Part one of the extraordinary blockbuster live-action adaptation of the cult manga and anime series Gantz.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2011
Death is not necessarily the end in Sato Shinsuke’s blockbuster live-action adaptation of the incredibly bizarre cult manga and anime series Gantz. We are screening both parts of this epic sci-fi mindbender in the Festival, so unlike audiences in Japan you won’t have to wait long after the first movie’s cliffhanger to see the thrilling conclusion.
We meet childhood friends Kurono Kei (Ninomiya Kazunari, Letters from Iwo Jima) and Kato Masaru (Matsuyama Kenichi, Norwegian Wood, Death Note) moments before they meet their demise, mowed down by a rushing subway train when their attempt to save a drunk who falls on the tracks goes horribly wrong. They suddenly find themselves dazed and confused, along with several other recently ‘dead’ people, trapped in a nondescript Tokyo apartment. Nondescript, that is, apart from a mysterious black orb, known as Gantz, which has summoned them to take part in the ultimate survival game.
Outfitted with super high-tech outfits and weaponry, Kurono, Kato and the others are dispatched on a series of missions against a succession of increasingly dangerous aliens. Kurono quickly takes to his new role as an alien-hunting superhero, whereas Kato is keen to find a way to escape Gantz’s control so he can get back to the real world…
Like Death Note before it, Gantz revels in existential mystery as much as heart-stopping action. Director Sato keeps us as much in the dark as his characters with regards to Gantz’s true motives. Is this some kind of purgatorial punishment? Or some kind of malicious alien game? Answers will be revealed, and you’ll want to keep watching to find out. — MM