Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Manga for the Comics Guy - Gantz Vol. 5

At this point, I'm not even caring about the differences between manga and western comics. I'm just along for the ride. The characters have become real. This is not to say that there aren't cultural tidbits that stand out, but they don't get in the way. The cinematic style is still evident, particularly with scenes where there is parallel action taking place in two locations.

The tension of both scenes is kept up as we cut at just the right time from one to the other and back again. When the two separate scenes merge, it's seamless. I was very impressed with the way this was done without losing momentum or confusing the reader in any way. You also never get the sense that actions are being repeated when you go back into a scene.

The love triangle between Kei, Kato and Mishimoto is at times funny and frustrating. Normally, I'd say it doesn't fit with the rest of the heavy sci-fi, but when you consider these are teenagers, it works perfectly. I like that it's not just this syrupy love thing. It's actually a very lustful triangle, particularly from Kei's point of view. His lust for Mishimoto could come off as a little pervy (although realistic from a teenage boy), except that it's balanced by the humor of the situation. No matter what he does, in her eyes, it's all about Kato.

By the end of this volume, we get more glimpses at our character's lives in the real world, and how their relationship to the Gantz world is changing. For some it's an opportunity, for some an escape, and for others it's a obstacle. We also get a new set of characters introduced, one of which is claiming to know what's going on, much to Kei's amusement. I'm looking forward to the next volume to see this guy's shock.
Early on, I compared this to Lost. But reading this volume brought to mind something else. The movie Cube deals with a group of strangers waking up in a strange environment and how they figure out how to escape.This basic set up has been used many times, but in Gantz, that strange environment becomes part of the real world. That twist sets it apart.

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