Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

When director Shinsuke Sato’s film ‘Gantz’ closed out its first chapter, Kei has lost his best friend and has sworn to keep playing Gantz’s silly game… that being the hunting and killing of Aliens on Earth… until he reaches a hundred points so he can bring not only Kato (Kenichi Matsuyama) back, but everyone who has ever died in the game back to life. A tall order to be sure for the young man as we go back to Tokyo in the final chapter of the Black Orb ‘Gantz: Perfect Answer’ which is a different type of film from the first chapter. Better… that’s debatable, but it is different.

Five months have passed since the events of the first movie and Kei (Kazunari Niomiya) has adjusted to being one of Gantz’s murder puppets… of course we’re assuming you’ve seen the first film already, or watched the Anime or read the Manga so we won’t be rehashing the myth behind Gantz the Black Orb. Not that we know what it is anyway. But Kei has taken to looking after Kato’s younger brother Ayumu, telling the boy his older brother is away for work. Of course Kato was a janitor while he was alive, but maybe he was one of those international janitors or something. Also Kei is getting very close to his girl Tae (Yuriko Yoshitaka). They’re not dating or anything like that… just spending almost every waking moment together with each other is all.

There are some interesting things going on at this time. For starters there is a cop, Shigeta (Takayuki Yamada), who knows something strange is going on in his town with the people who seem to die on the subway, yet appear alive and well days later. Or the fact that random structures get demolished and nobody sees anything. He’s gotten so far as to find some strange quiet people who hang out in basements who also seem to be searching for the same things that he’s looking for, and he also knows that it all revolves around a black orb. Find the black orb, find the answers. The people in the basement want the black orb as well, but not for the same reasons that the detective does.

In the quasi dimensional high rise where Gantz hangs out, he’s acting a little strange. Back in reality it has taken control of a supermodel who is systematically killing people on his behalf, who then materialize with Kei and his crew as they continue their hunt. But even the hunts are becoming different because where it used to be abandoned places where the battles took place, now they’re taking place in populated locations and collateral damage is high. To say the least.

And the weirdness is really only beginning for poor Kei Kurono who is going to have to make some mighty difficult decisions as this movie goes on, with the war between the Aliens and the human puppets taking a massive toll.

So I actually own the two season ADV ‘Gantz’ anime, and plan to watch it eventually but I didn’t want it to influence any opinion I might’ve had of the feature films, figuring the animated version with its longer format to be superior, at least as far as the story telling and character developing aspects go. But back to the business at hand… ‘Gantz: The Perfect Answer’ is a darker, more involved movie than Sato’s first go around with these characters. The tone and style of ‘Perfect Answer’ is completely different as well. In the first movie, despite the fact that people did end up dying here and there, considering the style of the enemy they were fighting and the sparse locations, the movie came off more as a fantasy play. ‘Perfect Answer’ brings everything back down to earth with a more human feel. Gone are the odd looking statue aliens, replaced by more human, more ghastly creatures. And even though the film starts out a little slower, it makes up for it later on with more spectacular, more deadly, and much more violent action sequences. It’s one thing to shoot a moving statue from a distance with your fancy ray gun, it’s another thing altogether to gut another human type character at close range with your samurai sword.

It’s not just mindless action however as Sato and his screenwriter Hiroya Oku play with social issues, issues of loneliness and abandonment, not to mention the obvious parallels to religion and Christianity that pop up as the film is coming to a close.

But even though this movie is called the ‘Perfect Answer’, there still aren’t a lot answers being thrown around to questions you might ask. What the hell is Gantz, for instance, and why does he hate these aliens? Not even a hint. And speaking of the aliens, where the heck did they come from? We get nothing. Aside from those large issues which may cause a question or two, there are plot points within the film itself which are puzzling, but we won’t get too much into those because that would constitute spoilerage, and we don’t want to do that.

But of course this just might be over-thinking the whole exercise. Despite the fact you would be signing on to sit through nearly five hours worth of movie if you choose to enjoy the entire ‘Gantz’ experience from start to finish, it is still a visual masterpiece, the action set pieces are fantastic, and the characters are drawn in a way that draw you into their plight. The bottom line was that ‘Gantz: The Perfect Answer’ was an entertaining film and a fine follow up, despite the difference in tone, to the equally entertaining original.

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