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Old 04-18-2012, 10:55 PM
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Evil_Otto Evil_Otto is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Winnipeg
Posts: 312

As a longtime collector of North American/U.K. comics (mostly horror stuff) I usually stay away from manga. But I was recently turned onto an amazingly good manga that just blows away most of the other books I've been reading over the years.

Gantz is a seinen (adult) manga that earns horror cred based on the insane level of ultraviolence that pervades the series. While the book does feature some of the usual trappings of seinen--i.e. nude pinups of female characters--the storytelling elevates Gantz to another level.

Featuring a largely revolving cast of characters, Gantz is about a mysterious black orb that copies and snatches people at the moment of their deaths. The two main protagonists, Kurono and Kato, are decapitated in a subway accident--they should be dead, but instead they wake up in a sealed Tokyo apartment with a group of other confused people who should also be dead. At the far corner of the room is a large black orb that informs them that they are to be pawns in a perverse war game. Their objective (and yes, Gantz is keeping score) is to hunt down and kill a series of aliens (who are equally bewildered by Gantz's "game"). Combatants are beamed elsewhere into Tokyo for their battles.

While Gantz provides players with power suits and guns--showing some sense of forethought--he also works in bizarre ways. Old women, small children and even dogs are sometimes transported to the room and expected to do battle with the other "players."

While this sets the stage for some fantastically realized battles (i.e. a gun that causes people/alien body parts to expand and explode), their is a deeper subtext at work under all of the uber-violence, breasts and weaponry: freewill, religion, social Darwinism and a myriad of other themes abound.

As the main mystery unfolds--who/what exactly is Gantz--the characters are essentially asking "who is God?" And the answer is that he may just be some sick bastard with the power to bring back the dead...or to dispatch people into the never-never permanently.

Highly recommended!
"You mean the movie lied???"

"He who dares cops for the lob." - Steve Jones
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