Kei Kurono is a bit of a brat who is accidentally killed by an underground train. As his decapitated head rolls around the station platform, he suddenly finds himself transported into a game where he and other recently deceased people have to fight for their continued survival. Gantz offers no further explanations, and so the next round begins.
It’s violent, sex-obsessed and batshit crazy - this is Gantz in a nutshell. It really goes all out with a live-fast-die-young attitude with entire volumes flying as the plot is sacrificed in favour of pure action. Some people may be familiar with the anime series which covered only the first few volumes before ending on an entirely different note to the manga, which instead continues into new areas. The gore was certainly there in animated form, particularly in the second half, but for my money the pacing too was slow for a series so entrenched in action. To be honest I also found the manga a little difficult to get on with, partly because I already knew what would happen, but also because Kei is such a scumbag I struggled to care about whether or not he got destroyed. His sexist pervy ways are pretty repulsive along with his shitty attitude, but from the second stage (starting at volume 11 where the book covers turn blue) even worse characters are introduced which propels Kei into becoming more of a hero role and more appealing as a main character.
At this point in the story more layers are gradually added as Hunters are introduced as well as other Gantz teams. Only now are the answers starting to show themselves (Dark Horse’s release has currently reach the late 20s). I’ve got no idea where things will head further down the line, and Gantz offers no guarantees. Frankly, I am hooked.
As a side note the artwork of Gantz is very detailed with CG used extensively for the backgrounds and other little fixes. It makes you wonder just how much or little of this manga is actually drawn by hand, and while early volumes produce slightly wonky art, later volumes are pretty spectacular. I do find Dark Horse’s sound effects a little distracting at times however. The original Japanese ones are big and bold, yet translucent. The English ones on the other hand are filled in with pure white so you lose a little of the impact, sometimes to the point where it’s more difficult to keep track of proceedings. It’s still a great manga though. It’s a nasty, sadistic thrill ride, but with enough of a sense of fun about itself to throw a random panda into the middle of the carnage. Volumes are quite expensive and are read quickly due to the low word count, but is worth the expense.
|English/Japanese sample comparison|