If you are unfamiliar with the franchise, Gantz is an unbelievably bleak sci-fi/horror tale about life, death, and morality. It’s existed as a sprawling manga, a truncated ‘first-ish arc’ anime, and alt-direction live action movies. Each of these treatments is absolutely worth your investment, and I’ll outline why below, but each also has weaknesses… Gantz:0 is poised to fix.
- Gantz’ story is fantastic. That said, if you read the manga, it’s absolutely clear Hiroya Oku had no idea where the story was going at first, or even at several points along the way. While enjoyable on their own, entire chunks of narrative like the Vampires and the Secret Government Conspiracy or even the human psychics feel unresolved and unrelated to what turns out to be an alien invasion story.
Gantz:0 has the distinct advantage of being scripted after the manga’s completion and, by the looks of it, hops over some of the introductory arcs (that are full of characters who die almost immediately). It looks tighter, more show-story than talk-about story.
2. Gantz’ heroes play a blend of selfishness and sacrifice off of the conventions of Japanese culture…but the individual stories can be lost amongst a massive and regularly shifting cast. The very fact that it has two heroes (Kuruno and Kato) that occasionally sit out arcs due to being dead (again) dilutes either of their stories.
Gantz:0 appears to have dropped Kuruno in order to focus on Kato, which is unexpected because Kuruno’s rise of a kill them all warrior is a more obvious choice than Kato’s rise as a compassionate keep them all alive leader to focus a movie. But if they blend those two stories together, Kato has more interesting stakes:
Where Kuruno has a love triangle/square that includes a duplicate of himself created by his frustrated Idol love interest, Kato has a younger brother with no parents to protect him — and relatives that beat him –and Kato’s love interest is single mom with her own son to protect as a love interest.
Both boys die more than once, and both grapple with the idea of not being the ‘original him’ but Kato has more at stake than ‘which girl should I tap?’ Further, without Kuruno to serve as his idealized childhood hero, Kato will have to build his own sense of heroism from scratch.
3. Gantz’ visual style is a big part of its appeal. Uko’s choice to render weapons and complex vehicles in full CG but keep the cast hand drawn brings contrast. It emphasizes how out of place humans are in the struggle.
Gantz:0 will lose some of that juxtaposition but it also clearly shines in another important way the anime and manga struggled: visual effects necessitated by the scifi weapons and gear. The teleportation effect alone is fantastic.
Now that you’ve seen the preview, what do you think?