Ah, Studio Gonzo. I see you are up to your old tricks again. While you certainly did a nice job with Last Exile and Welcome to the NHK, you decided to return to form with Gantz. And by return to form I mean, produce really shitty anime. So, what is Gantz, you ask? That’s kind of a tough question. Let me see if I can answer it for you.
Gantz is about two guys who try to outrun a subway train. Last time I checked, subway trains can go a lot faster than a person. Why they got in front of the train is not important. In fact, any thinking at all while watching Gantz is probably a bad idea. You might wind up giving yourself an aneurysm or something. So, anyway, the two guys get splattered by the train and die. Next thing we know, they are revived in some sort of quasi-afterlife. The afterlife has them participating in a game where they compete against other dead people to hunt down and kill aliens. If they can score 100 points, then they get to live a normal life again. Now that sounds all nice and good, but the whole aesthetic of the series takes on a creepy, S&M vibe. The players dress up in black, skin-tight bondage gear. This fetish gear comes with lots of guns, further emphasizing the pain aspect of S&M. There is a gigantic black ball gag (which, sadly, is too large to fit in anyone’s mouth) that doles out the guns and names of the targets to be killed.
Each episode goes on senselessly as the characters track down some aliens and fight them. The aliens have incredibly boring character designs, are stereotypically difficult to kill, and offer nothing in terms of advancing characters or plot. Plus, they engage in retarded activities like eating green onions. Wow, what a frightening alien! The human characters don’t fare much better. In fact, they are all idiots. Naturally, they run into dangerous situations with manly bravado, do not take two seconds to create a plan of attack, and scream the most overused line in anime, “I’LL NEVER FORGIVE YOU!” Just about the only satisfaction I got from watching this series was that I hated every character, and I got to watch all of them die.
Gantz tries to be hardcore. It has sex, violence, and sadism. Often, all three at once. Even though it has nudity and geysers of blood, it still comes off as dull. While Elfen Lied was able to incorporate those features into an interesting story with compelling characters, Gantz has no story and its characters are all two-dimensional. The violence isn’t clever, it’s not exciting to watch, it’s not meant to invoke a sense of irony, hell, it’s not even well animated. Blood and tits are fun, but when there is just blood and tits and nothing else, you might as well be watching porn. In that respect, Gantz falls into the same category as Blue Gender, an equally shitty violence porn anime.
This show isn’t hardcore at all. It tries too hard, and fails. You know those people who tried so hard to act cool they ended up looking like dorks? Well, that’s Gantz. Instead of jam-packing the series full of senseless violence, they could have taken a few minutes to attempt to include a story. That would have gone a long way. But no, this is Studio Gonzo. These people would rather throw in a shitty CGI animation than write two sentences of plot in a script.
Gonzo’s usual stuff is at play here. The animation starts out strong, and gradually declines as the series goes on. Shitty CGI is everywhere. There is no coherent plot. The music is annoying. The character designs and their bondage gear suits are terrible. The acting quality is subpar. Although, when your lines consist mostly of screaming at aliens, how good can it really be?
On the other hand, at least there aren’t any fucking moe characters like Kanon and it isn’t some godawful slice of life series like Lucky Star. If you look at it that way, then violence porn isn’t the worst thing anime has to offer.