Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Masaru Katou is killed by knife wielding criminal after he stops to help the assailant's victim while waiting for a subway train to take him home to celebrate the birthday of his younger brother. Katou awakens from his precived death to be in an empty room populated only by four people and an omnious looking orb that calls it's self Gantz. Katou along with his team mate the model Reika Shimohira, Yoshikazu "Old Man" Suzuki, and Jouichirou Nishi a sociopathic old hand at the game. Quickly the team is teleported to Osaka and forced to fight nightmarish monsters and aliens while also having to deal with the unstable Osaka team a group of more experienced players who have won the death game they are all involved in numerous times. Gantz:0 is a super condensed retelling of the orginal Manga's Osaka arc. This is a series that has no real discernible world view and is only happy to marinate in it's own gleefully nihilistic form of ultra violence no one is particularity deep or nuanced as far as characterization goes. And the choice to make it in complete 3DCG gives the entire affair the feel of an expansive video game cut scene. Katou is by far the most "human" of the characters doing what is right even if it puts his own self-preservation at risk. While the amount of realism in the deaths, mutilations, limb severing, and pulpifyings is at first stomach churning than slowly a wave of numb malaise as the latest atrocity committed against the human body ceases to shock. It's not a bad way to kill two hours and overall feels lovingly detailed to depict the absolute worst aspects of human nature. Not even including the bizarre scene of one of the aliens transforming into writhing giant made out of millions naked women. In short it's a work comparable to Apocalypse Zero in that it will alternatively confound, bore, and sicken you sometimes in same scene. The technical achievement of the CGI is a wonder to behold only to leave you realizing that what you are beholding is an hellscape of death, carnage, and redicusoly over powered nihilistic sociopaths. With the only moral center being the amnesiac Katou and even than all of his heroics are seemingly undercut at every turn by one character or another with a plea to mere survival nothing is really explained as to why this is being fought or what the ultimate end game it is simply a splattery slurry of CGI giblets and cynicism. It is hard to take serious and honestly the only real way to enjoy this is to go into it with your moral sense shut off and instead gawk at the spectacle. It is not a complete waste due to the amount of loving detail and realism but after a point it simply starts to feel tiresome as the spectacle is the only thing on which the audience is left to metabolize. In an earlier time when exploitative ultra violence was de rigor for Anime releases I could see this finding an audience but as is this feels like a throw back to a justifiably forgotten era of weakly written exploitation Anime. With a fresher coat of paint I wish I could say something more but when the entire cast feels like cardboard archetypes mixed with strange amounts of body horror it's simply a chore that I can only recommend to completest fans of the original Gantz manga or people who have a craving for something on par with Genocyber or MD Geist.