Monday, May 23, 2011

Manga for the Comics Guy Gantz Volume 15

This marks the first time Oku almost lost me, but just as I thought he'd drifted into a something I wasn't going to be following anymore, he switched gears. I thought he was spending too much time with the whole romance between Kei and Tae. The graphic sex seemed gratuitous, the love triangle with Reika was pointless. Then, just as I was getting tired, we're back in the Gantz and I was ready to forgive it, though not forget it. Of course, before all this happened, Izumi massacred a bunch of vampires that had jumped them in the real world. This thread is now dangling over us with the promise of coming back to it.

Then comes the romance section, followed by a quick Gantz alien fight. But, even though it was quick, it was monumental. Right off, it was different in that the aliens were killing innocent bystanders. The Gantz team, even with the new people, worked like a well oiled machine, now that most of them accepted Kei as leader and were following his experienced lead. Izumi,may be "the villain" but  is still an experienced badass, so it's only natural that they'd be able to make short work of the aliens. But this battle also managed to make clear what the 4 chapters of romance were there to do. One moment and everything that came before was different and everything going forward will be different, both plot wise and in terms of character development. Even though the emotional impact had already been set up, using the 4 previous chapters to drive it home is genius.

Right off we know there will be consequences to this moment. It's the first rule of Fight Club and Kei has broken it and will continue to break it. And suddenly it all makes sense. Taking the time with the romance, having Kei and Tae's relationship tested, specifically by Reika, who is now present in this moment and beside Izumi, is  the only one who knows just what it means, is completely necessary to make this moment pay off. And, as Gantz is about taking the rug out from under you, we get the consequences of this immediately after they defeat the aliens and think they can go home. And the consequences have consequences of their own, as the team, which we just saw operate so well together, is now at odds and split in two.

I can't venture a guess as to where the story is going to end up at this point. If anything is clear about Gantz it's that anything can happen. But so far, Oku clearly knows what he's doing with these characters. He's setting up the pieces, little by little, and everything is there for a reason, to set something else up. Like the best chess masters, though, you can't see his moves until after he's made them and by then, you're just sucked into the story.

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