Whenever I hear that an anime is going down the CGI route I cannot help but shudder. Although there are computer-generated movies out there that look gorgeous, my pessimistic mind always fears the worst. We may have another Berserk on our hands or even worse Appleseed XIII, which looked like a PS2 game. Thankfully in the case of Gantz: O the artists at Digital Frontier have done a sublime job with the movie’s visuals. I’d argue that the feature’s photorealistic graphics rival the art of Square-Enix’s Final Fantasy films. Yes, there are a few scenes were the character models venture into the uncanny valley and resemble sex mannequins, but I don’t mind. Who wouldn’t buy a sex doll if their pricing weren’t so prohibitive? I would, but for now I’ll have to make do with my inflatable sheep.
It’s been thirteen years since we last saw an adaptation of Hiroya Oku’s manga on our screens (gripes, I suddenly feel ancient.) This ninety-minute flick, which premiered in Japan back in October, loosely chronicles the comic’s Osaka arc. For those of you not acquainted with the franchise, Gantz is a black sphere that rents a modest Tokyo flat. Using advanced technology it reanimates deceased humans and forces them to battle against hostile extra terrestrials. The people resurrected by Gantz are armed with ray guns and garments that bestow the wearer with superhuman might. Said skin-tight outfits resemble the gimp suits I wish I could afford. Alas, latex is pricey so I have to make do with whipping blow up farmyard animals during my lonely evenings.
The plot of Gantz: O is pretty straightforward. After getting stabbed at a train station high schooler Masaru Kato is revived by Gantz and teleported to the city of Osaka. There he is ordered to slay a legion of monsters that are running amok, within a strict two-hour deadline. Aiding our hero is an old fogey, a busty celebrity and a cocky teenager. The group struggle to survive at first, but their plight improves when they cross paths with a local Gantz team who are equipped with armaments of mass destruction. For a while it seems like Kato can focus on protecting innocent bystanders and leave the heavy lifting to the other group. That all changes however when the end of level guardian shows up. It murders most of Kato’s allies before setting its sights on him. Defeating the bugger won’t be easy because the creature has more forms than Persona 3’s final boss.
My rating for Gantz: O is three stars. Action packed from start to finish – the movie is good fun, providing that you can turn off your brain and permit yourself to be swept away by the spectacle of explosive CG battles. The plot however is wafer thin and suffers from a predictable ending, which is telegraphed by an earlier scene that details how Gantz rewards participants who amass 100 points worth of kills. I was also disappointed by how Gantz: O lacks many of the elements found in the 2004 anime. The tension of forcing people with different viewpoints to tackle a life or death situation was absent from this adaptation, as Kato’s party are a cooperative bunch. I also feel that the movie is less intense than the series. The carnage isn’t as gory and there was virtually no sexual content to be found. Horny fellows such as myself won’t be amused. Thank goodness that my faithful ewe is on hand to satisfy my urges.