From the get go Gantz sets out to push the envelope as far as it can be pushed and keep at it until there is no more envelope. It was designed to offend, shock and surprise and does so in a madly ingenious way through some of the most gruesome imagery known to man. It is a very strong contender for goriest manga ever done, an honor it upholds through its 37 blood soaked volumes.
Upon being run over by an incoming train and dying, Kei finds himself somehow transported to a locked room along with a group of people all of which also seemed to have cheated death. There is no time to rejoice at the oddity as soon enough a giant black ball gives them a mission to accomplish and this turns out to be the start of a vicious hunting game where death is very cheap indeed.
The game includes killing all sorts of exceedingly nasty monsters within a certain time frame. Skin tight black suits with enhancing qualities and special guns are the tools of the trade and give Gantz its peculiar look: the manga is associated with naked looking characters wielding massive weapons.
Not content with just being exceedingly violent, Gantz throws in rape for good measure and its lead character is not just a jaded high schooler, he is more an anti-hero than anything else. Kei spends most of the manga being a bastard of the pervy kind and this being a manga that delights in giving society the middle finger we are introduced to a cast most of which is willing to stoop very low indeed. Having no qualms whatsoever, Gantz holds nothing sacred so expect little children and kind grandmothers to suffer horribly before being mangled beyond recognition.
The gore content is both extremely high and highly detailed. Inner organs are drawn with great realism and in every phase of destruction possible. Torn bodies, flying limbs and corroded flesh are the order of the day, this without even going into the beasts themselves. Giant monsters get blown to pieces, are sliced, shot at, implode, in a great gory feast.
There is also a lot of nudity of the exploitative type in what seems to be as much a celebration as a criticism of what entertainment has come to. Humor is not absent either but needless to say it is of the darkest kind. Above all, it is an action packed ride and a thrilling mystery all rolled into an epic.
Gantz ups the ante with each chapter and can be highly addictive. The art style contributes greatly to this, it is very clean and closer to Western comics than manga proper with some range in terms of character design. Female forms are voluptuously depicted only to be gored a few panels later. The many battle sequences are extremely fluid and flow so well that the illusion of fast movement is perfect. As for the monsters, they form a whole array of nightmares with so much variety in size and shape that it is truly dazzling and a feat of a delirious imagination. From goofy looking robots to animated statues and virtually every single demon from Japanese lore, Gantz brings out horrors from the deepest pits of hell.
The first arcs of the manga have been animated in all their gory glory, it has spanned a few spinoffs as well as a series of live action movies that are fun but pale in comparison with the original. Gantz can be appreciated by any gorehound worth their salt regardless of their previous knowledge of manga or lack thereof.