a review by Nalini Haynes

Directed by Shinsuke Sato

Kurono and Kato are two young men who die in a train accident then find themselves in an afterlife with a number of other people who have also been killed. A huge black ball called Gantz sends them out to hunt down and kill aliens. The black ball opens up to reveal a naked man hooked into a computer, racks of weaponry and suitcases holding form fitting suits that give super-human powers to the wearer. All the people who gather in this afterlife room are then teleported out to the hunt; those that survive are teleported back. In between hunts they live their old lives, caring for a brother, attending high school and being pursued by a pretty college student, while trying to come to terms with their double lives.

A love triangle seems inevitable, especially after a naked woman, Nishi, teleports into the afterlife. Kurono is disappointed to discover she’s interested in Kato. Kurono is oblivious to the pursuit of a pretty girl who draws manga. Disappointed in love, Kurono becomes obsessed with the potential power of the suit. Kurono decides that he is a superhero and leader for the group although Kato is a natural leader who cares for others.
After killing a few aliens, the human hunters discover a new alien who declares that she will avenge the death of her friend by destroying humanity. It appears that there is an alien community hidden on Earth that is becoming a threat to humanity’s survival.

I saw one plot twist coming from about a third of the way through, but that was okay: this plot point provided motivation and raised the stakes for Kurono and Kato. This movie was part one of a story with the conclusion provided in part two. As yet I haven’t received part two for review, so I can’t comment on the complete story. At the end of part one mystery still surrounds Gantz the ball and human inside: who and what are they? Are they good or evil? Kurono needs a good smack down in order to learn to work in a team while Kato needs to take a more active role in leadership; I hope this character development occurs in part two. Nishi needs to be rescued. The aliens are a threat that needs to be resolved.

Based on a manga series that has already had an anime TV series, Gantz is following in the footsteps of other anime/manga with live-action films trying to summarise the story. Based on the movie, I’m very interested in reviewing the anime version. The two versions tend to be very different, with the anime TV series having much more depth due to more screen time allowing for further exploration of the story and themes.

Rated MA for good reason due to the violence and gore, Gantz has horror, science fiction and supernatural themes but appeals to a broader audience than slasher supernatural flicks. Hunt scenes are interspersed with scenes of characters’ ‘normal’ lives, giving balance to the story. I’m waiting for the conclusion but so far this is a promising story. Gantz is recommended for anyone looking for a science fiction/horror movie with a lot of action and violence and a little romance.

Subtitles in English.

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Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.


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