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Gantz II: Perfect Answer(2011)
Kei, the college boy, has become a stern warrior in the service of Gantz, a black sphere that brought him and Masaru inexplicably back to life after a fatal encounter with an oncoming subway train. He and others among the newly dead accumulate points by killing aliens on missions assigned to them by Gantz. With 100 points, they can either escape their limbo and lose all memory of their time there or return another person to life.
For more about Gantz II: Perfect Answer and the Gantz II: Perfect Answer Blu-ray release, see Gantz II: Perfect Answer Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on January 19, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Kazunari Ninomiya, Ken'ichi Matsuyama, Yuriko Yoshitaka, Go Ayano
Director: Shinsuke Sato
» See full cast & crew
Gantz II: Perfect Answer Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, January 19, 2012
Virtually every culture known to Man has some sort of idea about an Afterlife, whether it's a paradisiacal sylvan grove full of angels strumming harps or conversely a fire and brimstone pit filled with those were a bit too naughty in their lives. The advent of the videogame era and the internet seem to have opened up a portal for writers' imaginations, one perhaps hinted at a generation (or two) ago by authors like Arthur C. Clarke, whose 2001: A Space Odyssey posited a high-tech afterlife, replete with an all-knowing, albeit enigmatic, monolith. In the case of Gantz, a popular manga series which has spawned two films (thus far), instead of a boxy monolith we have instead an all-knowing black orb, a giant onyx globe which looks like a high-tech version of those 8-Ball fortune tellers we had as kids. Unlike 2001: A Space Odyssey's monolith, the orb has a name—Gantz—and communicates, more or less, with several characters who it controls in a kind of quasi afterlife existence. If the Existentialists (and Jean-Paul Sartre in particular) claimed that "Hell is other people," Gantz might take that idea (and Sartre's No Exit in particular), by plopping a handful of people down into a closed room where Gantz is their puppet- master, and they must do as they are commanded. Gantz may slightly morph "Hell is other people" to include "Hell is other aliens," for part of the series' rather convoluted storyline is that Gantz is out to eradicate an invasion of aliens, and is utilizing these quasi-dead prisoners to achieve that goal. Gantz therefore displays information about various "targets," and then transports these imprisoned "players" to various locations where their goal is to kill the intended victim. They operate under a strict time line, and if they succeed in their mission, Gantz awards them points, as any good Games Master should. If any given participant achieves a running score of 100 points or more, they are given the option to either free themselves from Gantz's control or to resurrect one of their dead allies, whom Gantz evidently keeps "archived" in its memory banks.
The world of Gantz is intentionally arcane and complex, and that makes ferreting out what's going on a bit difficult to understand at times, especially if an individual viewer has no background in either the manga or the anime series which, like the films, was culled from it. The original Gantz film at least had the distinction of hewing rather closely to the main initial story of the manga as well as a major plot arc in the anime series, but Gantz II: Perfect Answer is a fairly original outing, taking the basic premise of Gantz, along with several key characters, and then moving the story into new and unexpected territory. The comprehensibility of Gantz II: Perfect Answer is made more difficult with the addition of a couple of new characters, one of whom has a sort of "mini-Gantz" giving her orders which seem to be perfectly at odds with the goings-on in the "mega-Gantz" room, as well as the fact that one of the major characters of the first Gantz—Kato—is back in Doppelgänger form as a nefarious killing machine. In fact, along with the aforementioned 2001: A Space Odyssey and Sartre's No Exit, as improbable as it may sound Gantz II: Perfect Answer also harkens back to the great 1956 Don Siegel Invasion of the Body Snatchers, only in this instance the "pod people" aren't mere replacements for humans, they're on a murderous killing spree.
Gantz II: Perfect Answer picks up several months after the original Gantz film left off, and Kei Kurano (Kazunari Ninomiya) is picking up the pieces of his afterlife after having supposedly lost his best friend Masaru Kato (Kenichi Matsuyama) to the vagaries of Gantz and the "game." Without spoiling several salient plot points of the first Gantz, Gantz II: Perfect Answer makes it clear fairly quickly that Gantz is not through with the Gantz Team and the threat of the alien invasion has in fact not been vanquished. A parallel plot includes a young woman named Eriko (Ayumi Ito) who receives a small white box containing the "mini-Gantz," which thanks Eriko for having provided the first of four keys to the "mega-Gantz" room, and which orders her to continue working to provide the other three keys. This confuses Eriko, as she has no memory of having done anything for any version of Gantz. (The amnesia aspect plays out with regard to several characters, as if any given character achieves 100 points and wants to be released from Gantz's control to return to their normal lives, the tradeoff is that their memories are erased).
Kei is also making halting steps toward building a romantic relationship with Tae Kojima (Yuriko Yoshitaka), and wouldn't you know it, Gantz orders the Gantz Team to kill Tae. Gantz also promises a special, one time only award of 100 points for any Team member who is able to kill Tae, which of course creates tension within the group. Kei asks Gantz to at least transport him to Tae's location first, so that he can at least attempt to keep her safe from his teammates (or at least some of his teammates, as others decide they don't want to kill their friend's love interest), and that sets up a long cat and mouse sequence that provides some of the action interest in the film's longish second act.
Gantz II: Perfect Answer is good, goofy fun a lot of the time, and under the surefooted direction of Shinsuke Sato, the film has a number of incredibly well staged set pieces, probably the most impressive of which is a huge duel which plays out on a subway. (In fact Gantz fans will know that the subway seems to be a go-to locale for various dastardly aliens and for those who are about to be transported to the "Gantz room".) The long subway sequence features some really sterling wire work and a number of impressive martial arts moves and really helps define the out there ambience of the franchise. The film also features the Gantz trope of having its participants materialize laterally, kind of like an MRI bisects the body when it images someone.
On the other hand, anyone expecting A-level acting or nuanced writing had best look elsewhere. This is just patently silly stuff a lot of the time, which doesn't make it any less enjoyable, but which never really tries to do anything beyond the standard genre norms (if anything about Gantz can really be accurately described as standard). Gantz II: Perfect Answer probably could have been trimmed by at least a half hour, maybe more (the film clocks in at close to two and a half hours). While the proceedings here are fairly brisk, the effort to inject a little humanity into what is really a living cartoon comes off as heavy handed and adds little more than running time.
Gantz II: Perfect Answer Blu-ray, Video Quality
Gantz II: Perfect Answer is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Viz Media with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.85:1. This presentation almost has the look of having been digitally shot, though some online information seems to suggest it was actually traditionally filmed. It must have been tweaked one way or the other during the DI stage, for the end result features noticeably reduced grain, and is smooth and rather flat looking (I should state the screencaps actually show more grain than is evident when the film actually is in motion). Color timing has been significantly altered as well, giving the film a cool, blue and gray shaded ambience that plays well to Gantz's sort of impending apocalypse ethos, but which also robs the film of some shadow detail, something which some may find troubling as so much of this film plays out in darkened settings. On the other hand, there's quite excellent fine detail throughout the bulk of the film, especially in the copious close-ups. The film's CGI also comes off rather well throughout this presentation, especially in the undeniably cool effect of the various players being transported from locale to locale.
Gantz II: Perfect Answer Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The first Gantz film was roundly criticized for its ostensibly incompetent English dub, and some may find they can't stand this outing's English dub as well, which, like the original Japanese language track, is delivered on this Blu-ray courtesy of a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. Both of the DTS tracks feature virtually identical mixes in terms of music and effects, as well as dialogue levels. I have to say that I personally didn't find the English dub that horrible, though I kind of get a kick out of the hyperbolic delivery and the mismatch of word to lip movements. The Japanese track should easily satisfy even the most persnickety audiophile. This is one of the most delightfully bombastic soundtracks in recent memory, one which is completely immersive from virtually the first shot to the last, and which in addition offers one unbelievable LFE sequence after another. The surround channels are fully engaged throughout this film, and some of the action sequences have incredibly smart placement of discrete sound effects. A couple of explosions which occur late in the film may have some listeners ducking their heads as the sound pans quite audibly from front to rear.
Gantz II: Perfect Answer Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
No supplements are included on the Blu-ray disc. There is an accompanying Supplements DVD (along with a DVD copy of the film itself) which includes:
Gantz II: Perfect Answer Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Gantz II: Perfect Answer may not completely live up to its title, in terms of offering perfection, but it is a very stylish and enjoyable actioner that has a couple of wonderfully over the top set pieces that should give any adrenaline junkie a run for their money. The film has a sort of Grade Z acting style, which will either contribute to its allure or turn off viewers, depending on their own particular viewpoint, and it also can't be denied that the film is confusing at times, and will probably be downright confounding to those with no grounding in the Gantz saga. But for fans, this is a great looking and especially sounding release, and it comes Recommended.
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Gantz II: Perfect Answer Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Gantz II: Perfect Answer Blu-ray - October 5, 2011
Next year, Warner Home Entertainment will release Gantz II: Perfect Answer on Blu-ray. A live-action adaptation of the popular manga, the film follows the continuing adventures of Kurono (Kazunari Ninomaya, Letters from Iwo Jima) as he fights for survival inside ...
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