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Gantz, Vol. 2: Kill Or Be Killed (2004) – DVD Review

Gantz Vol. 2: Kill or Be Killed DVD


Written by Masashi Sogo, based on the manga by Hiroya Oku
Directed by Ichiro Itano
Character Design by Naoyuki Onda


  • Interview with voice actor Daisuke Namikawa
  • Clean opening and closing

Dindrane’s Anime Warnings:

  • Blood
  • Death and destruction
  • Anti-heroes
  • Sexual situations and some female nudity

Released by: ADV
Region: 1
Rating: Mature, for violence and suggestive themes
Anamorphic: Yes

My Advice: Add it to your collection.

[ad#longpost]The second volume of Gantz returns us to the room where a group of strangers have been resurrected after their assorted deaths to do the dirty work for a mysterious black sphere who wants them to search and destroy aliens living in Tokyo. If they refuse to play the murder game or fail to execute the target within the allotted hour, the sphere will kill them, leaving these average humans to confront their own virtue and desire to live.

We rejoin the show just as the Greenonion elder has killed the would-be rapist Yakuza. The human characters (hard to call them “heroes”) are still learning how to use the guns the sphere provided, and most of them aren’t even wearing their provided suits yet, even if they knew how to use them, which they don’t. Kei and Nishi battle about the meaning of hypocrisy and human sickness, including a couple meta-moments about the effects of video games and comic books on the audience. There are several moments of violence and gratuitous boobage, but certainly we’ve seen worse in other shows, and there is an odd moment of levity when Gantz hands out scores to the players, including the perverted dog–be sure to pause the screen if necessary to read what he says about them.

The show is interesting in how it shows the reactions of other people who can’t see the Gantz players, and how the players themselves deal with their memories of their previous lives and wondering how to cope with this excessively unusual situation. We still don’t have a perfect understanding of who the characters are, what they want, and what the game is all about, but we’re learning, and so are they. Nishi is especially still a cipher.

The audio quality is still very high. The show looks great, with the stylishness of Kei’s black suit, along with the strangeness of the aliens. The content of the show leaves you feeling that the visuals are much more gratuitous than they are; the violence is thick, but not excessive. The character designs provide a visual representation of the character’s personality rather nicely, especially in the eyes, but as the show tells us, things are not always what they seem, and we must be ready to accept new realities when they arrive.

The extras this time include clean closing and opening animations again, which will please fans of the show’s stylish look, as well as another interview, this time with Daisuke Namikawa, the voice of Kei Kurono. Namikawa has an interesting grasp of and admiration for Kei, which gives him an edge in performing the character realistically. Throughout the interview, we also get Namikawa’s views of ADR studios, the serial deaths of other characters, the coolness of the Gantz suit, and the hopes he has for his character.

In short, Gantz continues to probe the painful rotten cavity that is the more shallow side of human nature, and the implication that everyone is all the same inside–empty and corrupt. The dangled promise of going home and the reality of death is almost too much for the survivors, but life doesn’t exactly work out like they want, even if you’re dead. The show continues to be something of a mystery, but it’s unfolding slowly and interestingly. It’s not as gratuitously sexual or violent (or sexually violent) as it could be, but it does directly address the dangerous and forbidden combination of sex and violence that plagues humanity. There are still a number of unanswered questions, such as whether or not Kei and the others will be compelled to return for another night of alien-slaying and whether or not they are all just faxes of themselves. The show is, in any case, an interesting probing of human vulgarity vs. virtue, and what we make of ourselves in extreme and ordinary situations. As such, it is a show that bears re-viewings.