Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Manga for the Comics Guy - Gantz Volume 16

The tension rises in this volume to an almost unbearable point, leading to heartbreak and hope. Make no mistake, this gets grim, gritty and gory, but by the end of the volume there's a light at the end of the tunnel, except that light has a choice attached to it and I don't think Kei has realized how difficult that choice will be.

With the team at odds over Gantz's instructions to kill Tae, it's a race against, well, it's against time, each other, and who knows what else. Kei went off with Tae to protect her and the rest are fighting it out with bloody results. Just as you think Reika has figured out that destroying the film with the picture that Tae took of the Gantz gang will end the session and save Tae, it all comes to a head and the inevitable happens. Izumi here amps up his villain status, but I wonder if that's not just setting us up for a more complicated relationship with him. Sure, he has murdered a lot of people at this point but, given that he did it so he could return to the Gantz, and with what we learn at the end of this volume, I wonder if his reasons for wanting to return aren't as selfish as we have been lead to believe. It's just the type of complication you'd expect from the series at this point.

The action and gore is not gratuitous in Gantz. It is always supported by character moments that are typically rendered as simple images that pay off because the relationships have been built properly and believably. It's moments like this that make the comparison to The Walking Dead accurate. Both series manage to take us on an emotional roller coaster from hell without being manipulative. Every moment is totally earned and just when you think you are at the end of an emotional arc, there's another twist. Kei's life just got sadder, more hopeful, and over all, more complicated.

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