Gantz 2: Perfect Answer (Japan 2011)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 3/6/12
Director: Shinsuke Sato
Music: Kenji Kawai
Cast: Kazunari Ninomiya, Kenichi Matsuyama, Yuriko Yoshitaka, Ayumi Ito, Ayako Yoshitani

Picking up five months after the events in the original, "Perfect Answer" continues to follow Kei Kurono's (Kazunari Ninomiya) quest to free himself from the horrific murder games that Gantz puts him through. While the original movie attempted to remain faithful to the manga, this one opts for an original story with a different ending. It also pumps up the action quite a bit and is a non-stop thrill ride. Gantz's murderous activities have caused a group of aliens to seek revenge, and they wage war on Kurono and his team in an attempt to get close to Gantz. Gantz starts malfunctioning and the conflict is pushed into the real world, putting Kurono's girlfriend (cute Yuriko Yoshitaka) in danger. On top of that, there's an alien masquerading as Kato (Kenichi Matsuyama) which endangers everyone. The spectacularly bloody showdown between Gantz and the aliens forces Kurono to make some hard choices in order to save everything that is dear to him.

One thing that always bothered me about the anime series was that it didn't offer any closure. We never learned anything about what Gantz was, where it came from, its motivations, and why it had seemingly limitless god-like powers. I never got through the entire manga to find out, but I suspect it was equally vague. While "Perfect Answer" doesn't address these issues either, it does manage to tie everything up in an acceptably neat and tidy way. Surprisingly, the film turns into a love story and it's Kurono's love and compassion that drive him to victory. The film also expands the cast, adding several much needed female characters. Yuriko Yoshitaka gets a much larger role this time, and a couple of beautifully bad-ass female warriors are added to both sides of the battlefield.

The action scenes are excellent, and even though the wirework is sloppy and unconvincing, the fight scenes are vibrant and inventive. Swordplay gets a large role in the film, resulting in some very exciting close quarters fighting scenes, with the highlight being a battle on a crowded subway train. This fight also highlights two of the female fighters, and the results are very satisfying. Kenji Kawai also pumps up the volume on the musical score, and the music is full of intense pulse-pounding energy. Excellent work all around, but again it felt like the movie was about a half hour too long and could have been tightened up a bit. "Gantz" purists may not like how the film strays from the source material, but I found it quite enjoyable.