You know... I'm getting sick of people telling me to watch shows that are supposedly violent and gory, only to get 10-15 minutes' worth of nothing happening followed by 3-5 minutes' worth of actual blood, and even then... it's just blood. No severed limbs, no entrails spewing forth after an abdomen gets sliced open, no severed heads. no exploding brains, none of that good shit. Although... I think I might have been spoiled by Gantz. I remember watching this with two of my other in middle school back in 2006/2007 and we just couldn't take our eyes away from all of the carnage and nudity. Suffice it to say... nothing has ever quite lived up to how intense Gantz gets... well save for Hellsing Ultimate and what little I've seen of Hokuto no Ken and even then... I find myself wanting more.
My verdict: Gantz is 100% straight-up tasteless. Don't think that you can handle it just because you can handle the blood in Attack on Titan, Another, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, or even Tokyo Ghoul. If you're seriously looking for a bloodbath complete with entrails and a whole lot of nudity, by all means give Gantz a shot (just remember to carry a barf bag if you've got a weak stomach). As far as alternate recommendations go, well... we've got:
- Elfen Lied
- Hellsing Ultimate
- Hokuto no Ken
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
- Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
- Samurai Jack
STORY (5/10): Your mileage may vary... significantly.
I'm not gonna lie, Gantz has an AWESOME premise. Instead of fighting humans, a bunch of dead people are trapped in a pseudo-purgatory where they're forced to fight aliens and other such nasties, lest they die for real. That pretty much gives the writers and the artists to come up with the most fucked up abominations possible and then force the characters into gruesome battles where there's ALWAYS going to be a casualty or two waiting to happen (and the best part is that characters we think will survive are just as expendable as the extras). Of course, given this sort of "battle royale" theme we've got going on... it's only natural for the story to take a back seat to all of the intense action that we have going on. This is also the case with shows such as Mirai Nikki and Deadman Wonderland.
It also doesn't help that the story loses quite a few points when it comes down to the execution. For one thing, you'd think that such a short season length would mean that every episode would be chock full of mind-numbing bloody fights and/or hot chicks with huge knockers, right? Well... you'd be mistaken. See, the most annoying thing about Gantz is the fact that it a ridiculously long amount of time for ANY of the characters to make a decision in battle. You know... it was tolerable within the first half of the show, given that the characters were still getting accustomed to their new lives as alien hunters but after episode 6/7, it just gets REALLY annoying. Imagine that scene from Attack on Titan where the Survey Corps were being chased by the Female Titan and Eren has to make the choice to either transform or let the Survey Corps handle it extended over 10 minutes, you'll have a good idea of how irritating Gantz can get.
Forget the fact that there's a ruthlessly absurd amount of gore and nudity present in the show, you already know that Gantz is 100% tasteless so that should be the least of your worries. What will really make or break the show for you is how well you can handle the slow pace. I was able to handle it, but I had to watch almost half the season in one sitting before I felt satisfied. Some people however might not have that much patience, especially given the tasteless nature of the show on the whole along with some of the problems that Gantz has with its animation (more on that later).
CHARACTERS (4/10): Unlikeable, stupid, yet entertaining to watch.
The vast majority of characters in Gantz are unlikeable and stupid like the cast of Elfen Lied (and for similar reasons too). It really boils down to this season being 13 episodes long and that annoyingly slow pace hindering character development but hey, this is a show whose main draw is hardcore violence, excessive amounts of gore, and of course nudity. You seriously want to come into a show like that with hopes of well-developed characters? Now, the biggest strength that the show has when it comes down to the characters is that we never know who's going to die. Okay well... that's true and false. There's always going to be a few characters in the show whose only purpose is to become gore fodder, but characters that you'd think will survive are at just as big a risk of dying as anyone else (this is more evident in the second season than the first). So, to make things easy on myself I'm only going to cover Kei Kurono, Masaru Kato, and Kei Kishimoto.
Kei Kurono is your typical high school student. I don't mean "typical" like in a slice-of-life anime, I mean "typical" in a real-world sense. When you're a guy in high school, chances are that you'll probably end up having rather... lecherous thoughts from time to time. Of course there's always people who take shit to the next level and here we have Kurono. This is a high school student who has nothing but sex on his mind 24/7. Like Gigguk said in his video review of the show, the average person thinks about sex every 7 seconds, but for Kei that figure seems more like every 0.5 seconds. As for the other 0.5 seconds, he's thinking about how to get sex. Indeed, the scene that introduces us to him has the guy have a daydream about all the girls (including his teacher) completely naked only to be called out by one of his classmates for having a boner in the middle of class. Lovely. Suffice it to say, his "sexual frustration" (if you want to call it that) is pretty much the driving force behind the events of the story. Every time he's out to fight an alien tasked for the team to kill by the Gantz sphere, Kurono pretty much intends to prove that he's the most badass one out there and that nobody will be taunting him in the foreseeable future. So whenever he's out fighting an alien (or anyone for that matter), chances are that you're going to be entertained in some way or another.
Masaru Kato is Kurono's childhood friend and for lack of better words... a complete and total bitch. I swear, this guy's calling card seems to be getting in the way of all the intense action just to say "STOP!!! ALIENS HAVE FEELINGS TOO!!!" despite the fact that half the aliens on the show are bloodthirsty maniacs who just slaughtered all of the team members that we don't care about. Well... that's not entirely true, because he apparently has no qualms with strangling someone who's about to commit rape to death. He's also the world's biggest dumbass because he's the reason why they both ended up in their current predicament (instead of climbing a 2-foot wall, they decide to run from the train... and it's an express so of course, death). Yeah... there are moments where he gets cut up REALLY bad and it's just SOOOO cathartic to the point where I'm actually applauding.
Finally, we have Kei Kishimoto... or as I like to call her: "Gwen Gazongas." She serves one purpose only: abusive fan service. I'm not even joking about that, because she's first introduced by being teleported into the room with the Gantz sphere unconscious and completely nude. Shortly thereafter, the following events transpire: Kurono makes out with her unconscious body, one of the people inside the room takes her into the back so that he can rape her, and then a dog begins to eat her out while Kato is strangling the would-be rapist. Yeah... and all of this happens in the first episode. Lovely. Suffice it to say, Gantz is NOT a show made with the feminist in mind. I'd go on about how unnecessary she is, but let's face it: if all of that shit happens to one girl in the first episode of an anime, that pretty much speaks for itself.
ART/ANIMATION (5/10): Why Gonzo? Why not Madhouse, Production I.G, Sunrise, Bones, A-1 Pictures, or Studio Deen?
Art-wise, it's fairly close to the manga. The greatest thing about the Gantz manga is the fact that almost everything has a lot of detail put into it: fight scenes are sickeningly gruesome, fan service appeals to the lecherous pervert within, and of course the aliens that the team ends up fighting look like something out of a demented artist's nightmares (in other words, awesome). The anime doesn't have nearly as much detail put into everything, but it's still pretty damn good for what it does.
Unfortunately, this anime was produced by Gonzo... and as such, the two problems normally associated with animation coming out of Gonzo are applied here in full force:
1) Animation quality varies wildly throughout every episode
This sort of ties in with the second problem, given that CGI costs a lot of money to begin with and as a result, the actual animation of the show can get downright lazy in an attempt to preserve the CGI budget. Half the time, it seems like they don't even bother to animate the mouth movements whenever a character's talking or at least provide an indicator as to whether or not what's being said is inside a character's head. At the same time, there are moments when the animation quality is like something straight out of Attack on Titan or Hellsing Ultimate but those moments were so erratic in appearance. It's a safe bet to say that Gonzo is NOT good at providing some sort of middle ground.
2) Horrible CGI
This is pretty much Gonzo's signature. Unlike other studios such as Production I.G, Gonzo has this irritating habit of trying to blend 2D animation with 3D CGI, not realising that they mix like oil and water. The CGI sticks out even more than a morbidly obese man in LA Fitness and is animated like stop-motion on some occasions. It's like Gonzo does this shit on purpose, because this problem even extends into some of their GOOD shows (i.e. Trinity Blood). To get a good feel as to how the CGI is used in Gantz, just watch the OP. It gets to the point where the environments are sometimes completely rendered in CG and we just have a 2D sprite of Kurono running away from a 2D sprite of an alien or whatever. Whatever happened to prioritising?
SOUND (7/10): Amusing dub, disappointingly average OST
The OST for Gantz is unfortunately nothing special which is quite a shame. It does what it does well enough, I suppose but there wasn't any track that really stood out and grabbed my attention. The ED track is nothing special, but I'm quite fond of the OP track though (if only for the bad rapping with Engrish set over cheesy guitar riffs). As for the dub of Gantz, it's actually quite amusing. There's no shortage of swearing and the ADR crew actually did a good job here compared to when ADV dubbed Elfen Lied. Gantz is a show that was pretty much meant to be watched in dub, considering the fact that this show is raunchy as all fuck, so you might as well watch it in English so you can get the full experience.
ENJOYMENT (9/10): Now listen, YO!
I did end up watching this anime back in 2006/2007, so there was that sort of nostalgia factor kicking in when I think about the Gantz anime. However, upon re-watching it... I still enjoy it but for slightly different reasons. I enjoyed the Gantz anime for the same reasons I enjoyed Elfen Lied: it's 100% straight-up raunchy, but it pulls NO punches whatsoever unlike Elfen Lied. I was never able to look away from the screen at all because there was always something there to keep my attention. I only ever lost interest whenever an episode reached that point where it was starting to drag on, but once it got back on track... I was hooked again.
As for how much other people would enjoy Gantz, it would really depend on what kind of a person you are. Like I mentioned before, Gantz is 100% straight-up tasteless and has almost no morals to speak of. There's a shitload of violence, excessive amounts of gore, no shortage of full-frontal nudity, and enough swearing to turn a swear jar into a pension fund if you're watching the show dubbed. If you're old enough, mature enough, and/or just plain stupid enough to look past these things, chances are that you'll get a lot out of this show. Otherwise, go back to your Another and Attack on Titan if you want a whole lot of blood and not much else.
OVERALL (6/10): Passable
On the whole, Gantz is a horrible adaptation but it's certainly one of the more enjoyable ones. It's also one of the only titles ADV ever released where almost everything on the box is 100% true. This IS the series that shocked Japan for a reason. It's such a shame that Gonzo was the one that had to produce the Gantz adaptation, because I'm pretty sure that another company like Madhouse, Production I.G, or even Arms would've done a MUCH better job with the animation because as far as I can tell, that's pretty much the biggest flaw that Gantz has... you know, outside of being the most tasteless and obscene thing in the history of anime/manga. read more