Gantz Review

Gantz Review

Gantz anime series cover art

A Second Chance at Life

Gantz (ガンツ) is a very weird anime. It’s an action, horror, drama, sci-fi series about a survival game. Or, is it a revival game? Everyone participating in this survival game is already dead. But, if they score 100 points, they’ll (allegedly) get a second chance at life.

Actually, you could kind of think of it as a third chance at life. So, let me explain what I mean by that. Everyone in the series had their original life and “died” in some way. Then, they came back to life as part of this game. And, if they “win,” they’ll come back to life for real.

Let’s use Kei Kurono, the protagonist, as an example. He died after being hit by a subway train. He was then revived as part of this survival game. Between rounds of the game, he can live out his normal life as if nothing happened.

Jouichirou Nishi from the anime series Gantz
Jouichirou Nishi

However, he’s not truly alive again. It’s more like he’s in limbo. Whenever a new round of the game starts, he’s pulled back into it and has to fight to survive. If he dies, he dies. If he survives, he goes back to living within this limbo state.

The only way he can be alive and free of the game is by scoring 100 points in total. Even that’s not entirely clear, though. That’s what the players assume will happen if they reach 100 points. This is never confirmed. Still, I’m going to assume it’s true.

Now, there’s one more thing to consider. Not everyone in this game actually died. For example, Kei Kishimoto almost died by suicide but survived. That means that there are two versions of her. One is alive and one is living in limbo. What happens if she gets 100 points? We don’t know.

It’s Time to Hunt Some Aliens

I’ve mentioned this survival game quite a bit. But, what exactly is it? Is it a battle royale like The Hunger Games or Fortnite? No. The players are competing against each other, to an extent. Though, this isn’t required. They can cooperate.

The game actually kind of functions like the prisoner’s dilemma. If you choose to cooperate with the other players, you all have a higher chance of surviving. However, if you choose to compete against the other players, you can reach 100 points faster.

So, how do you get points? Each round of the game has the players hunting down a specific type of alien. If they kill all the aliens or kill the “boss,” the round ends. And, each kill is worth some number of points. This is why if you compete, you can score more points.

Kei Kurono pointing a futuristic gun from the anime series Gantz
Kei Kurono pointing a futuristic gun

In the first round, Nishi scores 3 points for killing the child Green Onion Alien. But, not all kills result in the same number of points. In the second round, killing a Tanaka Alien is worth 10 points and the Tanaka Boss is worth 38.

What do you think is the best way to play the game? Would you choose to work with the other players so more of you make it out alive? Or, would you choose to compete and rack up more points than anyone else? It’s a pretty tough choice considering you don’t know what everyone else will choose.

If one person chooses to compete, they can cause issues for everyone who’s working together. If you choose to compete, you likely won’t have allies to back you up. And, if the players split into factions, they may end up eliminating each other, which helps nobody.

Everyone Sucks in Their Own Special Way

Alright, so, Gantz has a pretty interesting premise. I liked the idea of the characters competing in a survival game to win a second life. However, the execution of the anime was extremely poor. It’s not a good anime. But, the thing is that the execution isn’t even the worst part.

The worst thing about Gantz is the characters. They all suck in their own special way. Nishi only thinks about himself, to the detriment of the others. Kishimoto is useless and relies on everyone else. And, Katou refuses to use guns to kill the aliens.

Nishi’s actions and personality at least make sense. He’s the only veteran of the game at the start of the series. We don’t know how long he’s been a player. But, we know that he’s racked up 90 points. So, it’s safe to assume that he’s been at it for a while.

Kei Kishimoto from the anime series Gantz
Kei Kishimoto

By this point, Nishi has seen a lot of people die. And because of that, it’s no wonder that he wants to reach the 100-point goal as soon as possible. The faster he can reach that goal, the fewer chances there are for him to die in the game.

Kishimoto has very low self-esteem, which influences how she acts. The fact that most of the male characters objectify her every chance they get also doesn’t help. Katou’s resistance to using guns to kill the aliens makes no sense since he has no problem beating them to death.

But, the worst character of all is Kurono, the protagonist. He has literally zero redeeming qualities. Like Nishi, he only cares about himself and like Kishimoto, he hides behind the others in the group. At the same time, he looks down on everyone and only thinks about sex with Kishimoto. He’s the worst.

Final Thoughts

I’m going to give Gantz a 4/10. It’s bad. But, despite that, I’m pretty invested in the story. So, at some point, I’m going to watch Season 2. There’s also a newer, CGI adaptation of the series called Gantz:O. However, I have no interest in watching that one.

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