Gantz is a Seinen manga written and illustrated by Hiroya Oku published by Young Jump from 2000 to 2013. It contains a total of 383 chapters divided in 38 volumes, and is categorized as a Sci-Fi, Psychological, Thriller, Horror and Ecchi manga. It mad such a hit that it got an anime adaptation of the same name, two live action movie adaptations (Gantz 1 and Gantz 2: Perfect Answer), a CGI movie adaptation (Gantz: O) and a spinoff manga of a gender bend alternate universe Kurono Kei named Kurona Kei (Gantz: G).
The story begins after the death of two students, hit by a Tokyo subway, both Kurono Kei and Kato Masaru find themselves afterwards inside a locked room in Tokyo with a bunch of unfamiliar people and big black ball centering the room. The big black ball spawn lasers that form a human being out of thin air, a girl called Kishimoto Kei that will join Kurono and Kato in their click. At this point, the big black ball starts talking, identifying as Gantz, and informs everyone inside the room that they’re from now on toys in its game.
A death game in which it issues creatures (aliens) that everyone in the room should terminate in a given time span . This is basically Gantz. Gantz gives as a reward, variable amount of points relative to kill difficulties, eventually giving a choice of getting one’s life back or bringing a loved one back to life. Kurono, Kato and Kishimoto dive into this game with the purpose of cooperating to get each other’s lives back, not knowing of the perils lying ahead, trying to survive each mission.
The manga features three main arcs (or phases).
- An arc of nine missions of which the first three got animated adaptations in addition of a filler mission featured only in anime.
- An arc of high difficulty semi impossible mission leading to a global scale event.
- A final arc of revelations about Gantz and a conclusion of the overall story.
Gantz is such an excellent work of science fiction that I don’t know where to begin. For starters, the illustration is sublime from the very first page and it gets even better, Oku’s art style and detailing is on a whole other level even with a veteran manga artist’s standards. It also features the pillars of what makes a work a science-fiction; aliens, futuristic gadgets, philosophical paradoxes and dilemmas, you name it, Gantz has it.
That, in addition of lots of gore and violence, much more or less explicit sexual content, so I do not advise it for -18 year old readers. The design of the suits and the weapons as well as the aliens goes from decent to unparalleled in a matter of 10 volumes or less.
But what I consider the greatest quality about Gantz is Kurono’s radical hard earned character development. I see it as the best character development of all times. At the same time, Oku doesn’t neglect the other characters and you can feel depth in them.
The only drawback I can think of is the ending of the manga, it’s conclusive but far from satisfying for a majority of Gantz readers, but overall, I give Gantz a rating of 9/10 and you’ll find I did not overestimate it after all.