+ Top of the line artwork
Incredibly dark manga
Main characters have serious flaws
2.5 out of 5
Gantz Manga Review
Written by: Karthon
Kurono Kei and Masaru Kato, are a couple of teenagers, who get killed in a subway accident when they go down to help a drunk man get off the tracks and get crushed instead. However, instead of dying, they're teleported to a mysterious room with a large round ball and a locked door. The room has several other people who all seem to have died. Slowly they all come to the realization that they have not died, but rather have been whisked away at the last moment to this mysterious room.
Before they can fully come to grips with their situation, the ball begins to display messages for them, telling them that they have to go destroy an alien on the earth. The ball then opens up revealing high-tech guns and suits. These suits amplify the wearer's reflexes and strength. Kei has always wanted to be a hero, and this seems like the perfect opportunity to go out and help the world fight these weird creatures. Unfortunately, this is a game of life and death. If a "contestant" dies while fighting these creatures, he'll die permanently. Furthermore, all the contestants are unable to finish off the monsters within the 1 hour time limit, or if they try to run away, they will die from explosives implanted in their skulls.
After Kei and Kato survive the first battle, they return to the room and are able to exit and return to their normal lives. However, a few days later they're summoned back to compete in another elimination. They discover that, to permanently free themselves from the room, they have to acquire 100 points, and that they earn points based on their performances in each mission. Can they survive long enough to earn 100 points? This becomes extremely difficult due to the fact that new contestants are rolled in to replace dead ones, and the new ones have difficulty believing the truth of their situation.
This is an incredibly dark manga, with each battle leaving over 50% of the contestants blown apart (with guts and blood everywhere due to the high-tech weaponry). Because of this, it leaves very little time to allow characters (outside the main characters) to develop backgrounds. Normally this would be ok, but when the author makes an attempt to develop a story for a character, then kills off that character, it leaves the reader feeling somewhat confused. It would be better to spend that space further developing the main characters or hurrying up the plot, which has a tendency to drag on during fight sequences.
I'm not a fan of the characters themselves, as all the main characters have serious flaws such as arrogance or extreme hormones that leads to rape, all graphically portrayed. However, it's very nice to see an author willing to make his main characters realistic, despite the fact that it makes those same characters unlikable. The plot, as mentioned before, drags on far too much for my tastes. The battles are predictable and rely too heavily on gratuitous explosions and blood, while the exposition scenes between battles are short and infrequent. This is a typical recipe for a slow moving story, large pointless battles.
The one saving factor for this manga is its art. Both character art and background art are near the top of what I've seen. The backgrounds are usually sweeping and detailed, while the characters are realistic and highly expressive. The aliens are incredible works of imagination as well, with peculiarly deformed shapes and actions which lend realism to the series. Sadly, in my book the art is insufficient to make up for the lack of an interesting storyline. If you're looking for a beautiful manga with sex and violence, this is definitely for you. But be ready to settle in for the long haul, as this manga shows no signs of really moving anywhere.
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