On January 20th, I went to see the world premiere of the live action version of Gantz. My friends and I made it through the snow (man, was it a mess that night…) to the theater and grabbed our seats. The theatre was about, half full for the simultaneous screening. Everyone there was actually interested in seeing the movie, which was something different than a lot of movies you go to see. There were even some Naruto cosplayers. (Why they chose Naruto, I dare not ask.)
Viz did some great things with this screening, offering some chances to win tickets. They marketed it to the fans, although the theater we went to could have had it posted somewhere. ACParadise was giving away tickets and so were a bunch of other sites that weren’t the main Viz site. This screening was a fantastic idea. The screening was a great chance to see something before a lot of people and give us the opportunity to get together with other fans and watch a movie. We want more of these!
Before the broadcast started, they had some trivia up on the screen dedicated specifically to Gantz. The best one was sharing that the suits had to be made for each individual actor and that they were tailored specifically to them. Also, they cost about $6000 each to make. Makes me not want to make one for cosplay now…
When it was finally time to start the movie, the people in LA let us know that there would be a Q&A after the movie with the two stars, Kenichi Matsuyama and Kazunari Ninomiya. Both of them were very happy to be there it seemed. The Otaku USA guy who was hosting was a bit annoying, but no big deal. He’s the host and wouldn’t be involved with the actual movie.
Warning, there may be spoilers if you have not seen or read anything Gantz. I’m trying to stay away from them, but it happens.
I went into the movie having read through volume 14 of the US release of Gantz. I’ve never seen the anime. I’m patiently waiting my turn to watch it because I was told not to buy it until I’ve watched it. Personally, I LOVE the manga. I really enjoy the way Hiroya Oku writes and draws everything. It’s got lots of gore, a dog, and lots of breasts. (You really can’t miss them.)
Anyway, back to the movie. It starts out like the beginning of the manga, though he’s reading some kind of success help book instead of looking at a magazine with women in it. I was kinda disappointed that they started off ‘nerfing’ it right there. I let it slide and they go through the whole first section with Kurono and Kato. There are plenty of differences.
Now, I’m not a total stickler for following things word for word when they translate from book to screen or video game to screen. I enjoy the Mortal Kombat movie and the Silent Hill movie. Though, what they did with Gantz was more of a ton of changing the characters. I’m not just talking the gender swapping they did in the Silent Hill movie. These characters are different people.
Some of the things they did were, they combined a few of the characters and got rid of a lot of the characters. (Dog!) I was sad about some of those. Then, you get down to them just flat out changing the characters. The characters are all older. They aren’t high school students. There are a lot of individual changes too.
Kurono is not the Kurono in the manga. They make him relatable. Not to say that you can’t relate to him in some ways in the manga, but he’s super relatable now. He’s way more of a typical character than he is this character that you kinda of hate and are rooting for at the same time. I was looking for that character. I didn’t get that. What I got was a Kurono that is not an individual. He is very much an every man character. He doesn’t do some of the things that he does in the manga to make you almost hate him, but not quite. I found myself not really caring that much about him…
Then, you have Kato. Kato is a great match at first and then he never really develops. He stays the same. The Kato in the manga changed. This one has the same exact motivation all the time and is focused on that without fail. Don’t get me wrong, taking care of a family member is a great motivation, but come on, develop a little. Give a damn about something else a little more. Develop the little brother or something to make it interesting. It also feels like they tried to combine him and Izumi in a few ways and then backed off from doing that and went back to just messing with Kato.
Now, Kishimoto. She is supposed to be this bombshell kind of character that both of the boys are in love with. She’s pretty. She is very pretty. She’s not shaped like the characters in the manga at all, but whatever. The one good thing is, she’s just as annoying as in the manga. But, she’s way more helpless. She appears the same way, but they cut out a bunch about her (doubles!) and give her boyfriend issues.
This is a film version so it’s understandable that they did cut out a lot of things that happened in the first ‘arc’ of the manga. (I use that term loosely…) That’s okay, but they could have chosen better some of the things they cut out. They made the movie really dry and there are a lot of slow points where they mean to focus on character development, but it just ends up being the characters by themselves looking very wooden.
Some of the fight scenes are a little weird too. You know what’s going to happen and then it doesn’t and some random character you can’t place is doing something. They spend a bit too long with the Onion alien and then they are fighting the Tanaka alien (yes, not plural). The Tanaka alien is really cool to see in the movie. They did a great job with it but, the fight scene felt less like fighting aliens and more like fighting robots. No Shorty aliens and on to the Buddhist temple!
Here’s something fun, Tae shows up. She’s PRETTY. Tae is very mousy in the manga. In the movie, she is way too pretty to be the kind of girl she is. (Not to say that pretty girls don’t act like her, but the other characters in her scenes do blow her off and she is at least as pretty as Kishimoto in the movie and everyone is all about her.)
Alright, I’m going to keep my mouth shut, mostly, about the end and just say that at one point my one friend and I were whispering, “Kill them!”. It was a relief when the movie finally listened. I’ll also say the romance in the movie sucked. It was drawn out and unfulfilling. (Sounds like Kenshin, hmm…)
In the end, the movie itself felt really drawn out. The gore wasn’t there at the beginning and then it kind of showed up, but not really. Don’t go into it looking for naked, cause there isn’t any. They really toned everything down, tried to up the ‘soap opera drama’ with Kishimoto and Kato, and even made Kurono into a hero instead of an anti-hero.
Oh, they also showed the whole thing to us dubbed. Kinda lame right there.
Anyway, back to the presentation of the movie. Afterwards, the two stars spent a lot of time answering questions. Most of them were the typical “what was it like to work with so and so?” and “what was your favorite scene?” They were both really nice and were also disappointed the movie wasn’t shown subtitled. One of the translators got put to the test. I applaud you, Translator-san, for not giving up at all when your actor rambled.
There are at least 2 more movies coming. We saw previews for the second one, so they do plan on continuing the movies. I’ll watch them if we get more releases like this one for them. If not, I’ll probably wait until they either show up on Instant Queue or if I get bored.
The Gantz movie was okay. I would honestly just suggest reading the manga over watching the movie. I’m sure if you’ve never read the manga, it would maybe be more enjoyable to some degree. I guess I did nitpick at it, but really, you can’t change that much and expect people not to complain.