I was doing a cursory search through films the other day, looking for something to ruin me further, down into the deepest pits of the Internet where money is meaningless (you know what that means). I happened upon something I only knew about through GIFs, and assumed was merely a newer video game rendition of a notorious manga and anime series called Gantz. It has a pretty rabid following, but even for anime is quite niche, mostly due to its unashamedly brazen usage of violence, sexuality, and immorality, which in essence is actual reality. I had found not a game while looking, though, but rather a film, and knowing what I did about the series, which I’ll only touch on briefly here, I couldn’t even believe another attempt had been made at bringing this series to proper fruition out of the printed filth. I wondered how I missed it, but realized it’s primarily because social media dilutes too much of the good stuff for what is perceived as good, and since everyone’s been all upset about whitewashing of Ghost in the Shell, when they should be more concerned with it being crapwashed (translation: ruined), this interesting leap into chaos, Gantz: 0, was barely noticed by anyone except the most dedicated of fans. What a tragedy, for what I found was bleak, a dark CGI masterpiece corrupting the mind to the point where no return is not only no longer an option, but not even a thought. It’s possibility is erased entirely. So sit back with me and sink into oblivion.
Gantz is an unusual manga, if you’ve never read it, why waste time living, waste time reading. You can do so by clicking right here. And if that wasn’t enough degradation for you to enjoy, move on to the anime, which you can watch by clicking right here. It’s a manageable series at only 26 episodes, covering only part of the manga generally well, and of course I assume that, by being given access to the dark Internet, you’ll make sure you have AdBlocker on. There is no saving you otherwise. There are also two films before this, but they received mixed results. This one? Different story, or it should be. Do you need to know about the entire series before viewing Gantz: 0? In my opinion no, in fact you’re probably better off going right into it without context because it will be all the more brutal. However, if you want a few details, all you need to know is “Gantz” is the name of a mysterious, black sphere with a mordant sense of humor. It selects people who have died, resurrects them, and forces them to play a game where they can win back their life if they continuously kill various supernatural creatures, which get increasingly more dangerous. This dark background of death-as-life sets up the expected discussion of morality in character interactions, along with occasional romance-through-bloodshed, but what’s great is those are only small components of the overall picture, which is one of dismal, all-consuming destruction, filled with gore and extreme violence.
Don’t worry, by the way, the trailer above is in Japanese, but the English version does exist. Anyway, let me explain. Gantz: 0 leaves the unaware viewer like one of the characters upon first entering the game. This is why I honestly suggest you watch it without any previous context other than what I’ve given you here. Like a new player you’re confused, uncertain, and then within a few minutes everything dies, so try it. Giant, disembodied heads are rolling on the streets, mythological monsters have taken form to devour people, and you’re somehow part of a group killing the beasts using weapons with no clear origin and a variety of amazing powers. What’s really impressive is this. The director, Yasushi Kawamura, has really only worked on video games before this debut, and his experience in gaming is the clear connection to the idea hidden within. Though it was distributed by Toho, the small production company behind it, Digital Frontier, already had success in bringing anime to life in film. Here, even more so.
The combination of reality with gaming culture, cleverly done with CGI entirely, and the underlying discussion of morality dying through technology, is what makes this film so troubling. The idea it’s getting at is not just in gaming culture, which is often gets the brunt of SJW Twitter wars, it’s everywhere the Internet has plagued the world, as we endlessly surround ourselves with wires, screens, and meaningless data, becoming less human, or better to say, ironically, more primevally human as our sense of purpose falters. The creatures in the film, considering a number are clearly from old, Japanese mythology, are like symbols of the old world, when unification of the species was part of our presumed destiny, when our troubles would dwindle as we learned to live together, beating nature. Instead, we are more separate than ever before, and Gantz: 0 uses our separation from our humanity through technology as a symbolic vehicle and takes it to the extreme with a giant beast made out of the bodies of nude women devouring the players who think they’re supreme (real scene). This film has no need for explanation, as I said above it’s best if you don’t know anything about it. In such a case, separated from the knowledge of a fan, it should be easier to see how it utilizes symbolic technology to metaphorically represent the degradation of our morality. Many moments are absolutely brutal and unforgiving, and the final boss battle is perhaps the greatest ever conceived (see a brief shot below). Hopefully, many minds will be ruined in the process after reading this and giving it a watch. Find it, trust me.