A murdered schoolboy is resurrected and forced to fight a large force of invading aliens.
If you listened to the latest Jump The Shark podcast from us here at The Unheard Nerd, you will have heard me discuss a manga I’m currently reading entitled Gantz.
This manga was first published in 2000 and ran for thirteen years. It has been adapted into an anime series, two live-action films, Gantz and Gantz 2: Perfect Answer (both released in 2011) and an all CGI animated feature, Gantz: O (2016).
I first heard about Gantz whilst watching one of Corridor Digital’s VFX Artists React videos where they commented on the CGI animated film.
I decided to do my own research on Gantz and started with the source manga, which at the time of writing, I have almost completed. As mentioned in the podcast, I have also watched the first of the two live-action adaptations.
But I’m here today to talk about the all CGI animated feature from 2016, Gantz: O. At first, I thought the title was zero and therefore maybe some kind of sequel or spin-off to the original manga. Instead, its the letter O and stands for Osaka, which refers to a particular story arc from the source material.
First, we have to backtrack a little to explain the main plot of Gantz. A schoolboy, Masaru Kato, witnesses a drunken homeless man fall onto the subway tracks whilst waiting for his train home. Masuru recognizes a childhood friend, Kei Kurono, also on the platform and convinces him to help.
Together, they rescue the homeless man but unfortunately do not manage to get back onto the platform on time and are killed by an express train.
Some of the team have very big guns!
Together, they awaken in a flat filled with other people and a strange large black sphere. Some of the occupants are confused whereas others seem to know what is going on. As the story progresses, we learn that the sphere is called Gantz. Selected recently deceased are resurrected and are chosen to participate in a long-running game. It’s not just people either, the original manga also features a dog and even a panda!
Provided with an article of futuristic protective clothing and weaponry, they are transported to somewhere in the city and have to hunt down aliens that are living amongst us. At the end of each mission, Gantz issues everyone with a score and those who reach 100 are offered a choice of bonuses.
The Gantz manga features this special team of people fighting many battles with character development during the downtime. However, the CGI film focuses specifically on a certain portion of the story.
Gantz: O, if I remember correctly, takes one of the penultimate battles from the source material. It does work as a standalone piece but I found myself enjoying it a lot more as I was already familiar with the source material, but I’ll come back to this in a moment.
The film was created by Digital Frontier and I must say that the CGI work is of a very high standard. Not only are the environments and characters highly detailed, but they also match the original manga down to a tee.
The animation work itself was almost flawless but I felt that some of the human movement is a few scenes didn’t feel quite right. That last sentence feels a little harsh on what is an amazing piece of work.
One of the many creatures the Gantz team must defeat!
Because the film is literally a slice of the action from a point at least 2/3rds into the original story, Gantz: O feels like a climax to a film you missed the beginning of. There is an introduction to inform those unaware of how the main character of Masaru Kato ended up in this situation (and that’s been changed from the original manga) and then after that, its an hour and a half of monster/demon/alien slaying action. Seriously, the film never lets up!
This film is rated as mature and I suppose that goes without saying. Gantz: O features both people and evil creatures being dismembered, shot at and exploded. The supply of blood on screen never runs dry.
If that wasn’t enough, one of the creatures is comprised of hundreds of naked women to make up their huge form. (If that sounds a bit over the top, I’m not even going to mention how that plays out in the original manga!)
Gantz: O is very entertaining and a visual treat but don’t expect any real story because there isn’t any, to be honest. There’s enough of a bookend to give the film a start and finish but it’s still open-ended, that doesn’t stop it from being entertaining though.
Perhaps you could see this as an introduction to the world of Gantz and it may prompt you to seek out the anime or original manga.
Gantz: O is currently available on Netflix in the UK.
Ninety minutes of violent CGI action that’s perfect for a bit of late-night entertainment. 4/5