a review by Nalini Haynes
The original Gantz movie was reviewed here. Perfect Answer begins where Gantz left off: Kato was killed by the Buddha alien who accused the humans manipulated by Gantz of being the aggressors in a conflict. This accusation resounded through part two, with the aliens challenging the humans repeatedly on their motives and who killed first. Kurono became the leader within their little band, teaching and encouraging everyone to work together to resurrect the dead. The battle against the aliens continued, juxtaposed with scenes from their ‘normal’ lives. The stakes escalated as the aliens become more organised, seeking a way to access Gantz in order to end the war.
Gantz is another anime series – two seasons in all – compacted into two live-action movies. This works to some extent as recaps were given via introduction to new Gantz victims, but it was very apparent that plot and character development was sacrificed in the compression process. Tension built quickly and held until the climax then meandered somewhat while accusations were made, realisation dawned and the consequences of the ‘perfect answer’ were explored.
Special effects abounded with high-energy fight scenes. Sometimes characters ignored their more effective Gantz guns in favour of fighting with Katana, which made no sense within the plot but will, no doubt, be appreciated by fans. There were other ‘fan services’ in the form of seeing a girl’s knickers and images of a nude model without full-frontal nudity as well as guns, fight scenes, gore and detailed ‘teleport’ scenes. There was particular reference to Men in Black, memorably played for humour.
From a feminist perspective Gantz failed the Bechdel test. Women didn’t talk to one another in this movie, they were there as support for the men or, in the case of Yoshikazu Suzuki and Tae Kojima they were the love interests and damsels in distress. There were strong women in terms of fight scenes on both sides (humans and aliens) but they didn’t talk to one another. Even Buddha in the feminine statue form spoke to the men.
Overall, Gantz was a high-energy science fiction action duo of movies comprising one story. Originally Gantz was two seasons in anime form then compressed into two movies sacrificing plot and character development but still making sense overall. There was an underlying mystery coupled with intelligent ethical and existential debate that will be appreciated by some while easily overlooked by those who prefer simple escapism. Pacing tended towards the intense up until the climax. The wrap-up was a bit slow in order to explore the mystery: the perfect answer was a mystery unfolding up until the final moments.
Recommended to those who enjoy SF action and those who enjoy some depth and philosophical or ethical exploration. I haven’t seen the TV series but I suspect that those who enjoy the live-action movie will appreciate the expanded version of Gantz in the original anime series.