Written by Hiroya Oku
Published by Dark Horse
First Japanese Release: December 11, 2000
First English volume: June 25, 2008

After hearing that Gantz caused some stupid kid to need “intensive psychotherapy”, I decided I needed to see what the fuss is all about.

Some days you wish you just stayed in bed. Kei Kurono was just waiting for the subway train when he witnesses a homeless drunk pass out and fall onto the tracks. Kurono literally could not give a shit about what will happen to the drunk. Then fate decided to laugh in his specific direction. Masura Kato, a childhood friend, jumps on the tracks to help the drunk. Unable to lift the man himself he calls out to Kurono to help. Now he can’t look the other way so he jumps down to help. They manage to lift the man back up to the platform but were left with no time to save themselves. Following their deaths, Kurono and Kato find themselves transported —alive and well— along with a number of people and a dog who have also just died, to the interior of an unfurnished Tokyo condominium. They are unable to leave, as the outside door and all the windows can not be opened. At one end of the room is a featureless black sphere known as “Gantz”. After some time in the room, music is played, and the Gantz sphere opens up, revealing a bald naked man with a breathing mask and wires attached to his head, and three racks protruding from it, that offer various items for them to use. When the Gantz sphere opens, green text appears on the surface of the sphere: “All of your old lives are gone. I will decide how to use your new lives. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.” Gantz then provides a picture and brief information of an alien (as in E.T.) target that they must go and kill.

The story has no narrator. It is seen through various characters eyes, mostly Kurono, so the reader will be left just as confused as the characters. This is not helped by the manga ending in the middle of a battle. This first volume leaves many questions and few answers. Why choose this group to hunt the Aliens? What crime did the Aliens commit that necessitates their deaths? The dog? Why bring an animal you can’t explain the rules to into this? The characters are all pretty unlikable. We got Yakuza, politicians, rapists, and selfish pricks. The only 2 characters that demand any sympathy and respect are Kato, who helps others despite his own fear, and the dog who just acts like a dog. It’s really hard to say if this series is worth getting at the moment. Excessive gore does not make an interesting story, and any one who needed “intensive psychotherapy” after reading this would not last more than 5 minutes outside the town of Mayberry.

This title restricted to those who did not grow up in Mayberry

But there is a potential if the next volume starts to flesh out the story and introduce some likable characters. So for now I give it a probationary Keep It, with final verdict coming after I review Volume 2.

Story: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆
Art: ★★★★★★★★☆☆
Characters: ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆
Quality: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆
Overall: ★★★★★★½☆☆☆

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