Director: Shinsuke Sato
Screenplay: Yuusuke Watanabe, from Hiroya Oku
Cast: Kazunari Ninomiya, Ken'Ichi Matsuyama, Natsuna, Takayuki Yamada, Ayumi Ito
Producers: Takahiro Sato
Print Source: New People Entertainment
You want answers about the text-scrolling, arsenal-concealing, reality-bending black ball sitting in the centre of a blank, unfurnished room in an apartment in Tokyo? No doubt the ring of reluctant cyber-gladiators gathered before this omnipotent onyx sphere, all of them decidedly dead yet somehow impossibly alive again (and several of them quite hot in their skintight, cyber-armoured bodysuits), would like some answers too. But the black ball, Gantz, isn’t quick to reveal what lies behind its godlike capabilities, nor the strange game of search-and-destroy it directs, pitting the assorted afterlifers against increasingly weird alien opponents. But there are new players in this game — and a new, albeit small, black ball in play.
No waiting in endless, exasperated suspense for revelations about the devilish puzzle. Right on the slick, hard, black heels of the first episode of the two-part live-action adaptation of Hiroya Oku’s manga and anime series, Fantasia offers GANTZ: PERFECT ANSWER. Will it resolve all your queries? Ha — we can’t guarantee that! But it will satiate your jones for sleek, bleak and chic with a streak of weird, cheeky wit and a gaping slash of gory, gobsmacking techno-violence. The lot of it, of course, tightly bound in a mind-warping metaphysical conundrum.
With its cynical, cerebral sensibility, the GANTZ saga, across the multiple media it has invaded, inhabits the same realm of fantastic young-adult entertainment as the DEATH NOTE brand. On that — excuse us — note, the GANTZ stars Ken'Ichi Matsuyama, who played the enigmatic L in those films. Unafraid of oddball roles, his stack of credits include THE TASTE OF TEA, NANA and — as the absurd Johannes Krauser II/Souichi Negishi — DETROIT METAL CITY. His co-star Kazunari Ninomiya — Nino to his fans — is a true pop “idoru,” as a member of the Japanese boy band Arashi. He’s no stranger to TV roles and silver screens, having even voiced the character Black in the amazing anime TEKKON KINKREET (Fantasia ’07).
As the back-to-back GANTZ films make a valiant, one-two pitch for a North American breakthrough, these two actors may well become more frequent on screens this side of the Pacific. In the meantime, folks, put on your thinking caps, safety goggles and slime-proof raincoats, and don’t take your eye off the ball…