At the conclusion of Gantz (2010), college student Kei Kurono (Kazunari Ninomiya) found himself at a crossroads. After being swept up in some kind of strange contest with other people recruited apparently at the point of death, Kurono fought in the service of a large black ball called Gantz, battling aliens for ‘points’. But the battle proved costly, with his childhood friend Kato (Kenichi Matsuyama) being amongst the casualties.
But all is not lost. If Kurono can obtain 100 points, he has a choice of leaving the game…or resurrecting someone killed in action. He promptly takes over guardianship of Kato’s little brother and sets about going after bringing Kato back. Even as he focusses on his mission, other forces begin to move. A detective investigates the sightings of apparently missing people, a pop singer gains possession of a miniature version of the Gantz orb and a mysterious group of black-suited people begin their own hunt…
Gantz: Perfect Answer looks to up the ante on its predecessor. It takes the premise and expands it. The result is a sequel in the purest sense; you simply must have seen Gantz to make any sense of this. There is a token ‘previously’ intro, but a first-time viewer would surely be lost.
Dispensing with the backstory allows the story to immediately sweep in and introduce a wave of new characters and with them, a new set of rules. If the first movie was fairly faithful to the manga series that spawned it, the sequel sets about mining new ground from the outset. Among other things, we see the alien response from having all these black-clad humans hunting them.
Not only does the plot escalate, so does the action. It culminates in a terrific centrepiece mass battle through a subway train featuring martial arts, swords, guns and more. It is in this arena that Gantz: Perfect Answer finds its niche; as a glossy, sci-fi/superhero comic book movie as good as anything produced out of Hollywood.
Unfortunately, such highs are balanced with lows. Histrionic melodrama crops up repeatedly, as do some odd plot movements. For example, the hunt of Kurono’s girlfriend Tae Kojima from the manga is brought in, but not in a way that actually makes logical sense. It seems more like the filmmakers liked the opportunity for conflict within the Gantz team and did not care that it was a concept that did not fit the story.
The biggest sin, though, is sheer length. Almost every scene feels drawn out, every character moment and even fight extended until all enjoyment is almost wrung out of it. The story may come to a satisfactory end – no mean feat, given the source manga continues to wilder and wilder plotlines – but the telling of that story is undercut by its padding. One can only wonder how strong Gantz: Perfect Answer could have been with 45 minutes or more cut from it.
Overall, this is a stylish sequel that forms, with its predecessor, a unique tale. Visually expansive and wonderfully-shot, it is somewhat let down by its length and often illogical developments. If these can be forgiven, however, there is lots of enjoy here in a dazzling action/sci-fi adventure.
- Making of Gantz: Perfect Answer
- Fight Choreography
The main extra is a 32-minute ‘making of’ piece. This combines cast and crew interviews with behind-the-scenes footage of filming several key sequences such as the subway battle and the climactic face-off. It is more magazine-stye than informative, but it is still fun seeing moments like the wrap shots for each of the major cast members. They all seem genuinely touched by the production, which actually consisted of both Gantz and Gantz: Perfect Answer shot over several months and the outpouring of emotion each time shows what it meant to all involved.