Gantz

Recently a live-action version of the manga/anime Gantz has been released. Over the past month or so I’ve been watching the anime so that I could go see the movie and have some idea of what’s going on. To be honest, I rather like both the main actors in the movie, which was the main inspiration for my wanting to see it.

While I wanted to read the manga version, I figured I would not have the time to finish it before seeing the movie. Instead I watched the anime in its entirety. While of course it has all the violence and sex anyone ever needs to keep interest in it, I thought the deeper ideas in it were really interesting. Aside from the action I felt that the anime took a look into the ways in which different people view life.

Let me explain really quick with a synopsis. Basically, our two main characters get hit by a train in the subway. When they die they’re sent to this room with other people who have died by various methods. When they’re all gathered this strange being, Gantz, tells them that he shall use their new lives as he likes. They are to go out and hunt aliens. After each alien is captured or killed, those who have done the capturing or killing get points. Once a person reaches 100 points they are allowed to have their life back.

The exploration of various people’s various views of life is accomplished in two ways. One is the willingness or lack thereof to help their fellow humans during the fights. The other is the eagerness or lack thereof to kill the aliens. For example, the main character, a high school kid with a fairly normal upbringing, is at first hesitant to kill but goes through a cycle of becoming desensitized, then eventually realizing that he wants nothing more than to protect everyone and bring them home together. This is in contrast to the other leading character, another high school student who is the sole guardian of his younger brother. His outlook is purely conserving life as much as he can. Then you have gangsters who are willing to shoot anything or anyone who gets in their way, salarymen and politicians who want nothing to do with the whole process, suicidal girls who only seem to look out for those they care for, etc. It’s an interesting look at the value of life with tons of action in between.

The movie, as most movie versions are, was disappointing to me. Rather than delving into the issue of the value of life, it focused upon the more cliche relationship between the characters, i.e. brotherly love between the two main characters, reluctant camaraderie between those stuck in a bad situation, things like that.

And of course a lot of the action scenes were shortened or changed in the interest of time, or nearly-impossible special effects in the case of a Shiva statue that is supposed to throw acid. My favorite part was cut way short. It’s my favorite because the aliens send chills down my spine – I like things that have the ability to scare me a bit. The best description of them was given by my friend: “It’s like Astroboy on crack!” There were supposed to be swarms of them, but they cut it down to one. No extra chills for me.

Of course it’s intended to be a serious movie, but us gaijin laughed every now and then at things that seemed cheesy. I bet the Japanese people in the theater hated us. We’re sorry.

Even though we laughed every now and then, it was an overall entertaining watch. I don’t know that I can quite recommend it. It’s just one of those movies that is fun to look at and not have to think so much about. It’s not that I enjoyed it just because I’m a fan of Matsuyama Kenichi and Nino and whoever played the bratty high school kid, either. The guy who went with us also enjoyed it!

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~ by megumiwasframed on February 20, 2011.

One Response to “Gantz”

  1. i watch GANTZ movie b4 read its manga

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