when they think everything is going to end well,
tragedy strikes and all of a sudden their world is turned
that, in a nutshell, is it. In all honesty these four episodes
could easily have been spread over two parts. One of the biggest
problems (and I've mentioned this before) is the fact that
when confronted by a deadly enemy, or the need to act quickly
to save one of their team, all they do is stand around talking
rubbish or shouting at each other.
are, as ever, thin on the ground. All we get is a Gantz
music video; textless opening and closing titles and some
opens with episode 21, Big Brother? In this episode
the team is still attempting to kill all of the aliens before
the time runs out. But with many amongst them already dead,
will they be able to kill the remaining statues in time?
Episode 22, Don't Ever Say That Again!, and having
barely survived the last mission, Kurono goes back home. But
it's not long before he is sucked back into the Gantz room.
This time the players include a bookshop clerk, his teacher,
and the two kids who have been seen in previous episodes killing
tramps. Just why has Gantz brought a number of people that
Kurono knows into the new game?
23, Kurono Alien, and just when Kurono thought it couldn't
get any worse, Gantz throws a spanner in the works. Kurono's
challenge seems impossible now. To survive he must kill...
himself. But, with the other gamers after him, his attempts
to stay alive may not be as easy as he thinks.
include clean opening and closing credits as well as an interview
with cast and crew. Thankfully this featurette warns viewers
that it contains spoilers on the end of the series.
Disc seven and the fragile bonds that hold the survivors
together are frayed to breaking point, but in Gantz's game,
survival is impossible without a warm body guarding your back.
As the Gantz reaches into the "real" world and a fresh batch
of resurrectees are offered up on the altar of slaughter,
Kurono finds himself partnered with a new lady killer. If
looks could kill, he would have died a second time, but will
she be his salvation or his death?
final disc sees everything come to a head. In the show's three
remaining episodes, Kurono must first convince his fellow
gamers that he is not the alien threat that they have to dispose
of... as well as convincing his teacher that he didn't have
the hots for her in school.
24, No Labyrinth is Inescapable, and Kurono finally
manages to convince the other players that the two tramp killers
are total nut jobs - that they will kill anyone that stands
in their way. Some of the team still need some proof that
the two psychos are really dangerous and this proves a fatal
mistake as it allows them the chance to kill off a few of
the competition. It soon becomes obvious that the tramp killers
intend to kill everyone else in order that they can survive
Episode 25, Let's All Go Back Alive, and working together,
the team finally track down the tramp hunters, who have split
up. The youngest of the two pleads for forgiveness (once again)
blaming his partner for everything. Surely no one will fall
for that old trick?
26, Please Live, and the pressure is on for Kurono
and the others to survive the game. With only minutes left,
it looks like there will be no winners. How can Kurono have
come so far only to be beaten at the final hurdle?
volume, far from wrapping things up neatly, leaves everything
hanging in the air. It's down to the viewer to decide what
they think happens at the end and whether the conclusion is
a cop out or an ingenious way of leaving us wanting more.
Because of this, the final episode may disappoint some viewers
- although personally I found it to be a refreshing change
from the norm.
as in previous episodes, there is a little too much emphasis
on the characters screaming and shouting at one another -
which can be rather distracting.
include The Secret Behind the Impeccable Images of Gantz
(16 min featurette that goes behind the scenes at the animation
studio); DVD Special Feature Collection (16 min featurette
that collects together TV spots and interviews with the cast
I found the final three episodes to be a fitting conclusion
to this entertaining series - although I'm sure it won't be
to everyone's liking.
final point I wanted to make was about the incredible 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
originally release on DVD between 2005-2006 as individual
discs, this collection would have set you back almost £140.
The fact that you can now pick up all the episodes for £60
should be all the reason you need to purchase this collection.