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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”.
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Don’t you just love that smirk? In my opinion, he was the best character in the 2nd part.
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If there’s one thing that makes Hiroya Oku’s GANTZ highly entertaining, it’s the various number of personalities that partake in the deadly alien missions. You got your wholesome characters and you have your morally corrupt ones. One crazy character in particular is the rival character to Kei Kurono, Shion Izumi. He is a extremely troubled youth who only seems to find solace & peace when hunting aliens. When Izumi was out of the game, he resorted to violent means to thrust himself back in. His character is a reflection of emotionally-disturbed youths who aren’t raised properly and/or have been disappointed in society.
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After seeing the 1st Gantz movie, I was wondering whether the 2nd part would have a chance of premiering in America. The 1st part drew much attention and made it big at the Japanese box office. This past Saturday, Japan Society fulfilled my wish as they showed GANTZ: Perfect Answer, the conclusion to the Gantz live-action movies, to a sold-out audience. Was it a satisfying end? Let’s just say that things started out with a bang, but ended with a few pitfalls.
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If you’re living in the New York area, Japan Society’s JAPAN CUTS will be happening this month. This Thursday will mark the North American premiere of Osamu Tezuka’s epic biography of Siddhartha, BUDDHA. It will be shown on Thursday, July 7 at 6:45pm. If you can’t make it this Thursday, no worries. A repeat showing will be on Sunday, July 10 at 12:30pm.
And on Saturday, July 9, Japan Society & the New York Asian Film Festival will be co-presenting the live-action movie adaptations of Hiroya Oku’s popular sci-fi manga series, GANTZ. The first part will be shown at 12:30pm, followed by the North American premiere of the 2nd part “PERFECT ANSWER” at 3:00pm. For those who were horrified by the dubbing of the first part shown back in January, both movies will be in Japanese with English subtitles.
Tickets ($12 each) are limited. Please call the Japan Society Box Office at (212) 715-1258, Mon. - Fri. 11 am - 6 pm, Weekends 11 am - 5 pm. *UPDATE: Both Gantz movies are SOLD OUT.*
I’ll be reviewing GANTZ & interviewing Gantz fans this weekend. NY Japanese culture fans, see you guys there!
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I managed to catch the live-action movie version of GANTZ (starring Kazunari Ninomiya & Kenichi Matsuyama) last night at AMC Empire 25 Times Square. As a huge GANTZ fan, I was looking forward to see how this movie was going to turn out. After watching the film, I have to say is that it’s a good movie, but there was more potential for it to be amazing.
GANTZ, as I discussed in an earlier entry on the series, is a science-fiction action manga series that focuses on a “game” where people who died are mysteriously summoned by a black orb called Gantz and forces them to go on missions killing aliens. It is also a very violent series. The movie follows the same concept as the source material, but with multiple alterations. The violence was toned down, some characters were scrapped, and the main characters are in college or working (in the manga, they were still in high school).
(Two pretty boys are in for one trippy experience.)
Overall, the movie did the manga some justice. The 1st part covered Volumes 1-8 of GANTZ. However, what was missing was the character development & edginess that made the manga the addictive series it is. Joichiro Nishi’s character was not really nihilistic as it was in the manga. He still acts like a prick in the film, but he doesn’t talk about how humans are pathetic. Kei Kishimoto (Yes, she was naked in the film) wasn’t subjected to abuse in the Gantz room as she was in the manga. There was a scene between her and Kei Kurono and I bet some fans wanted to hear the “pet” reference (in the manga, she asked Kurono if she could become his pet). The only super-serious character development was a scene between Kei Kurono & Masaru Kato when they were happy to see each other, after the Tanaka Alien battle. It looked like they were about to make out. Those who saw the movie know what I’m talking about.
The action was done pretty well and the aliens looked nice. Apparently, the budget was $40 million for the two-part movie. The Gantz suits looked amazing & well-detailed. The weapons were very realistic.
(Look at that sexy suit.)
The dubbing started out decent at first, but it grew to become very awkward & horrendous. Whose idea was it to dub the movie in English? It’s not really good and it doesn’t do the movie justice. The dub’s flow was very inconsistent with the actors’ mouth movements. Kazunari Ninomiya even said that he didn’t like the idea of dubs. If one of the main actors has a concern, why don’t you listen to him and release the 2nd part in pure Japanese with subtitles?
Another thing to point out was the theme of the movie. They made it more of a positive, feel-good attitude (everyone has to make the most of life), when the manga has more of a pessimistic, survival-of-the-fittest feeling. I have mixed thoughts about this, but overall, it’s understandable that the theme has to be more cheerful because you don’t want to turn off movie viewers not familiar with GANTZ and you don’t want to give them a ending suggesting that humans are nothing but selfish beasts.
(You have to admit: she was pretty hot.)
As I said earlier, I did enjoy the film despite its shortcomings and I’m highly anticipating the 2nd part this April. It appears that the 2nd part will cover the development of the Tae Kojima/Kei Kurono relationship, the Tae Kojima mission, Seiichi Kikuchi (a character who investigates the Gantz incidents), the Vampires (a group of people wanting to kill all Gantz fighters & also my favorite characters in the series), and possibly a variation of the Osaka storyline. Basically, Volumes 14-25 of the manga. A lot of material to cover for the 2nd part, but they could be setting up for a more polished film.
The movie gets a B for trying. What did you guys think?
(Tickets were provided courtesy of Fathom Events.)
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“Your lives are over. What you do with your new lives is up to me!”
If there is one series that really defines the essence of seinen manga, it’s none other than GANTZ. Hiroya Oku’s science-fiction tale is an ultraviolent & grotesque one that doesn’t seem to stop at pushing the boundaries of craziness in mainstream manga. Despite all of the graphic violence & excessive nudity, it has captivated Japanese audiences and also the entire world. As some of you know, Gantz has two live-action movie adaptations coming out this year and American audiences will get a treat as the 1st of the two movies will premiere this Thursday, January 20 at 333 theaters across the U.S. before the Japanese release on Saturday, January 29. As Dark Horse Comics (U.S. publisher for Gantz) describes in the back of one of the volumes, Gantz is a look at why people are fascinated with science fiction & the idea of death matches. (HUGE SPOILERS AFTER THE JUMP)
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The live-action movie adaptation of Hiroya Oku’s hit seinen manga series, GANTZ, will be screening in the United States on January 20, 2011. All screenings will have a interview, following the movie, with 2 of the main stars of the movie, Kazunari Nimomiya (of ARASHI) & Ken’ichi Matsuyama. These two play the roles of the main protagonists, Kei Kurono & Kato Masaru, respectively. The movie will be released in Japan on January 29, 2011.
All I can say is that I will be catching this movie on the day it screens in New York. I’m interested to see how they will replicate the graphic violence & sexual nature of the series. Though, I’m more happy that the Vampires will be represented in the movie, judging from earlier trailers I saw.
I do find it a little suspicious that Japanese companies are trying to get 300 U.S. theaters to screen GANTZ. However, it is easier to market GANTZ to a certain degree. After all, it’s a mature, violent, sci-fi action thriller.
I’m planning to do a GANTZ-related post around the release of the movie, so stay tuned for it.