— PART 1 —
Trying to help a drunk man fallen into the railtrack, Kurono Kei (Nino) and Katou Masaru (MatsuKen) are too late to save themselves and get run over by the oncoming rain. Yet, when they open their eyes a second later, they are inside a small room containing a large black ball with several other people staring at them. They are joined by one last visitor materializing naked before them, Kishimoto (Natsuna).
Before they could put two and two together (are they dead or still alive, what is that place, why are they there, etc), a creepy-sounding-song-as-if-coming-out-from-a-broken-juke-box fills the room followed by a set of instructions floating on the surface of the shiny black ball. It says something along the line of “Your lives has been taken away. Now it’s up to me to decide how to use it thereafter. Go crush this guy (the face and brief description of which will soon be showed) if you wanna go home.”
Heretofore, I got an idea that GANTZ is about giving the supposedly dead persons a second chance to prove their worthiness and gain their lives back – by means of exterminating aliens… or so I thought.
The giant ball zaps open, revealing its interior full of state-of-the-art weaponry (including skin-tight full-body black latex-y suits) replete with a mysterious man sleeping inside it. Without knowing what really is happening to them, one by one dematerializes into somewhere in Tokyo. There they spot the alien in question and one character, Nishi (Hongo Kanata), feeds them with the idea of getting 10 million yen in reward for killing the target. Little do they know what it is they’re really after.
In total, there are three targets Gantz members are facing, and each alien inevitably incurs several casualties. Scores will be given at the end of each successful mission. And in-between two missions the members are to rest as they’re transported back into reality as if nothing’s happened, to live on their respective lives – until the next mission pops up.
The movie is gory with lots of bloods and is somewhat scary – for a split second I wondered if it’s actually a horror movie instead. (It’s scary enough to give me nightmares. I ha~te horror!) Don’t expect too much action as it’s saved for the second installment, while the CGI isn’t best that at times I wish things look realer.
The method to eradicate the aliens is pretty easy – aim the cool bulletless gun with limitless ammunition at the alien’s head, shoot, wait few seconds, and puff~ it’s tattered into the air. It’s as easy as clicking pointers yet it’s made so-damn-hard in the movie. And yes, one thing I have to gripe is how shitless the characters are. Why watch your friends be battered down, or scarper a slow-moving giant statue, and do nothing? I hate it so much whenever they just hold onto their guns like a toy, or aim it for ever without shooting – what’s wrong with them!? They’re there to fight aliens, not to play hide-and-seek!
Besides, I found the aliens a bit too considerate… for antagonists. After wounding (or killing) one member, they are kind enough to give time for other member(s) to check on one’s condition or mourn over the loss before tracking down the next prey.
Another thing that I think GANTZ is lacking is the characters’ background stories. Some may find it unnecessary details, but I assume it’s important to build characterization; else, we audience can only grope around trying to feel or rationalize for the characters and their deeds.
For example, I can tell that Katou is one scaredy cat, but considering his dark past, shouldn’t he have more guts? Kurono… a seemingly hopeless college student – who expects him to be so full of himself (later on as a senior Gantz member)? Apart from these two, the rest’s backgrounds are unknown. Even Nishi, the long-standing, most knowledgable member doesn’t help much in terms of elucidating Gantz’s enigmas.
Although the ending is good enough not to make/watch the sequel, I looked forward to part 2 to have my quizzical questions answered… or so I hoped.
p.s. I’ve never seen Goddess of Mercy to be that terrifying…
— PART 2 —
Time setting: 5 months after part 1
Kurono has become the leader and strongest member. He willingly feeds newcomers with information he knows about Gantz to keep everyone alive. And no one’s been added to the dead list after Katou. Kurono’s accumulated points is nearing 100 too, which means he could revive his childhood friend.
However, strange things are emanating: there’s this one small black Gantz ball which instructs its bearer to kill four non-alien targets before getting released. Then, there’s this suspicious hideout filled by expressionless people, whose leader is looking for that small orb. On top of everything else, Katou appears before Kurono, healthy-looking and all, while he’s still on the dead list.
Again, before Gantz members are able to put two and two together, they’re summoned for another mission – this time onboard a moving subway. Usually they’re face-to-face with the target(s) alone, but this time around the train is flocked with people. The aliens are getting nimbler and fiercer, victims fall like a fallen house of cards.
After the seemingly endless fight, Gantz members are back to the room and are joined by one newcomer, the small orb bearer. To everybody’s surprise, she testifies that she’s killed by Katou, whose last word was, “It is a revenge.” As Uncle’ and Kurono’s points hit 100, they’re reviving two key members, Nishi and Katou, and come up with the clincher that Katou the killer is an alien in disguise.
Not given much time to rejoice the return of two members, they are aware that now the orb is possessed by Katou the alien. Gantz confirms it as well; new target is given to them with full points as a reward; it’s Kojima Tae (Yoshitaka Yuriko, Kurono’s love interest). She also happens to be the last target given by the orb.
Kurono naturally won’t let that happen, convincing the members that Kojima is no alien. However, as he’s desperately trying to protect Kojima (so banal it’s boring), Kurono realizes that Gantz is not the only one that’s after her – the alien’s leader is too. (The orb turns out to serve as another gate to enter the room of Gantz.)
What’s happening is that humans are no longer viewed as such: they’re slashed when they’re blocking the way. It’s disheartening when team members don’t even work as a team. While Kojima is running for her life, Kurono with Katou in tow is dueling Katou the Alien. This is where GANTZ unleashes its full throttle: suspenseful, gut-wretching, heart-stopping, action-packed combat scenes are here~
I thought it is the climax, but I might be wrong. In simplicity, GANTZ is another hero movie, so we’re correct to expect right to trump wrong. Yet, the nonstop battle has become so unpredictable and painful to watch that I seriously didn’t know who the last man standing’s gonna be. It kept me on the edge of my seat almost throughout the movie from that subway scenes that I was waiting uber-anxiously for the ending.
Just one major gripe: the pwn has always been so easy it’s utterly frustrating.
Onto the cast: Nino and MatsuKen are both good actors, but their act here wasn’t over-the-top great (I sometimes can still spot the former in Kurono and the latter in Katou). MatsuKen was dazzling as Katou the Alien though – love the steel expression. And Nino always handles emotional scenes well. However, the one I applaud the most is Hongo Kanata. He portrayed Nishi terribly well that I always had to keep my fist undercontrol in order to spare my screen – I’ve constantly felt the urge to punch his smug face.
The only downside to the cast (imo) was Yoshitaka Yuriko. She’s annoying and clingy as a character, and I can never quite like her acting (in Tokyo Dogs or here). She looks like smiling when crying, and vice versa, it gets me to cringe everytime.
(I find her awkward as a person as well). If only I couldn’t care less about her… but she took on such an important role in this movie it’s impossible to discount her. Too bad.
GANTZ: Perfect Answer doesn’t provide the perfect answer(s) for the burning questions I’ve had since watching the first part. [ALERT: read on the following bullet list only if you care not about spoilers — and i’m spoiling a lot]
- The first and foremost: what the heck is Gantz? What is it all about?
- How does it come into existence?
- What kind of magic power that Gantz has?
- Who is the person sleeping inside the giant black ball? What is he doing there? Why is he there?
- How does the small black sphere exist, and who sent it to that actress?
- Why the investigator – or whoever he is – is as eager as the alien of Gantz and its location?
- Why Kojima Tae is the last target (when nobody remembers her to be an ex-member)? – this is more from Gantz’s viewpoint rather than the alien’s (since they need to kill her to get to the Gantz’s mysterious whereabouts).
- The alien pours liquid-y substance on top of Gantz’s polished surface – what is it and what’s the purpose of that? Cuz it left the giant ball no scratches whatsoever.
- Where’s the man occupying Gantz’s black ball gone to? And how Kurono replaces him?
- What happens to the world next? Are all aliens wiped out clean?
Some people like an open ending, and it may be fine for a mystery movie not to answer all questions, but I hate it when the basics aren’t explicated. At the end of the movie, I felt stupid as I didn’t get the gist at all. Why does Gantz have to fight aliens in the first place when they (the aliens) don’t even cause humans any damage or disturbance?
Ah~ I remember this vital point: call me weird but I don’t think the title gives justice to the movie as a whole. What does ‘perfect answer’ refer to? What kind of question that it tries to give answer to? Because after seeing half of the movie, I believe it’d be much fitting and rational to title it “GANTZ: Revenge of the Aliens.” Yes?
(Overall) Rating: 3.5/5
Director: Sato Shinsuke
Cast: Ninomiya Kazunari, Matsuyama Kenichi, Hongo Kanata, Watanabe Natsuna, Yoshitaka Yuriko
Genre: J-movie, Science fiction, action-thriller
~the two posters are found on google images; stills are captured by me~