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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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If you watched the first episode of Masakazu Katsura’s ZETMAN or read the first volume of the manga, there were moments where the main character, Jin Kanzaki, becomes emotionally confused after the death of his grandfather, Gorou Kanzaki. Jin would then be under the care of Akemi Kawakami, a hostess who Jin saved and would later quit her job to support him. There’s one particular scene where Jin and Akemi take a bath together. Akemi asks Jin about his parents. Jin says he only had Gorou, to which Akemi hugs him tenderly and Jin begins to cry over his grandfather’s loss. It makes you think about the importance of teaching children how to grieve.
An article on Psych Central talked about what will happen to children if they are not able to grieve over losses. If left to their own devices, children will become extremely depressed, become angry, and try to avoid loss as a way to cope. While the anime does show Jin’s confusion, the manga went even further. There is a scene in the manga (after the bath scene) where Jin and Akemi get into an argument on Christmas Eve. Akemi buys new clothes for Jin after taking him in, but Jin refuses to wear them because he only wants to wear his grandfather’s clothes. Akemi yells at Jin for not being able to get over Gorou’s death. Jin gets pissed when Akemi mentions Gorou, but she doesn’t mind as she decides to make it her goal to raise him properly due to his past.
Children need a person like Akemi to understand that loss is a part of life. It also doesn’t hurt if the person taking care of them is tough and keeps on fighting despite trauma. Akemi gets her face slashed, but she doesn’t let it get her down. In today’s world, there are kids who overreact to even the smallest and most insignificant type of loss that it’s not even funny.
I don’t know about you guys, but the Jin/Akemi moments really got to me when I first followed ZETMAN. Watching the anime adaptation just rekindled those feelings. It’s moments like these that make me love the vast world of manga. I’m sure you all feel the same way too.
Remember kids, losing something doesn’t mean everything’s all over. For one thing you lose, you still have other things that will make you happy and keep you going.
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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.