The Saga Project 003- Gantz arc 001- Onion Alien Mission (Explicit Nudity, Graphic Violence, NSFW)

Anime Reporter heads to the world of intense manga for the first story arc of the 37 volumes of Gantz. The final volume was finally published in English about a month and a half ago, so this series is a prime candidate for the Saga Project. Fair warning, Gantz as a series has been around since 2000, but in terms of nudity, explicit violence and intense content (all of which adds up to majorly NSFW), this series might rank just a bit higher than Game of Thrones. Not for those seeking a mild manga experience.

Spoiler Alert3

Gantz runs across 383 chapters, which are split into three main phases. The first of these phases, which is known as “Missions”, is by far the largest, lasting for 237 chapters. The first, (largely unofficial) story arc in Gantz is the Onion Alien Mission Arc (chapters 1-25) which covers the first two volumes and an additional 3 chapters.

Gantz Story Arc 01 (4)

The tale begins with Kei Kurono waiting for a subway, ogling a swimsuit magazine and generally bemoaning how much everyone else seems to suck as people. Kei is a sexually deprived, angry, cynical young man. His lack of general human decency reveals itself when a homeless man falls onto the train tracks and Kei’s only real reaction is excitement at the thought that he might actually get to see a human body go *Splat!*. Unfortunately for Kei, Masaru Kato is a much better person and jumps down to help the homeless man. This is unfortunate because, a- Masaru recognises Kei as his old schoolmate and b- despite saving the homeless man, it’s the two teenagers who end up getting hit by the train and decorating the vicinity.

Gantz Story Arc 01 (9)

This state of death doesn’t last too long though as the two boys find themselves appearing in a strange room with a variety of other strangers. A large black ball in the room seems to have gathered them all together and they work out that they each seem to have been summoned at the time of their deaths with all of their injuries/ailments somehow healed. The other characters in the room range from Yakuza members to a famous politician, an unfazed teen, a naked girl who had committed suicide in her bathtub and a rather friendly dog.

Gantz Story Arc 01 (7)

Once they’re all gathered, the black ball gives them a mission: kill the onion alien. They’re supplied with sci-fi style weapons and strange black latexy suits, which not all of them choose to wear, and sent out into the world to track down and obliterate their target. Not everyone is too eager to play the game, which one of their number claims is a reality TV show, but as some of the assembled stray too far from the game zone, they’re struck with a slight case of detonated-skull. This game is all too real.

Gantz Story Arc 01 (10)

Once they’re all gathered, the black ball gives them a mission: kill the onion alien. They’re supplied with sci-fi style weapons and strange black latexy suits, which not all of them choose to wear, and sent out into the world to track down and obliterate their target. Not everyone is too eager to play the game, which one of their number claims is a reality TV show, but as some of the assembled stray too far from the game zone, they’re struck with a slight case of detonated-skull. This game is all too real.

Gantz Story Arc 01 (6)

 

Some of the contestants hurriedly find their childlike target and don’t waste a lot of time in blowing it to pieces with their hardware. The small alien cries for mercy but, having been told that there’s a steep cash prize, the bastards aren’t too keen to play nice. The fact that they seem to be totally invisible to all bystanders doesn’t seem to tip them off that something odd is going on. While this is going on, Kei and Masaru are helping the, still mostly naked girls, who’s also named Kei, find her way home, not realising how dangerous that would prove to be. Masaru rushes back to try to stop the other players doing anything too dangerous and arrives more or less just in time to see the young onion alien die painfully and see the arrival of the grown up, vicious, violent version. (End of Volume 01)

Gantz Story Arc 01 (4)

The grown up onion obliterates the fools responsible for killing the kid and then turns his attention on Masaru. Masaru tries desperately to explain that he really doesn’t want a fight but is forced to pull out his gun when the alien just doesn’t understand. This doesn’t go particularly well. The two Keis come across the carnage left behind by the onion alien and find themselves being chased. Kei Kurono ends up alone and has flashbacks to the way Masaru used to see him. As a kid, Kurono wasn’t afraid to stand up to any bully. This gives him the impulse to keep trying. He runs and starts getting pretty pumped up. This allows the suit he put on to activate and he’s soon running faster and jumping further than he’d ever imagined possible.

Gantz Story Arc 01 (14)

As he’s leaping almost as high as a tall building in a single bound, he and Masaru (who, phew, isn’t dead), see each other and fight together to take down the colossal onion alien. Masaru doesn’t come out of it too well though, actually ending up in a pool of his own blood, but Kei can’t quite bring himself to pull the trigger and that’s when the cynical teen from the mysterious room comes out of hiding and catches the beastie in a high-tech net. The bloodthirsty stranger has to qualms about capping the alien himself, happy to help himself to some extra points in the game.

Gantz Story Arc 01 (15)

Kei, the psycho teen, Kei the girl, the dog and Masaru end up being transported back to the room with all of their injuries healed. Aside from the psycho, none of them earn any points in the game, who earns three. He reveals that he’s been coming to this room and playing this game for a year. Now, with 90 points, he’s only 10 points away from being done. They return to their homes and Kei Kishimoto returns to her home to find the scene as it was when she killed herself. The main difference is that she gets a phone call from her mother, mistaking her for her sister. Her mother tells her that Kei is in the hospital, having survived her suicide attempt. The Kei who has returned from the game of Gantz is apparently just a copy, while the original Kei Kishimoto has survived. (End of Volume 02)

Gantz Story Arc 01 (2)

The next day, Kei Kurono… (it’s definitely going to be a hassle distinguishing between these two Keis), is at school, being extorted by a pretty big bully. Luckily, he decided to bring that power suit to class with him, so he’s more than capable of standing his ground. The bully is just one member of a pretty rough gang who excel at beating the snot of out other kids for money. The captain of the school karate club shows up as Kei is being shaken down. The karate captain is there to stand up for one of his club members, but he doesn’t fare too well against their leader. When it’s Kei’s turn, he stands his ground, not sure if his power suit will activate outside of the game. When it does, he stands confidently against the gang and manages to walk away without actually dismembering any of them. Coming come, he finds the now homeless version of Kei Kishimoto waiting for him and, with nowhere else to really go, she makes his dreams come true, asking if she can stay with him.

Gantz Story Arc 01 (6)

End of Onion Alien Arc

Gantz gets itself off to a great start, showcasing the bloodbath-style violence and extremes of content and character which are essentially its trademarks. While the whole alien-hunting aspect isn’t fully explained or developed at this stage, this arc does a superb job of setting the scene, offering intrigue, gore and conflict aplenty and more than a few twists to keep readers guessing. Gantz is an original and uncompromising sci-fi series for the Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones audiences, despite existing before either of them.

Gantz Story Arc 01 (8)

Things are very much getting started. Stick around Anime Reporter’s Saga Project for the next instalment!

Gantz manga Volume 01 cover

 

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Anime Reporter brings you reviews and insights on anime, manga and whatever else I feel like! Welcome!

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Posted in Manga, Manga Series, Reviews, The Saga Project
2 comments on “The Saga Project 003- Gantz arc 001- Onion Alien Mission (Explicit Nudity, Graphic Violence, NSFW)
  1. rjamesd9 says:

    That was a great review for an entertaining series. As a coincidence, last week I started rereading the entire series.

    • Thanks, I’m really glad you enjoyed my review. I’m just coming back to the series after a very lengthy break myself and it’s an interesting read after all this time

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