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26th October 2012

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The Vampires of GANTZ - A Possible Look at “Emotional Vampires”?

The Vampires of Hiroya Oku's GANTZ.

Have you ever thought about what it’s like to be a vampire? What if I told you that there are people that there are vampires out there and you could be one too? No, I’m not talking about those crazy people that try to be real-life vampires by drinking blood, but those who put a mental strain on others relationship-wise. The crazy world of Hiroya Oku’s GANTZ has been known to freak readers out with its violence and monstrous aliens. Midway through the series, things took an interesting turn as Oku introduced the Vampires, a group of individuals whose existence is to make the Gantz players’ lives a living hell. While not true “vampires”, the Vampires in this series reflect the desires of those who want to drain your life emotionally. In essence, we can all be “vampires”. 

The Vampires first made their appearance in Volume 14 of GANTZ. After the Gantz players managed to succeed in a tough mission, the Vampires decided to gun them down while Gantz was transporting them back to their home base. The players managed to escape, but are left wondering about the identity of their sudden assailants. We then learn the Vampires are superhuman beings who have been injected with nanomachines. The only traits that make them “vampires” are the need to drink blood and weakness to UV radiation (though they can take a drug to be immune to sunlight). The Vampires hate the Gantz players and have worked with the aliens targeted by Gantz in order to defeat them. In essence, they are the “human rivals” of Gantz. A homage was paid to them as they appeared in the 2nd live-action GANTZ movie as “Black Suit Aliens”. 

The Vampires make a huge impact in their first appearance against the Gantz players.

So, are human beings “vampires”? When asked about the creation of the Vampires in an old interview, Hiroya Oku said he wanted human enemies and that the “vampire” character exists naturally. Does he see people as “vampires” that walk the earth? Maybe not physically, but perhaps emotionally. Emotional vampires are people that you could consider to be the “toxic friend”, “Debbie Downer”, etc. There’s actually a book about them out.

When you look at the Vampires, they seem to be the type of people that want to control you. The main goal of the Vampires is to take revenge on the Gantz players for killing aliens. They believe that they are right and will resort to any means necessary to attack anyone related to Gantz at any time (regardless of whether or not the players enjoy killing the aliens). What’s interesting is that later on, two of the Vampires become part of the Gantz game and go to Osaka for a mission. They tried to ally with the aliens they were facing, only to be double-crossed by them. After the end of the mission, the two Vampires developed second thoughts on killing our heroes.

The leader of the Vampires has second thoughts on killing Gantz.

Maybe that’s the premise behind the Vampires. It’s their emotions that make them “vampires”. Perhaps they realize their actions are wrong. In reality, that’s the key to not becoming an emotional vampire. How do we see that our negative actions are draining others? Do we need to step into their perspective and experience the same negativity they face? 

Sometimes, whether we like it or not, the dreaded (sun)light needs to shine right upon us. It will burn, but whatever doesn’t kill us will make us stronger. 

This post is part of the Vampire Manga Movable Feast hosted by Chic Pixel.


Tagged: Chic PixelDark Horse ComicsGantzHiroya OkuManga Movable FeastVampiresYoung Jumpemotional vampiresmangamanga charactermanga psychologypsychologypsychology of emotional vampiresseinen manga

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