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Gantz #2: Aftershocks PDF Print E-mail
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R2 DVD Reviews
Wednesday, 12 April 2006 00:00
Volume 2 (Cover Art)With their first battle for Gantz out of the way, Kurono, Kishimoto and Kato return to "normal" life for a while - although after their experience, normal is a hard thing to be.  Both Kishimoto and Kei find themselves having to deal with different sets of issue, while Kurono has to deal with is raging hormones - all the while waiting for the next call from Gantz to go play the game...

5 - That Means At The Time...
Kurono's back to his normal high-school life, while the media are left to puzzle over where his and Kato's bodies disappeared to after the train incident.  The return to school isn't much fun, either, as a friend under pressure by the school hardmen for money "tags" him to be the next victim.  Can he come up with !00,000 Yen on one day's notice, or will he find another way out of the problem?  After Nishi's comments about them being copies, he's also got time to think about whether he's really himself - something that's just become of vital importance to Kishimoto, as she's just returned home to find her "original self" survived her suicide attempt...

Show me the moneyPleasant surprise

6 - All Right!

It's Kurono's lucky day, as he comes home to find Kishimoto asleep on his doorstep - after finding she can't really go home (since her original is still alive), she's looking for a place to stay, although it takes her a while to get around to admitting that.  Even then, her way of asking is a little unique - "Could you keep me as your pet?" - but Kurono's just fine with the concept.  If only his hormones were a little more controllable.  While he's having a good time, though, Kato's experiencing the darker side of life as he has to deal with his abusive aunt...

Ideal womanWelcome home, honey...

7 - We're After You
The media are still trying to find out what happened to Kurono & Kato - while they only have the flimsiest of clues to go on, they're making some progress.  Kato's still having to deal with his aunt, who's very quick to dish out the abuse but not so keen to take it.  He's not really able to take out his frustrations on her, but when the bullies at his high school decide to pick a fight with him, he gets a chance to get his anger out of his system.  Meanwhile, Kurono receives a hint that Gantz will be summoning them again soon, and does his best to teach Kishimoto how to make use of her suit before it calls, but she's more interested in paying her original self a visit...

Subtle hintStitch this, Jimmy...

8 - Uh Oh!
Wondering why Kishimoto tried to commit suicide?  The pressure of parental expectations.  She didn't live up to her mother's lofty academic expectations, and the disappointment from her was palpable and too much for her to bear.  Seeing her original continuing in that life has given her a new lease on her own, though, as she realises she no longer has to worry about what other people think or expect.  She has a new goal in life: finding love with Kato (much to Kurono's disappointment - looks like his condom stash will never be used now...).  She gets to meet him again sooner rather than later, too, as a new round of the game begins...

Final moments......before the game begins

There are some fairly big themes explored here, that give Gantz more depth than I was ever expecting -  which just goes to show how difficult it is to judge a series by its first few episodes.  First up, there's the issue of just how "real" our players are - which is of particular concern to Kishimoto as the "real" her is still very much alive.  The way this plays out, along with the revelations about why she tried to kill herself in the first place, really do add to her character and move her along towards becoming a more cheerful, optimistic character.  If only the game will allow her to live long enough to enjoy it.

The comedy angle comes from Kurono's attitude towards Kishimoto after she moves in with him.  On the surface he's a complete and utter bastard towards her, but I challenge any male not to see something of their teenage selves in the way he behaves - there's a level of honesty in his reactions that's completely unexpected.  It also fits with the generally dark theme of Gantz.  Of course, it ruins Kurono's chances of ever being seen as a likeable character, and I'm still a bit worried about the long-term appeal of a series where one of the leads is so unsympathetic.

Finally from the leads there's Kato's efforts to protect his little brother from his aunt's abuse, which give the first hints of the rage that lies beneath his confident & proper exterior.  He can't take it out directly on his aunt, but he's damn well prepared to take it out on anyone else who gives him reason to - an attitude that will probably work to his advantage in the game.

Interspersed through all of this are two more plot threads - the ongoing attempts of the media to track down Kato & Kurono & solve the mystery of their disappearance after the train incident, and the introductions of the latest batch of soon-to-be-dead "players" for Gantz's game.  Both arcs are interesting enough, although there's a certain "get on with it" feel to the introduction of the new players as you know they're not likely to make it past the first battle.  The media side is a bit more interesting, as it could well have repercussions further down the line.

If you hadn't guessed yet, I was impressed by this volume, something I never really though I would be with Gantz - the first volume took a bit too much delight in its visceral nature for me to realise there'd be hidden depths.  There are, and it raises the show's standard greatly.  The game provides the short-term, "hell yeah!" fun, but there's more to Gantz than that - and that makes it well worth watching.

Rating - ****

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