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Title: Gantz Vol 15
Author: Hiroya Oku
Publisher: Dark Horse
May Contain Spoilers
Gantz is getting absolutely intense! Our protagonist, the eternally awkward otaku boy named Kei, has hunted a bevy of odd and dangerous aliens living in Japan. The Onion Alien was strange enough, but then there were the dinosaur aliens and eventually some vampires who might not be aliens at all. Gantz moves along at a furious pace, drowning readers in blood and violence, but then holds back for a few tender (and sometimes excessively sexy) moments here and there. It’s a crazy ride so far, a guilty pleasure for many readers. See who Kei is told to hunt next! It will certainly be a surprise.
I haven’t picked up a volume of Gantz in a while, and since I had a free weekend with the New Year’s break from work, I eagerly dove into a few manga series that I have allowed myself to get behind on. I couldn’t think of a better time to catch up, so Gantz was one of the first ones I picked up.
I find this series enjoyable when the hapless characters are trapped in the room, about to be sent off on another mission. It’s exciting, tense, and explosive once the hunt begins. The rest of it, I can do without. The story slips into the realm of ridiculousness whenever Kei is doing something other than blasting aliens to tiny, bloody bits. I just don’t find him an interesting character, and I can’t relate to his teenage boy issues. I don’t care if he gets his rocks off or not, and I find his preoccupation with ginormous breasts tedious. So I remind myself, yet again, that the series isn’t really intended for me, and I flip pages as quickly as I can to get back to the stuff that I like – all of the mindless violence and gore. Yeah, go figure.
In this volume, Kei is blundering through his personal relationships yet again. He has gone off to see Reika behind Tae’s back, not thinking that a popular idol like Reika would be stalked by paparazzi. When their picture appears in the paper, he is soon the talk of his school, and quiet, timid Tae discovers his indiscretion. At least he had the decency to feel guilty for hurting her feelings. When she is caught up in his next mission, Kei worries that she will get killed if she keeps hanging out with him, so he is even more determined to break up with her. Too bad that stupid black ball isn’t going to let that happen.
I suffered through the first half of this volume, but the ending had me all caught up in the action again. Argh! It’s insidious! I don’t want to like Gantz, but all of that over the top destruction keeps me coming back for more. I have only one more volume in reserve, so hopefully Rightstuf will have a Dark Horse studio sale soon…
Grade: B- for the first half of the book
B+ for the rest of the book
Review copy provided by publisher