Gantz

October 1, 2011

Because of the live-action film that came out early in 2011, it was one of the few reasons why I decided to take a look at its anime version that came out way back in 2004, Gantz. Though I have never watched the movie, but the main reason why I decided to try out this sci-fi action series was because of the newspaper review on the movie. In a nutshell, it said that the movie was a much ‘tamer’ affair compared to the anime. True enough, without even watching the film version, I could say that the anime series is definitely only for mature audiences considering the amount of blood, gore, graphic violence, partial nudity and strong/crude language that it has to offer. And yeah, at a certain point, it even had sex scenes. Yeow! Definitely not kids’ stuff for sure.

The basic premise of the movie and anime are the same. People who died in an unnatural way are given a second shot at life by being transported to a mysterious apartment containing a black sphere called Gantz. They are forced to hunt aliens for the sake of their own survival within a given amount of time frame. And even with sophisticated suits and weaponry that normal science can’t explain, taking down aliens doesn’t seem to be an easy job. Playing first-person or third-person shooter games seem like child’s play. And while Gantz itself is mysterious, intriguing and incomprehensible, the hunters who are forced to play this sick game have to learn to adapt quickly or else they’d really die for good. Yeah, unlike in video games where you normally have 3 lives, you only live twice here. At least in this anime. And if you find that some of the elements and reasoning here hard to accept, well it’s up to us individuals. Like killing aliens for points. For what? Well, Gantz’s thinking isn’t something everyone can understand.

Episode 1
Cocky and always looking down on the world, Kei Kurono is in a class lesson. He starts fantasizing and undressing all the females including his teacher. His classmate spots his erection and soon everyone teases him. On his way home, Kei takes the subway only to be bugged by an old lady asking for directions. He then sees a familiar face standing next to him. He is Masaru Katou, his childhood friend. Suddenly a smelly homeless drunkard slips and falls onto the rail tracks. Nobody helped him and could only watch. Plus, they even have those apathy comments about him and that others would come to his rescue. Katou couldn’t take it anymore and dives down to save the unconscious drunkard. He shouts for help but the people only returned with their stares. He spots Kei and recognizes him. With the feeling that the world is staring at him, Kei goes down to help as he thinks he’s happy Katou recognized him. The drunkard is heavy as they use up most of their energy to push him up, in which they finally do. Then the train comes. Katou says to run thinking that the train will fully stop at the other end. However it seems this train isn’t stopping. The train closes in and before they know it, both their heads are sent flying! GROSS!!! And the public either scream in fear or have the cheek to even take pictures. WTF?! Soon after, there are no traces of Kei and Katou’s body at the scene. However, Kei and Katou surprisingly find themselves alive but in a room with a big black sphere in the middle and a few other colourful oddballs. They’re supposedly people who have died to. Where is this place? Is this Heaven? Are they really alive? Kei and Katou spot Tokyo Tower outside the glass but were being told nobody could leave this place or even touch the walls. They introduce each other and the motley gang include teacher Masashi Yamada, old cancer patient Gorou Suzuki, gloomy but scary looking Jouichiro Nishi, an arrogant pretty boy, a pair of yakuzas and a dog. Katou remembers the time he used to play tag with Kei and the rest and something made him look up to Kei and wanted to be like him. Seriously? I don’t think you want to if you know his cocky sarcasm inner thoughts. Suddenly they receive another ‘newbie’. Wow. You should see the Sphere reconstructing this babe from the inside out! Unconscious, she clings on to Kei as Katou notice that she has slit her wrists. I’m sure the guys are pretty interested in her seeing that she’s the only female here. Not to mention, totally naked! Then one of the yakuza picks her up to another room and warns them not to come in. Yup, he’s going to rape her. She starts yelling and Katou couldn’t take it anymore and confronts him. Katou is so mad that he strangles the yakuza and would’ve killed him if not interrupted by some funny happy Good Morning song. That song seems to be coming out from Gantz.

Episode 2
I don’t know why the dog was even trying to rape her. It could’ve gotten worse if Katou didn’t lend her his coat. Back to Gantz, they start seeing messages to kill a certain Negi Seijin (literally, Spring Onion Alien -WTF?!). It even has characteristics shown like it’s smelly, strong and loves… Spring onions. Gantz opens to reveal cool weaponry and they are shocked to see a man in foetal position inside. Nishi seems to know what he is doing and putting on the tight black suit. Soon everyone in the room slowly disappears to the outside. As they trudge along, Nishi tells them there are criminal aliens in hiding and disguise. Everyone is scouted by the Japanese Government Secret Agency to go on alien hunting. A kill is worth ten million Yen! Kei doesn’t believe but Nishi mentions he has been approached by someone before his death. Kei starts to remember the old lady. Suzuki doesn’t believe all this and goes off on his own. Along the way he thinks of starting anew his politician life when suddenly a ray from the sky hits directly on his head. HIS HEAD SPLATTERED INTO BLOODY BITS!!! F*CK!!! GORY!!! The rest find the Negi Seijin. Seems like a dork eating spring onions. The yakuzas, blondie and Yamada start bullying and hunting down to poor helpless alien. Kei, Katou and the girl spot them and went after them. Kei is jealous that the girl seems to be paying more attention to Katou and notices she takes a liking for him. Once they cornered the alien, the 4 start blasting him mercilessly till his limbs come off! Katou starts crying because he felt guilty he couldn’t save the alien but the blondie calls him a hypocrite. They notice a passer-by but realize that they must be dead because that person couldn’t see them or what had just happened. Suddenly a giant Negi Seijin (probably the father), comes up behind Blondie and rips his body apart!!! Another bloody death! Woah. Looks like an alien version of Incredible Hulk. He’s very mad. How mad? He’s crying tears of blood! He grabs one of the yakuzas in his sharp grip when that yakuza tries to act tough and fight back. Who’s the weak one now? Yamada panics and fires a shot at their direction. This results in that yakuza’s inner organs exploding out in bits. Eww!!!

Episode 3
Yamada and the other yakuza start firing their guns but the alien slashes off their arms! The yakuza fires several shot to take the alien out with the other arm he’s got before collapsing. But that’s not enough as the behemoth rises and confronts Katou. That guy is still crying that he couldn’t save everyone! I don’t know about this ‘shouting and crying contest’ because both of them are speaking in different language. Are you sure that alien could understand you? Katou points a gun at him but couldn’t shoot. Kei tells him to fire but the lady tells Kei to do it instead. Yeah, easy to say. Couldn’t do it either, eh? The alien attacks as Katou avoids his claws and causes him to fall off the slope. The alien turns to the duo and chases them. The lady blames Kei for causing Katou’s death. The chase stops when the alien is hit by the car (the passengers couldn’t see what they hit). But he got up again and the chase begins. As they run, Kei remembers the ‘coolness’ he was when he was a kid. Nobody could catch him. They are cornered at a dead-end when Kei thinks back the reason he was cool back then was because he wasn’t afraid of anything. He charges towards the alien, slides underneath him and lets himself be the bait to get chased. Katou is still alive and seen lying on the slope when he spots Kei being chased. As Kei continues to think about his past, his suit powers up as he is able to leap a great distance but crashes below. The alien catches up and has him in his grasp but before he could slice Kei, Katou grabs the alien in hopes of buying time for him to run. The alien attacks and injures Kei. Seeing his friend giving up on life, Kei gets furious and his suit once again powers up to give him superhuman powers. Strong enough to break the alien’s arm! Then he takes out his anger by turning him into a punching bag. By this time the alien has had enough and wishes for forgiveness. Hey, he just spoke a human sentence. But he is suddenly being bound by Nishi. He is going to let Kei have this kill and tells him to fire his gun at the alien, which of course will outright kill him.

Episode 4
Kei couldn’t pull the trigger so Nishi mocks him and tries to make him do it. Nishi adds that he is just the same as him and derives excitement from watching others die. Though Kei denies, he gives spot-on examples during time Kei got killed at the subway and other people just watched and how it’s human nature to want to see others die like hoping of dead bodies on the news. Since Kei can’t do it, Nishi uses his trap gun and sends the alien into the sky. He differentiates the gun that they have and the one Kei has will kill but his is to send away though he doesn’t know where. Nishi continues that they can go home and have to go back to that room. The lady lets loose a scream after seeing Katou’s life slip away. However Nishi says that as long as you’re alive and return to that room, every damage taken will be repaired. Dead people stay dead. Kei and the girl desperately try to wake Katou up but he’s not responding. Soon everyone gets teleported back to the room. Kei and the girl are devastated over Katou’s death as Nishi teases her that she’s in love with him. The other survivor who returned seems to be the dog. Because Katou isn’t technically dead, he too is teleported back to the room much to the relief of his pals. Nishi orders Gantz to give their score. Seems it’s like making wise cracks and have its own comments of the performance of the survivors. Wagging tail too much (dog), walking around without panties for too long (the girl whom Gantz calls Big Tits), almost died and what the hell comment (Katou), having too much erection from staring at Big Tits (Kei). Everyone scores zero except for Nishi who scores a meagre 3 points, bringing his tally to 90 points. A note says he will be done with 10 more points. The rest want Nishi to explain their situation since he knows quite a bit so he agrees as long he knows it. Nishi is a normal junior high school student and came to this place a year ago. Things have been happening repetitively like tonight. A number of people who’re supposed to have died are brought to this room. If they die, they get replaced. He has seen lots of people come and go and even crazier nights that this. He survived them all. Nishi goes up to Gantz and shows them the list of dead people and those at the bottoms are the recent dead ones. He says Kei is different than the rest because he knew the importance of the suit and put it on. Katou gets upset why he didn’t tell them in the first place and this wouldn’t have happened. His reply is that the target lets its guard down while they’re getting killed. Plus, he doesn’t care who lives or dies. He calls Katou the biggest hypocrite. He answers their question about whether they’re alive. He says yes as the people who are on the verge of death come here. His theory is that though their real bodies are dead, in here they’re like copies of a fax. He warns them if they return home, they better not tell anyone about this because nobody will believe them. He turns himself invisible and walks out of the door. Next morning, Kei sees himself lying in bed in his room, thinking all this was just a dream. He sees the TV news reporting Suzuki’s loss with his fight with cancer and Yamada’s scooter collided with a truck. Then he sees a report about a pair of high school students that went missing after saving a homeless drunkard in the subway. His worse fears realized when he sees the black suit on his chair. Yup, he isn’t dreaming.

Episode 5
Kei still finds it hard to believe that he is alive back in the real world. Nishi’s words of not telling to everyone else still rings in his head. After Nishi left, the trio are able to get out of the apartment and hail a cab home (now people can see them). Kei borrows the lady his school clothes (since he’s wearing the suit). When they drop her off, Katou asks for her name (why is he blushing). She is Kei Kishimoto. Wait a minute. Another person named Kei? Kishimoto lies around her house and answers a phone call. However it seems her mom on the other line is talking to her as though she’s a different person, saying her daughter’s in hospital unconscious and all. Katou gets an earful from her aunt who is reluctant to take care of her late brother’s children. She soon goes out with her own children. Katou and his little brother, Ayumu watches the news and the latter notices his damaged umbrella at the site and wonders why it’s there in the first place. Kei is in school and his classmate Matsumura tells him his problem of paying protection money. Like Kei cares. Then the delinquent Yonekura comes to collect his money but he doesn’t have any. Yonekura then makes a deal if Matsumura tags Kei, he’ll get all the money from Kei instead. The selfish otaku bastard did so and left Kei in his sh*t place. Yonekura ups the protection money to 50 grand and wants him to bring it to him after school. He is brought to the head of the gang, Tachibana. A senior karate guy approaches them. Acting tough, he wants Tachibana to stop picking on his juniors and return all the money he extorted. However all that toughness was fake because he gets beaten up real badly by Tachibana. So much so Tachibana extracts a couple of teeth from him to add to his sickening collection! Then he turns his attention to Kei, who is paralyzed in fear. He starts beating him up and Kei could do nothing since the suit he’s wearing underneath isn’t working. I’m not sure why at this moment, he starts thinking of dirty thoughts of Kishimoto. As he lies close to being dead, he has an erection (WTF?!). I’m not sure how this works but the suit powers up and Kei suddenly felt confident. He stands up and grabs Tachibana’s fist in his iron grip. After a while, he loosens his grip. Tachibana retaliates by throwing a punch but it backfires and not only loses a tooth but 3 teeth! Wow! It’s like he hit an iron wall! Kei, exuding cockiness now acts tough as he coolly walks away. When he returns, he sees Kishimoto sleeping outside his doorstep.

Episode 6
Kishimoto wakes up but catches Kei staring at her boobs. However she isn’t alarmed. She’s here to return a book he dropped when he lent his jacket. She then leaves but changes her mind and comes into his room to drink and even finish his dinner. After that, she leaves but soon comes knocking on his door again wondering if his place accepts ‘pets’. When Kei realized she is referring to herself, he gets shocked but nevertheless accepts her in. Kei must be feeling lucky, eh? Yeah, she even wants to take a shower. Dream come true for this pervert. But I guess to cool down, he goes out to buy some snacks at the convenience store. Along the way, he sees a bunch of biker gangsters beating up and stripping a guy who told them off for being noisy while his helpless son watched on. One of the gangsters, Tetsuo is a family man as he soon returns to his equally gangster wife and forces himself on her. Meanwhile Katou notices a bruise over Ayumu’s neck. He knows that his aunt abuses him but Ayumu doesn’t mind since they’ve suddenly intruded in her life so this is expected. Kishimoto’s mind is filled with Nishi’s words about being dead or alive and fax copies while she soaks herself in the bath. Then when Kei returns, they watch the TV and soon it’s bed time. Since Kei has no extra futon, she accepts sharing the same bed. Wow. Kei’s mind must be going crazy. He’s really sweating and starting to fantasize that this is his chance to rise into adulthood. Yeah, he bought condoms from the store in expectation of this. So lights off as Kishimoto takes off most of her clothes so as not to wrinkle it. However Kei notices something wrong because she just went to sleep. Then I guess he got the guts to even say that something should happen in this kind of situation: Sex. But Kishimoto gives him a best answer: “I’m your pet. You don’t have sex with your pet”. Haha! Spot on! Kei isn’t giving up yet and replies he once had a dog when he lived with his parents and hugged and kissed it. Kishimoto allows him to do so and the fondling begins. While he’s having a good time, suddenly she starts saying when she was a child, she was energetic and had lots of scars on her body. Including her recently slit wrist. However they’re all gone. When she returned to her home, she saw herself there! She wonders who she is and that there’s no place for her, no home for her to return. She starts crying and apologizing so Kei stops his immoral act. Yeah, lost your chance to lose your virginity, eh? Morning comes, the news is still reporting the mysterious subway disappearance of the 2 high school kids and the only clue is a broken umbrella and porn mag (oh, that Kei). Nishi is at the library doing research as he wonders when the next call will be.

Episode 7
Katou and Ayumu are being punished by their aunt with no breakfast because Ayumu accidentally dirtied her carpet. When she starts getting physical, Katou grabs her hand though he tries to remain cool and wants her never to hit Ayumu again. Kei and Kishimoto are buying groceries. Kei is shocked to see that old lady asking for directions and she is also the cashier. He takes Kishimoto and run back to his place. He tells her that this is a sign that Gantz is calling them again. He gives her his black suit to try and practice and soon leaves for school. Kishimoto wants him to accompany her after school back to her house as she wants to ascertain what her other self is doing. In other scenes, we see the Tetsuo working at a construction site with his biker gangsters-cum-colleagues. A granny and her grandson, Ryouta holding up a train ticket queue due to a few blunders. When Katou goes to school, he sees a classmate being surrounded by bullies. He gives that stare so the bullies take off. The bullies are discussing in the toilet about taking Katou out when a senior gay boxing club member, Onizuka gets interested in Katou. He wants to f*ck his ass. One of the bullies confidently goes to warn Katou about getting his ass f*cked. After school, Katou angrily barges into the toilet, locks the cubicle Onizuka is taking a dump and starts bashing his face till it’s all bloodied!!! He gets even more violent each time thinking about poor Ayumu and being abused by her aunt. Eventually Onizuka is beaten to a pulp as Katou leaves, leaving the other bullies shocked and terrified. Kei and Kishimoto are at a bookstore. We see a lady, Sei Sakuraoka talking to another female and knows she’s being stalked because of her instincts and goes talk to her. Also, a couple of girls spying on a pretty boy model Masanobu Houjou. Masanobu also knows he’s being stalked by a Sadako-like character and heads to one of the girls and is willing to pay if she borrows a bike. She gets ecstatic and persuades her brother for it. Kei and Kishimoto spy outside the latter’s house and they see the other Kishimoto coming out. But she walks pass by them like as though they do not exist. Kishimoto becomes disheartened. Other scenes see Ryouta and her grandma riding in a car to see the former’s mom, Tetsuo going out for a ride and to buy milk and Katou’s fist is trembling back home.

Episode 8
Kishimoto remembers how she was her mom’s favourite and had high expectations to study high. But when she failed, not only her mom cast her aside and called her stupid, her sister Shiori becomes her new favourite. She got so depressed that she slit her wrist. In reality, Kishimoto tells Kei about this and how she has been living all for her mom and being a good girl. But after what has happened, she don’t know what her other self will do and decides that she will live for herself from now onwards. When she starts saying that she’ll love him, Kei gets excited and thinks it is him (he is thanking the stars he still has his condoms). But all that happiness turns to disappointment when Kishimoto says she’ll confess to Katou, the guy she loves. Ayumu notices Katou up and he can tell something is wrong. He says hitting someone is wrong even if you’re stronger. He wishes for him not to die because he wants to live together with him. Tetsuo is out with his buddies when suddenly rival gangsters surround them. He realizes this is a trap. Nishi gets that feeling that Gantz will be calling them soon and thinks it’s about time. Kei isn’t giving up Kishimoto yet and gets this idea to massage her stiff shoulders so that he could fondle her boobs!!! Sicko! Suddenly they start disappearing to that room along with Katou. Kishimoto ditches Kei to go to Katou’s side. Jealous again, eh? Elsewhere Masanobu realizes the pillion rider is the stalker and wants her to get off but she isn’t going to do that. As the highway is jammed, he stops next up to grandma and Ryouta’s car. A sleepy truck driver rams into them and the vehicles go up in explosion. Tetsuo and his gang are fighting a losing turf war battle against the rival. Tetsuo gets stabbed. When he opens his eyes, he sees his buddies in the Gantz room. Along with them grandma, Ryouta, Masanobu and the stalker. As newcomers, they are confused and puzzled. Kei and the rest could only watch and notice how it’s like their first time. The gangsters see Kishimoto’s big tits and decide to take turns to f*ck her. She hides behind Katou. Kei tries to be a hero and tells them to stop but he froze in fear when the gangster returns a scary stare. Ryouta starts crying inconsolably so Katou decides to tell everything he knows, much to Nishi’s dismay. Of course the gangsters don’t believe him and laugh him off. Doesn’t this remind them of their first time too? Then Gantz plays that funny song again and words appear on it, reiterating that they’re dead and their new lives are up to by him. Then it shows them a picture of their next target: Suzuki Seijin. Hmm… Even have characteristics and favourite things too? The weapons draw out as the newbies have a look and are thrilled by its realism. Katou continues to tell them the importance of the suit. Nishi is upset that he gave away everything so Katou replies he wants to survive with everybody. Kei starts panicking because the pack with his name, doesn’t have a suit. He remembers he left it behind in his room. Oh sh*t!

Episode 9
Katou tells the newcomers to put on the suit but each have their own reason not to don it. Tetsuo confronts Katou about him being the leader or something and shoots him down about giving orders. While Kishimoto goes to change, the biker gangsters go peep on her and couldn’t hold it in anymore. They’re going to rape her but could you believe it? That bloody dog beat them to it?! Katou realizes what’s happening but before he could say a thing, Tetsuo reprimands them for doing this kind of stuff. But they tell him off to stop acting like their leader. Finally everyone except the biker gangster trio put on the suits. I wonder how the dog did it. Nishi then realizes Kei hasn’t put his on yet and taunts him. Yeah, after all this time, Kei’s got some problem saying it to Katou he forgot his suit and when he’s got the courage, Katou is interrupted with something. Kei thinks of taking one of the biker gangster’s suits but gets scared on the thought he may get beaten up. Katou then asks one of them to borrow Kei his suit but he isn’t going to. Though he’s not wearing but it’s his. But Nishi mentions that another person’s suit is only a set of clothes and that everyone here are rivals for survival. Kei starts to panic that he is dead meat. Because Nishi is reluctant to reveal anything further, he continues to mock everybody by giving his own views on what he thinks of them. For instance, Katou is a hypocrite and a violence impulse person (remember the time, when he grabbed the yakuza by the neck?). Kishimoto is a useless person and only relies on Katou, he thought Kei had potential but takes those words back and hopes he dies first (and die with dignity?!). Grandma and Ryouta are another bunch of pair that have no chance of survival and would most likely rely on somebody to survive (and it sure ain’t going to be him) and she spoils her grandson to satisfy herself. The biker gangsters are garbage to society and Masanobu just got the looks but the dumb kind. One of the gangsters couldn’t take it anymore and fires his weapon at Nishi, causing him to freeze. Katou realizes it’s a time lag. When the gangster is about to pound him, Nishi fires his gun at him. Shortly, that gangster’s head explodes!!! Pissed off Nishi tells he’ll kill anyone who points the gun at him or slows him down. He orders Gantz to start the mission now and soon everybody is transported outside. Kei nearly got run over by a truck when he sees robotic Suzuki Seijin with several alien birds in front of him.

Episode 10
I’m not sure what Kei is thinking but he thinks of changing the traffic light to red would make him stop? Obviously not. However, the alien just walked pass him. Kei points his gun but it’s only x-ray vision when he pulls the trigger. Kei notices one his bird is pecking on his shirt. The alien stops and asks him if he is Yuzo-kun. Of course he denies. But when Kei strikes the annoying bird of his sleeve, Suzuki Seijin gets upset and starts chasing him. Kei really runs for his life and regroups with the rest over a bridge. While the newcomers are either ‘amused’ with this Suzuki guy, Katou asks if he is dangerous. Kei warns the last time they fought with the Negi Seijin, they’re introduced to a little harmless one but another bigger threat came after them. Suddenly one of the birds gets killed. Suzuki Seijin gets angry and lets loose a deafening scream, causing Nishi to lose his invisibility (he’s the culprit who killed the bird). Nishi is obsessed in getting his final 10 points and fires at the alien but he is swift to avoid. Even if Nishi toggles his invisibility mode, Suzuki Seijin can still track him down till he is stranded in the river and even losing his gun. Nishi orders for someone to do something but the biker punks taunt him that they can’t do anything that they’re just trash. They continue to taunt him till Tetsuo punch him, Haruya. Tetsuo then says he blew off his pal’s head and wants him to apologize. If he does so, he is willing to help him. Kei disagrees about saving him because he badmouthed everyone. Tetsuo tells them that they don’t understand life (he has a kid, so he does). Though he doesn’t easily trust him, he’s going to die if nothing is done. He just wants a word of apology. When the alien gets close enough to fire another blast, Nishi punches him and sends him flying to the wall. Then he realizes his suit is leaking and is ruined. He yells for someone to help him. Tetsuo wants him to apologize but he remains stubborn and will not apologize for those who point a gun at him. The alien gets back on his feet to start chasing him with Nishi running in fear, still pleading for help. Katou decides to dive down and help him. He can apologize no matter how many times later but if he dies, they won’t find out about anything. He wants Kei to tell him how to use the suit (that is, to psyche up). Before he jumps down, he tells Kei that he is the person who wants to return home most (because of Ayumu).

Episode 11
However Katou is too late because Suzuki Seijin gives off another deafening scream that bursts Nishi’s eyeballs and ear drums! Nishi could still stand up as he yells somebody to kill this frickin’ alien. Suzuki Seijin turns his attention to Katou and submerges underwater. Katou draws his gun but Kei knows best that he can’t shoot due to his kind nature (like the last time with Negi Seijin). He starts shooting randomly in hopes of scaring him off as he carries Nishi off. Kishimoto pleads for someone to help Katou but the gangsters tell her to do it herself (yeah, why don’t she?). The biker gangster duo along with grandma and Ryouta decide to leave the scene and go home. Eventually she’s going to help him so Kei offers to help (is he trying to show off?). When Suzuki Seijin gets real close behind Katou and ready for another blast, Kei fires a gun but missed. Katou emerges from the water holding Suzuki Seijin in a strong bear hug. The stranglehold was too strong that an alien bird emerges out from Suzuki Seijin’s head. Kei uses this chance to send the alien bird away into the sky. Meanwhile a ray of light explodes one of the gangster’s head. Terrified Haruya, grandma and Ryouta run back to the rest and tell what happened. The rest gather around Nishi, barely breathing and in pain. They think something is wrong as the last time they were teleported back instantly. Katou thinks this isn’t over yet and that there may be another Suzuki Seijin. Using a tracker that Masanobu also had like Nishi, they are horrified to learn there is another one close by. Kei notices Nishi’s neck broken as the latter in a pitiful voice says how he didn’t hate anyone but rather how messed up society is. They learn how he killed himself by breaking his neck after jumping off the building to commit suicide. Kishimoto understands his situation well because they’re alike and wants him to live. Nishi starts calling for his mom, apologizing and being scared. He was just short of getting 100 points when he breathes his last breath.

Episode 12
Deducting from the recent events, they think if they leave a certain area in the map, they will die and that everyone has a bomb planted in their head. Katou is going to search for the other alien and wants Kei to stay here since he doesn’t have his suit. Kishimoto and Masanobu follow him. They also notice grandma and Ryouta have gone off on their own and will be going to search for them too. After they leave, Haruya holds Tetsuo and Kei to a ransom and wants them to do as they’re being told or else he’ll shoot them. The radar is ambiguous since it doesn’t distinguish foe or friend. Thankfully, they’re reunited with grandma and Ryouta but the next person they meet is Suzuki Seijin. There’s not only 1 of them, not 2, not 3, but 5 of them! Katou tells grandma to make a run for it. The aliens attack as Katou bear hugs 1 of them but the other aliens start blasting him! Kishimoto can’t pull the trigger (now does she understand why Katou can’t?) and gets blasted away while Masanobu just stood there like a rock. The alien bird that Katou is bear hugging emerges from the body and tries to make a run. Katou catches up to it and punches it unconscious. His suit then leaks and is ruined. The other aliens turn on him. Kishimoto manages to fire and kill one of them. Masanobu grabs another one and causes the bird to escape and run away. The others also escape. Then they see the bird Katou punched walking back to the body but died while it’s getting in. They realized that it’s probably trying to hunt grandma and Ryouta. They’re both hiding in a garage but the aliens have found them. Grandma tells Ryouta to run while she stays back to hold them off. Though Ryouta did make a run, he returns to his grandma who has taken quite beating from the blasts. They both embrace each other as the aliens prepare to blast them. Meanwhile Haruya has his hostages take them to an apartment (based on the radar readings from Kei). He wants Kei to enter the apartment and check it out for aliens. Upon entering the top floor, Kei panics when he sees several of the aliens coming out and in the middle room, a large bird man with his back facing towards him.

Episode 13
By the time Katou comes by, seems the alien are having a blasting party. Kishimoto and Masanobu plan to ambush them. When they fire their guns, it seems to have no effect. The aliens start turning on them. When they think they’re done for, the aliens’ head explode. Looks like it was some time lag thingy. Unfortunately grandma and Ryouta didn’t make it. Kei is being pestered by the aliens if he is Yuzo-kun. Annoyed, he answers yes this time. They start talking and laughing about happy things when an alien bird starts biting his neck. Kei tries to hold it in. Then he takes the bird away and gently puts it on the floor. But the aliens aren’t happy. As he walks towards the bird man, he accidentally steps on a little bird. Oh sh*t. The bird man approaches him so Kei pulls out a gun from underneath his shirt and fires but to no effect. He starts firing randomly but the alien and the final boss swiftly evade. Now it’s their turn to fire but luckily for Kei, the floor breaks as he falls through. The apartment starts collapsing and Kei uses all his strength to rush out. Katou and co reunite with them. Kei seems pretty confident that he ended everything by himself (now he’s bragging it). Suddenly the bird man grabs Haruya off into the sky and bites off his head! Then back on the ground, it confronts Kei. Katou realizes it is targeting Kei and wants him to run. However Kei is so pissed off that he is done running and is going to kill that f*cker. The bird man takes Kei on a night flight and tries to tear him apart. Not giving up without a fight, Kei pulls its mouth piece and causes him to be released. During his free fall, he pumps several shots into the bird man and eventually it explodes. Though, the hard landing on the roof might be quite painful. When everyone else catches up, they are relieved he is alright. Soon they are transported back to the room. Hey, that dog survived too. Where the heck has it been? Now it’s scoring time. Of course the dog scores zero (harsh comment from Gantz to “DO SOMETHING, DAMN IT!”). Kishimoto scores 10 while Katou obtains 5 and they deduce 5 points per kill and the more you kill, the more points earn and the higher chance of reaching 100 to be set free. Tetsuo (“biker dude with unpleasant face”) and that Sadako stalker (“disappear too much”) got zero each. Masanobu (“homo”) gets 10 points. The guys panic when they really think Masanobu is gay but of course he vehemently denies. Kei (“errand boy”) gets the largest score with 38 points. The survivors manage to leave the apartment as Katou mentions that they will eventually gather here in a few days’ time. Kishimoto asks Katou if he lives by himself but he replies with his little brother and relatives. She drops the idea and Kei feels all this sucks.

Episode 14
Kishimoto continues to live with Kei and they talk about Katou. Katou comes back from the store to see his aunt slapping and beating up Ayumu for causing another mess. He finds it hard to hold himself when she refuses to stop back and throws her to the cabinet. She kicks them out of the house. Kei is in school and starts fantasizing Kishimoto seducing him. Till his classmate teases him for getting an erection. Kishimoto is at the bookstore and sees Sei looking for a book she ordered but hasn’t arrived yet. Tetsuo tries to sell the gun to some guy for this month’s rental but since he doesn’t want it, he shoots him! He thinks he’s invincible. Katou and Ayumu move into a little apartment they rented. Ayumu seems happy. Katou goes to get some futons and spots a similar discarded white umbrella. He brings it home and carves Ayumu’s initials on it for him. Tetsuo is arguing with his wife because she is upset he didn’t come back last night and was unreachable. Plus, she thinks he’s fooling around with his biker pals and got a call from the construction company saying they didn’t turn up for work and had them fired. He even points the gun at her but she isn’t intimidated, thinking it’s a toy. Of course he puts it away when the baby starts crying. She tells him to get out. Kishimoto and Kei turn in for bed. Because she is constantly talking about Katou, Kei gets pissed off and tells her off to make up her mind. It’s like she’s always talking good about him but at the same time, she’s freeloading in his place. But he crossed the line when Kishimoto starts talking about how naive she is. She thinks Kei is also a great person and very much different from Katou. She apologizes and decides to move out. Tetsuo is being surrounded by rival gangsters. They’re going to pound on him when he takes out his gun. Pondering what the heck he is doing, he yells out to Gantz. A ray from the sky is fired at him. Tetsuo’s face is bleeding like mad when he gets a call from his wife before his head explodes. Remember Nishi’s words about telling this to those not involved in the game? Apparently as I found out, this is what happens: You die. So you’re really never ‘out’ of this game, eh?

Episode 15
Kei is upset that Kishimoto is gone but he gets a pleasant surprise because she comes knocking on his door. She hasn’t found a place to go. Would he reject her after showing him tears in her eyes? Oh heck, the next thing we see, HE’S F*CKING HER REAL HARD IN HOT STEAMY SEX!!! YEOW!!!! (Un)fortunately, that was just his what-if dream. Oh yeah. How could that been even possible. The real Kishimoto is wandering the streets and eating at a fast food joint herself. Kei thinks hard what he said to her last night when the doorbell rings for real. Thinking it’s her, he quickly opens the door but to his horror, sees that old lady! She’s here to tell him she took his advice and found that train station. It’s like she’s giving him a pinch of ironic sarcasm when she mentions to keep going and do his best. He then feels Gantz is going to make another call so he dons his suit and can’t wait to be transported so he could meet Kishimoto again. The usual suspects are transported back to the room and this time there are 9 newcomers (including Sei). The rest include a Buddhist monk, a foreigner judo guy, salaryman, hipster guy, afro guy, sci-fi guy, chubby gun otaku and a taciturn gun expert. Erm… Why is it every time the dog appears, it comes raping Kishimoto? Katou asks if she was with Kei. She lied and says yes but soon cries in his arms. The monk tells them this is a waiting place to determine if they go to Heaven or Hell and wants them to start praying. Kei tells him off that he’s wrong and that everyone isn’t dead but alive. Kei believes he can’t die yet because he hasn’t done important things yet (why do I have a feeling it’s about sex?). The monk takes defiance as a sign of not accepting you’re dead so he and the newbies start praying to Buddha. Katou tries to tell the rest what is going to happen next like Gantz singing and words appearing on it. Of course the newcomers don’t take him seriously till it really happens. Kei is ‘crying’ in the other room so Sei goes to talk to him. She wonders if she’s an otaku because he’s brother was one. Anyway, she knows he has just been ‘dumped’ and indicates that she likes him and she will help out if she needs anything. You what the first thing he asked? HE WANTS TO HAVE SEX!!! At first Sei was reluctant but gave in! They actually have sex in the middle of the hallway!!!! F*CK!!! They’re really doing it!!! Gantz lists 2 new alien targets: Ferocious Alien and Grumpy Alien. Yeah, they look like mean temple guardians. Time to suit up. Kishimoto takes hers to change but spots Kei and Sei in the middle of their unholy act and runs away. They shrug it off and continue f*cking! Well, at least they take it as a sign that they’re feeling alive because sex feels good! Hey, this isn’t turning into a hentai series, isn’t it?

Episode 16
Now Kishimoto’s head is filled with that sex scene. If she doesn’t care for him, why does she look so worried? The monk continues to tell everyone that Katou is a symbol of evil and not to be deceived when the latter tries to warn them and put on those suits. Kei (just finished his sex romp) doesn’t care if they die or not and just wants to kick alien butt. The sci-fi guy asks Katou several sci-fi theories and possibilities. Then they start disappearing. They see the timer now is 30 minutes longer, meaning they have half an hour more than their usual 60 minutes. Katou demonstrates the power of his suit. The judo guy decides to test out. His punches and kicks bear no effect. In the end only sci-fi guy and Sei put on the suits. The monk thinks those disappearing are going to hell but he too panics when he starts disappearing. Everyone is transported outside a temple. The salaryman guy isn’t going to believe all this crap and walks off. Following him are the monk and 2 others. Kei couldn’t be bothered with them. Of course when the salaryman walks out of range, his head explodes. One down. Katou tells them they can’t walk out of the area so they have no choice but to return to the temple gate. Elsewhere a pair of hooligans are beating up homeless people nearby. Reading the radar, the hunters need to get into the temple so Kei starts punching the temple gate to break it, much to the monk’s ire. With Kishimoto’s suggestion, Katou uses the x-ray gun to check if the statues guarding the gate are alive. To his horror, they see bones beneath it. So they’re fighting these behemoths? Big sh*t. Katou is going to fire the trap gun to send them away into the sky but Kei disagrees. He wants to shoot and kill them outright. After breaking the temple door and as he pulls the trigger, both statues start to move. Sh*t is starting very soon.

Episode 17
The hooligans splatter the brains of a homeless guy and are targeting another one. The gun otaku wants to go trigger happy but Kei wants to do the honours instead. Even if the statues are big, they’re swift to avoid the shot. Everyone rushes into the temple with the statues following suit. The monk trips and sprains his ankle. When the green one walks by, he thinks he’s safe but the red one targets him. The green one levitates the others and sends them crashing into the wall or ground. Kei manages to fire a shot and explodes the alien’s hand. Then they notice the monk is being targeted and everyone fires at the red statue’s direction but missed. The monk thinks his chanting stopped the menace but was soon squashed like a bug. RIP. The gang continue to fight the huge statues but they’re quick on their feet. They notice a homeless guy between the statues as Kei and Katou realize this is the drunkard that they saved at the subway. At this time, both statues stop moving like in some defensive mode so Kei and Katou decide to go save the guy. But the hooligans catch up and continue to taunt and mock the poor chap. I don’t know why but Kei and Katou are like hesitating and telling each other to fire to scare them off. Eventually it’s the gun otaku who goes crazy with the trigger. Of course the hooligans who aren’t part of the game think those explosions are just some fancy stuff and didn’t let it bother them. The gun otaku then targets the homeless guy. The statues start moving so one of the guys kick the gun otaku because he thinks he is making those statues upset. Yeah, if you want to shoot something, shoot those giants. The gun otaku nearly got squashed. The battle resumes. Kei thinks of shooting at their feet when they land. Seems they’re not only swift but smart too. Katou gets hit and he thinks he is done (snippets of Ayumu flashing through his head). Kei pulls off a cool sliding manoeuvre underneath the green statue and shoots its legs multiple times. Now he’s shooting like crazy! Seems to work. As for that homeless guy, he got bludgeoned to death.

Episode 18
It’s mind boggling that everyone stares in awe while Kei shoots like a crazy killer. And he’s loving it! Kei blasts the green statue’s legs and coolly walks away while its body tumbles. Then nails the final one in its head, killing it. His eyes seem to tell he really changed into a cold killer. This gives hopes to some of the guys as they rush to target the red one. Kei won’t give in so he charges alongside. In a swing of an arm, the red statue sends the gang flying away but Kei doesn’t easily give up. Everyone else cooperates and fire at the statue (including Katou). However even with its legs and arms damage, it still can move. Furthermore, it is predicting its move, especially Kei. Kei pulls off another daring move and lands on the statue while the rest fire at the other body parts. The statue then grabs Kei and he is going to be crushed. They plan to fire at other parts but the statue is smart, using Kei as a shield. Suddenly part of the statue’s head and other body parts explode. Courtesy of the taciturn gun freak sniping from afar. The statue falls, Kei is free and everyone rejoices in their victory. Kei walks back to the gang towards Sei, snubbing Katou and Kishimoto. The gun otaku revels in firing his weapon at the corpse while Sei asks Kei if it’s okay that they go out together once they return. He agrees. The hipster and afro guy follow the dog outside. They see another gold statue but a smaller one floating down to them. They think they can handle this one by themselves and do not need to call the rest. The hipster is overconfident as he takes it on. Back at the rest, they are shocked to see more of those gold statues in front of them.

Episode 19
Gantz eyes open. Judo guy gets upset and yells “F*CK YOU!!!” and charges straight and them all with his judo kicks to kill them all. Suddenly from the main temple, the mother of all statues emerges: A giant Buddha. Is this heaven or hell? Kei says that this Buddha is his and charges right up to it. He fires at the Buddha’s legs but finds his gun is too small to have any effect. And yeah, he got kicked away. Those without suits take on the smaller statues while the rest as Katou suggests help out Kei. However Kei is stubborn and insists this Buddha should be his and only his prey. The other guys are having a tough time taking out the smaller statues but are saved several times by sniper dude. A non-player, a woman named Yoshino Uehara is arguing with her partner (seems they’re trying to end an extra-marital affair) and enters the battlefield. Oblivious to what is happening, the rest are alarmed to see her in the path of Buddha’s foot. Kei recognizes her as his teacher. Katou, Masanobu and Kishimoto head over to hold the foot. And the couple are still arguing… It’s like watching the drama in pain, eh? Sadako surprisingly goes over to help hold the foot. Kei and Sei are preoccupied with a fast moving statue and they learn that the dog got killed. The statue then flees. When the ground starts to crack, Yoshino and the man run off. But the foot’s pressure has become too heavy for them to escape. It crushes them! Gasp! Thankfully because of their suits, they still survive. The Buddha seems to be targeting Kei and even manages to catch him (Buddha’s face is real pissed!). The rest fire at the Buddha’s legs but the effect to it is like mosquito bites. Kei manages to free himself after he fires several shots into its hand. The gun otaku is showing no mercy, killing a statue even if it begs for mercy. Then he got covered in its blood and he starts seeing terrifying visions. There are eyes everywhere. In panic, he rushes back to the rest but gets caught in Buddha’s palm. Katou tries to save him using his super jump but it’s too late, the Buddha bites off his head! Kei gets mad and psyches up, pulling up another daring move. Plunging straight into the Buddha’s forehead, he fires his shot point blank. The Buddha collapses and Kei appears out from it breathing real hard. Sei hugs him. Kishimoto holds Katou’s hand and says that as long Kei is around, they can go home. Masanobu checks his radar and is shocked to see 2 more targets and the time remaining is 30 minutes. Katou says that they have come this far to turn back and have got to finish this job. He adds that Gantz always attacks them in ways they can’t predict and they have to fight off all his attacks or they’ll never survive. He wants the group to be split into 2, making Masanobu the leader of the other group.

Episode 20
I’m just wondering why those without suits follow Masanobu’s team. I thought it should be more spread out. Katou’s group witness the corpse of the homeless drunkard who got killed in episode 20. Katou starts crying that they saved him for nothing and the kind of f*cked up world that they will return. Kei reminds him that he was the one who told him that he wants to return home the most. Then it hit him that he too wants to go home (for Sei?) unlike just now he thought he belonged in this place. They manage to find that fast statue but it’s still too quick for them. Thankfully the sniper takes it out. Masanobu’s group is inside the temple with lots of statues spewing inaudible words. He cautions those without suit to stay back but the judo guy goes up to one and starts punching. However the statue blocks and even breaks his hand! He is not giving up and knocks it down. He is to deliver the final blow but another statue kicks his head and breaks his neck! Damn his neck stretched! The rest are surrounded. Masanobu tells hipster and afro guy to make a dash outside to tell the others. With Sadako’s distraction, they manage to dash pass one of the statues and meet the rest. Masanobu and Sadako take on the other statues when the main golden statue with thousand arms comes up to them. By the time Katou’s team arrive, they are shocked to see Masanobu and Sadako’s body split into half! Sadako locked lips with Masanobu before they die. Kishimoto becomes distraught at the sight so Kei tells her to get a grip and promises her they will go home together. Katou becomes upset and fires at the main statue’s face. However its face regenerates like as though nothing happened. Kishimoto then see the statue discharge acid. She rushes over to protect Katou and tells Kei to protect him too. Her final thoughts are how she’s happy to be by Katou’s side. The acid splashes onto her body and dissolves her torso, splitting her body into half just like the other 2. Katou and Kei become very angry. Kei jumps over to the statue and fires several shots into its face till it explodes. However it regenerates and this time not only Kei’s feet dissolves but an arm is chopped off! Sei knows she can’t defeat this statue and wants Katou to tell what their next step is. Katou says to take Kei and retreat. He kisses Kishimoto and leaves her body. Sei manages to pull Kei’s body away before the statue splashes another round of acid. Taking refuge somewhere safe, Kei wants Katou to shoot and kill him because he’s already dying.

Episode 21
Katou fires on his leg and successfully stops the acid from further disintegrating. Katou wants Sei to take care of Kei while he rushes off back to the temple to try something. He takes the trap gun but a statue awakes and strangles him. The hipster and afro guy return wearing the suit and with weapons. They think they can sneak up on the statue from behind but it quickly slices off their hands! Sniper guy takes several shots at the statue but even to his surprise, it regenerates. The statue slices hipster and afro guy into several bits and fires a beam at sniper guy. He takes this chance to run but ultimately, he gets shot and it’s game over for him. The statue finds its way to Kei and Sei. Sei tells him to help take a book she ordered at the bookstore, Labyrinth and would like him to fall for her if she defeats it. Sei faces the statue and with her kickboxing background, she is able to dodge its swords. She manages to kick away one of them and splash the acid back on itself. Good thing it doesn’t regenerate. Sei is confident she can beat it but the statue’s beam fires right through her heart, killing her. Then when it goes away, Kei felt insulted that he isn’t worth killing. Katou psyches up and tears the strangling statue. He returns to Kei and is saddened over Sei’s death. After slapping Kei up (he thought he was dead too), he takes up a sword and goes off to find the statue. Confronting it, he thinks that sci-fi guy is dead since he sees his spectacles lying near the statue’s feet. Suddenly the statue says that he is Miyafuji (the sci-fi guy). He doesn’t remember how he got killed but it was when he was standing on the blood of the fallen temple guardians. Probably it killed him then by eating his brains. Katou doesn’t believe him and fires his gun. Miyafuji avoids and starts bragging he is powerful and that no one can defeat him. Katou learns how his gun works while avoiding Miyafuji’s beam. Unfortunately he got 1 of his arm ripped off. He manages to fire to gun to tie Miyafuji down and then send him to the sky. Elsewhere, Ayumu wakes up to find Katou not around so he goes out in the rain to go find him and to his dismay to no avail. While Miyafuji is being sent away, a green alien bursts out of the statue. It’s Miyafuji again and he’s not dead yet. Miyafuji punches Katou profusely like a punching bag. Thinking dearly of his brother, Katou uses all his strength to pick up the sword and slice away all of Miyafuji’s arms and his head. Just then, Miyafuji’s tail stabs Katou in the heart. In such awful timing, Katou dies just as the timer reaches zero. Kei is the only survivor that returned to the room. Gantz gives him 8 points and his tally is now 46. Angry Kei fires his gun at Gantz, ordering him to bring his pals back but it has no effect. Yeah, he lost his source for sex.

Episode 22
Two weeks have passed since the incident. Kei passes by that old lady sitting on a bench and ignores her. He also sees the clone Kishimoto coming by. The next few scenes set the ball rolling for the next stage. A good Samaritan, Daichi Nozaki gets washed away in the river after saving a child (the mom refuses to extend her hand to save him); A lady, Mika Kanda fighting off a stalker but gets stabbed; The bookstore manager, Giichi Furuta chases after a thief but gets hit by a car; That pair of hooligans who killed homeless people, Ryuuji Kajiura and Hajime Muroto are on the run from several MIBs but get shot in the end; A man being chased by debt collectors, Naozumi Saito so he jumps in the train’s path when there is no way out; Yoshino being chased by the wife of the man she has an affair with and gets stabbed. Kei readies himself and soon enough he gets transported to Gantz and sees new faces. Of course some of the familiar faces shock him like his teacher and the hooligans. Kei thinks back the things he did earlier like trying to get the book Sei ordered (it didn’t arrive yet), meeting Kishimoto’s clone. She got scared because she thinks he’s a stalker who not only knows her name but shares her first name. Yeah, he even told his story of how he liked this Kishimoto girl who looks like her and lives with him in his apartment but this Kishimoto doesn’t believe this creepy pervert. Yoshino wants Kei to explain but he finds it difficult. He even knows of her secret affair, surprising her a little. Kei tries to be like Katou and explain the workings of this world but as usual the rest do not believe him nor are they dead. Furuta decides to introduce themselves and how they died to get a better idea of what’s going on. There seems to be 3 who died from car accidents (the hooligans lied), 2 from stabbing, 1 from drowning and 2 from the train. Mika is unsure if she’s dead because when the stalker stabbed her, the book she had protected her (though it’s bloodied). Then Kei gets upset when Saito says he is relieved to be here so he grabs him by the collar and yells he has seen many of his friends died and they couldn’t come back no matter how much they wanted. He throws them an ultimatum, you believe me or not, but if they want to survive, then join him or else he can’t help you. So for now they agree to follow him when Gantz plays that Good Morning song again. Kei is pumped up for Gantz to show him the kind of alien that he is going to kill and rip apart. What’s this? Kurono Seijin? It’s him! Even the characteristics and quotes fit him. Oh sh*t!

Episode 23
Kei obviously think Gantz is setting him up (hey, he pointed his gun at him, right?). Kajiura and Muroto discuss among themselves that they’d play along with Kei before killing everyone as they think if they return alive, it’s like restarting their lives anew. However both of them also have this hidden intention to rid the other. Returning to the rest, Kajiura tries to play it cool and wants Kei to show them proof so they can believe him. Kei suddenly sees visions of Katou being beaten up by the hooligans and goes a little crazy. Likewise, the rest also see visions of their pursuers and attackers. Kei couldn’t take any more of this crap and fires his gun. Though it hit the wall, he realizes there is no time lag. Saito thinks he’s trying to kill them all and anything else he tries to say is deemed unbelievable. Except for Mika who still thinks they should believe Kei. Kajiura comes up with a conclusion that since they saw the power of the suit, they will put it on just in case while they keep watch on Kei. After they get dressed, they immediately get transported to the top of an adult entertainment building. Kei manages to wrest the gun from Muroto’s hand just before they transfer. I’m not sure why Kei has to point the gun at them while telling them to believe him. Who is going to? Furuta tries to be rational with him when Kei reveals those hooligans were the culprits who killed homeless people at the temple. Got any proof? Well, it’s like Gantz really has a grudge against Kei because all the neon signboards lit up saying Kei is a liar and a person who killed his friends. Thanks for that. Saito sees visions of his pursuers and goes crazy with the trigger. Kei uses this moment to escape. Kajiura and Muroto plan to hunt him. They shoot the elevator but Kei uses the suit’s power to escape. The rest continue to debate about their circumstances. Mika wants to believe Kei, Furuta trying to be the rational one, Daichi just observing while the rest are bent on taking down Kei to survive. As they barge into the room, Kei launches a surprise attack by throwing ice. Then he whacks Kajiura and Muroto with his cloth whip. Kei stops when Yoshino points her gun at him but she’s in a dilemma of what to do. Kajiura’s shows his true colours when he takes Mika hostage and if Kei continues to resist, he’ll have to hurt her.

Episode 24
Kei starts to hallucinate Mika as Kishimoto. He’s even hearing things from her like how it’s unfair everyone else died and only he survived. Mika tries to convince everyone that Gantz is the real villain and that Kajiura only wants to kill somebody. Kajiura takes the cloth whip and beats Mika up (luckily her suit protected her). Kei jumps in and takes Mika away to safety. On the way down, Mika said she dropped an important book, Labyrinth. Mentioning its first page contains a beautiful line “There is no labyrinth that you cannot get out”, she relates how she first met Sei at the bookstore. She hopes to repay her and wonders if she’s fine. Kei promises her to retrieve the book. He breaks the window and drops her out (the suit will protect her from the fall). Well, it beats flying down the stairs. Meanwhile the rest confront the hooligans and Furuta interrogates him if they really killed homeless people. Kajiura finally admits it, shocking the rest but Muroto puts up an Oscar-winning display that he was forced to kill against his will. Furuta tries to settle things via talk and shows them the bloodied Labyrinth book and even spouts that first page line. Yoshino pulls out her gun and points it at Kajiura. She feels remorse that she tried to kill her student and even if she returns, she won’t be able to live in peace. Kei has been eavesdropping the whole conversation, surprises Kajiura by jumping on him. However he too knows how to use the suit and hits Kei away. He then takes Yoshino as hostage and makes a run with Muroto. Nozaki asks Kei why he had come back when he had the perfect chance to escape so his reply is that he likes his teacher’s bra! The guys use the power of the suits to fly down the stairs. Yoshino regrets her action as she thinks Kei could’ve used this chance to escape instead of coming back to save her. Kajiura was slightly distracted, allowing Yoshino to pull a gun at him. This gave enough time for the rest to catch up. However they take refuge in the bar. Kei wants Furuta to be the leader since he himself isn’t good with those kind of things. He adds that he once had a cool leader who encouraged and unified them all but is already dead. When the guys barge in, they see Yoshino’s suit badly torn up and she badly beaten up. They see Muroto’s true colour as a cold blooded killer. Kajiura doesn’t feel the need of a hostage and tosses Yoshino back to Kei. In his arms, Yoshino knows Kei gets turned on watching her in class and was happy about it (?!). She apologizes before quickly making a dash to slash Kajiura’s forehead with a knife. Muroto shoots and kills Yoshino, laughing all the way. I don’t know why the rest are so shocked that they allow the baddies to walk away slowly and coolly. And they even miss when they fire! Outside, they are reunited with Mika. Kei returns the book to her and promises to protect her. Furuta continues to talk about Labyrinth so Saito can’t stand it anymore and wants to go on his own. He goes crazy and threatens to shoot.

Episode 25
Saito calls Furuta and egoist and that he doesn’t consider others in his talk. Furuta is upset so he decides to go confront the hooligans walk off. However the rest threaten Saito to help them out. Kajiura’s bleeding (he must really have lots of blood) allows him to be easily followed. Inside a cult centre, the hooligans chance upon a room filled with guns and bombs. As Kei and the rest enter the centre, they are ambushed by Kajiura from the top and Muroto from behind a counter. Nozaki is going to fire at Muroto but Furuta steps in the way as he wants to talk to him thinking he is an underage and just misled. He pleads to him to hand over his gun. Muroto obediently does so but shortly after pulls out a bazooka and fires behind Furuta at Nozaki. The explosion allows Kei to shoot at Kajiura, blowing off his arm. However the baddies run away. Though Nozaki is alright, seems Saito is the one who bear the brunt. Yeah, he’s in pieces. Furuta feels guilty and all this is his fault. He is going to end this as he picks up the gun and is going to deal with Muroto while he lets the rest handle the other one. Mika decides to follow him. Kei and Nozaki see Kajiura laughing like a mad man in a room filled with food. Kajiura says Gantz gave him something good and that he doesn’t feel any pain. His veins on his face are obviously protruding. Furuta and Mika see Muroto in a furnace place. Furuta points the gun at him so Muroto starts his innocent acting again. Kajiura and Muroto start singing the good morning radio song. In a surprise move, they both whip out their hidden gun and fire. Nozaki steps in front of Kei to protect him. Before he dies, he starts remembering who Kei is and warns him that the most dangerous one isn’t Gantz but humans. Furuta is also injured but is still breathing. Sadist Muroto plants a bomb in his mouth and ties the string around Mika’s neck. If she moves, his head will be blown off. To make things worse, Muroto starts hitting her and he’s enjoying every moment of it. Kei is super mad but Kajiura shows his back filled with grenades. Muroto says he is a saint compared to Kajiura because the latter is a psycho woman killer and likes to kill slowly. Kajiura also mentions he is a saint compared to Muroto because he only prefers to kill woman (though he claims Nozaki is the first guy he killed). Furuta couldn’t bear seeing Mika in pain so he on his own will pulls off the pin. Though he dies in the explosion, part of Muroto’s face is badly damaged. Yeah, it hurts like hell, doesn’t it? Kei hallucinates Kajiura as the thousand arm statue that killed Katou. The ‘statue’ mocks him so Kei gets psyched up as he kicks it away, kicking Kajiura as the mad guy detonates himself.

Episode 26
Kei lives but his suit is ruined. Mika tries to strangle Muroto but he manages to grab a gun and shoot at her. Kei arrives and gives his piece of mind while beating up Muroto in invisible mode. Mika is hanging on to her last breath as she feels guilty that Furuta died for him. She never thought people like him still exist, people who lived for the sake of others. She wants Kei to live on. Muroto strangles Kei from behind and breaks his stealth gear. He starts spouting his child abuse history how he was afraid of everything and that everyone will beat him up. Just like his mom who even broke his bones. He blames it on everybody and adults for making him kill. Kei lectures him back about that it doesn’t give him the right to kill and that he didn’t follow orders from Kajiura but just wanted to kill. Muroto replies about the wars in the world like Iraq and Palestine. Armies ordered and sent by the government to kill even though they don’t want to. To kill a terrorist, many innocent civilians are killed. People are murdered every day and that he is no different than the rest. However Kei says he hasn’t killed a single human and those he killed aren’t human anymore, including Kajiura. Kei says though he should’ve killed him earlier but he can’t because he made a promise to Katou and Furuta that they’d go back together as he is part of the group. Muroto doesn’t believe him and continues to beat him up. As he swings recklessly, the fire from the furnace burns Muroto. Kei understands Furuta’s words about the Labyrinth so he dives to push Muroto out of the flames. However he was just faking it because his suit is still working. Kei still has a final trick up his sleeve as he pulls the trap gun and sends Muroto away into the sky. Going up to Mika, she remembers who he is as she saw him at the subway. With 5 seconds remaining, poor Mika dies but Gantz pulls another cruel act as he stops time and transports Kei (carrying Mika on his back) back to the subway. He sees all the events being played over again. From the time Katou jumped down to save the drunkard to himself helping him out. Kei also sees Mika waiting at the platform, Nozaki and Furuta walking pass by. I’m not sure why the hell Kei did this but he went down on to the tracks. Then the train is seen approaching. He reflects the words of all his dead friends who encourage him to live on their behalf. Even that old lady thanks him about finding that train station and encourages him to do his best. So what can he do by himself? He faces the oncoming train and is adamant that he will not die. Gantz resumes the counter and as it reaches zero, Kei shapes his hand into a gun and ‘fires’ at the train. BANG! It’s morning and in Gantz’s apartment, the black sphere disappears.

Are You Still Game?
WTF?! WTF???!!! What kind of a crappy ending is that?! Even though that open ending leaves viewers to their discretion on Kei’s survival, I have to admit that the whole affair of this anime is rather engrossing and ‘addictive’. Yes, I was glued to the screen during those hunting sessions and you can say that I am one of those apathetic people who loves watching people die. Just to get things straight, I DO NOT enjoy watching others suffer and die. The fact that every major character dies except for Kei makes this one of the very few and rare animes whereby you don’t get a happy ending in which everyone goes home together laughing. Plus, I read that the author of this series had planned for everyone except Kei to die! The entire series is one big grim and dark affair. I mean, if you are hunting for aliens, you’d be nervous to do something that you are not familiar with. So partly the engrossing part that had my eyes stuck to the monitor is also you don’t feel relatively ‘safe’ for the characters. Death can strike at any moment and at any corner without prior warning. You’d be on your seat guessing ‘if it is going to be his/her turn to die’. I know that characters will die but the way they show them being vulnerable even if they’re cooperating together doesn’t help ease the tension. Even knowing that donning the suits will only help them so much as it too has its own limitations. Some may say the suits look weird, but if it saves your life, you better start wearing it for your own good. And the only reason I can think of why the suit is tight and nicely fits the respective person is for fanservice purposes… Okay, so it makes the guys look like they have the abs to flash too.

Kei as the main character, many would find him a moody and annoying guy who gets grumpy if he doesn’t get his regular porn (notice all his busty bikini babes pin-up posters on his room wall?). He changes from that kind of person to someone who is more responsible, mature and caring. He may not be perfect but at least he is more humane than some of the characters that show no remorse. Plus, he is the only character here that survives through the several hunting sessions. So if you don’t learn and adapt, you’re as god as dead meat. Katou is a good leader and many would feel that he is being ‘overshadowed’ by ‘too much of Kei time’. However Katou’s little behaviour has me wondering. If he really cares for the most useless people in the world and even cries for them, how come at times he seems to be a violent junkie and beats up those to a pulp without mercy? It feels like each time he enters this mode, he is like trying real hard to control this other version of him, as though he has a split personality. But notice he sheds less tears for the unfortunate as time goes by? Nishi is a character you’d love to hate because of his selfishness and couldn’t care less attitude. You can’t entirely blame him not only because of his past but because he has been through so much of this sh*t, you really get tired of it all. It’s natural too for newcomers not to believe the predicament they have just arrived so it all boils down to that individual on what he/she is going to do. I knew Nishi would die but I didn’t know it was that early. It isn’t even halfway and then he kicks the bucket. Some of the other characters are pretty annoying and useless so much so I just thought that they made up the numbers for ‘sacrifice’. For instance grandma and Ryouta. The spoilt kid is totally irritating whenever he wails and that pair don’t seem to contribute anything beneficial to the team (that I was hoping for) right up till their demise. The monk too is another annoying one. You can tell that his speech and actions have a hint of hypocrite in it. Good thing he died soon or else he could have been a major liability to the gang. And for other side characters, once the character related to them dies, you won’t know what’s going on anymore with them. For instance, Tetsuo’s wife and Ayumu. Speaking of more deaths, it is ‘interesting’ (not meant in a sadistic way) to see and know how some of the characters die in the real world before being transported to Gantz. However, I’m just wondering how Sei died (she rides a bike, so maybe a bike crash?) but for that statue aliens arc, we aren’t being told how any of the newcomers died. Heck, that arc has too many of them so instead of wasting time, maybe just jump straight into the action, eh? And that dog, it really mind boggles me how it survived all this time until the temple guardians. Luck ran out, huh?

As mentioned, Gantz is a pretty incomprehensible being. There are so many questions that you want to ask and know about this black sphere but you’d be disappointed at the end. So I guess to make up for this mystery part, they ‘distract’ you with the action sequences. Who is that guy inside the sphere? Why the heck is Gantz making and forcing dead participants to play in this deadly hunt? How does he select his participants? To where will those be sent away by the trap gun go to? Are they considered dead? On what basis does he gives the scoring? The apartment that Gantz is located, does the neighbours know about this room since well, Tokyo Tower is visible from its room. Has anybody else ever tried to enter this room during non-hunting sessions? Gantz spews sarcastic and cheeky comments from time to time that it makes you wonder if he really is enjoying all this. Maybe. At least in the final arc of the anime whereby he really wanted to see all the participants to kill each other! Another incomprehensible part of Gantz is that when he shows the hunters the aliens they are supposed to hunt. However in each time, there are much stronger aliens appearing later in addition to the ones shown. It’s like it’s part of his surprise to take them all out and wants to see who can realy survive the massacre. The old lady that bugged Kei for directions is also another enigma. At first I thought (and hoping) that she may have something to do with Gantz but at the end, there is no indication that she is related to the game whatsoever. Maybe she is just coincidence to Kei at certain time and place. I must admit that her persistence about asking for directions and even thanking Kei for it makes her creepy and a prime suspect to be related to Gantz. Then some unexplainable things like Kishimoto’s clone. If she has one, don’t you think the others too should also have? So again, how did this happen? Argh, too many questions and unexplained that makes me have a big headache right now. Sometimes I feel that the participants in Gantz’s world felt somewhat something similar to the Hollywood film, The Matrix. However I assure you that both are quite far from each other.

The action scenes may not be the best but coming from an age whereby computer and TV technology is just at its infant stages, they seem pretty reasonable. Another interesting thing is that some of the camera and angle views are from a first person’s perspective. So it’s like you’re looking through the eyes of a person, looking left and right, walking forward, etc. Also, some of the zooming in are smooth and you can really see the non-jerky animation when the view goes around. With the little mixing of CGI effects, you get this feel of a ‘3D’ effect, you know, it’s like when you put several card board layers in a theatre and the difference between the objects cast that kind of 3D effect. Also said earlier on about the amount gore. Each episode never fails to gross you out. Even during transporting scenes whereby you can see the body slowly disappearing from top to bottom and the innards like muscles and bones are clearly visible. If you’re not used to seeing bodies mashed up, parts splattered everywhere and blood soaking the scenario, you might want to prepare a barf bag in case you intend to continue to watch this series. Though this series is definitely all the elements for mature content, the part which throws you off is the mid-intermission because we hear a group of innocent and cheery children’s voices saying “Gantz!”. Hmm… Weird. Perhaps to ease all those tension? Nah. The opening theme, Super Shooter by Rip Slyme has rap elements in it. With half of the words in English and lines like “Die! Die! Die!”, “Beat you up” and “Live crazy”, you can tell what kind of show this is going to be. The ending theme by Bonnie Pink, Last Kiss is a slow piece with a hint of separation.

After finishing watching the series, I was a little interested to know a little more on the progress of the story. I went to the trusty site of Wikipedia to do a little browsing and as I read, the anime series covers only 1/4 of the manga that is currently on-going. Then there are much more shocking revelations that I probably wouldn’t have seen it coming (major spoilers ahead!). For instance, we have more characters (there’s a whole bunch that I am unfamiliar with on Wikipedia. Yeah, more people going to die), more tougher aliens to deal with, other bunch of Gantz players around the world, the resurrection of certain characters like Nishi and Katou (yeah, believe it!), vampires (that’s right, believe it!) and, wait for it, a full scale alien invasion called Katastrophe! Say what?! As far as I understand, Gantz isn’t related to this invading alien force and from where the manga is right now, all the participants of the game are freed and are using Gantz’s weaponry technology to battle against them. Because of this, I also get to know that by scoring 100 points, that participant is able to choose whether he/she wants to be free from the game. And as I have read, Kei manages to do so but he chooses to stay back and play the game because of the other option: To revive his dead pals. So that explains it. Man, that’s got to be a lot of killing. He’s surely a veteran at this stage. So even if God sends his angels on Apocalypse, I guess you don’t need a certain angel’s help because Kei is self-sufficient to kick ass and maybe does it in style. Shoot to kill! Well, with the events that are happening in the manga, I think I’ll just leave my enthusiasm for the series at where the anime ends. By the way, the final arc that Gantz wants Kurono Seijin to be killed is totally an anime-only filler arc. No wonder Gantz is acting unusual as ever. Which gives rise to that crappy ending… Sighs…

I still haven’t watched the live-action film as of to date but there is a sequel to the movie called Gantz: Perfect Answer. Deducting from the second title, I guess we’ll get some answers on what this whole thing is about. But then again, don’t get your hopes up. It’s Gantz you are dealing with. So yeah, when you die maybe this is a test to see if you are worthy of going to heaven, hell or another shot in life. If I ever do really get transported to such a room, I want to have a person like Kei and Katou around. Or at least someone who looks like them. Someone who can cover my ass if I am not good enough to take out aliens. I don’t play enough alien blasting or dragon slaying games to be ready for this. Or maybe I need a busty babe, just in case… And somehow I have developed a fear of taking trains now…