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Japanator Adventures: The US Gantz screening

5:00 PM on 01.21.2011 // Colette Bennett

Was I excited when I heard that the live action version of Gantz would be premiering in US theaters? You bet I was. Not only are lead hotties Kazunari Ninomiya and Ken'ichi Matsuyama wearing skintight leather suits in the film (which apparently cost a hell of a lot of money to manufacture), but, um ... it has action. And stuff. Did I mention hot boys in leather suits?

Right, I have a one track mind. At any rate, I went to check it out last night and grabbed some photos for you. In addition, we got to see a live transmission of the stars live appearance at the Los Angeles screening at Mann's Chinese Theatre. You can see video of it after the jump as well as my impressions of the event! 

When we arrived inside the theatres, we noticed that there was a little pre-show factoid thing going on with facts about Gantz, the actors and more. We quickly learned that those suits that everyone wears in the film were very, very expensive. It tells us here that 50 suits were prepped for the filming. Maybe that's why half the people that should be wearing them in the film aren't.

I am not going to lie to you -- when I saw this slide I totally squealed. Just seeing the word "Arashi" on an American film screen made me excited.

After the lights dimmed and we got started, we got a live telecast of the premiere happening in Los Angeles at Mann's Chinese Theatre, which Ninomiya and Matsuyama were flown in for. They look befuddled the same way that the Japanese always do when they come to America for something, but it's cute. Here's the video of that (be sure to hang in there for my snarky comment at the end.


Now, we knew the movie was going to dubbed, and we expected that part of it to be bad. However, I do not think that we could have conceived of just how bad the dubs would be. I don't know whether to direct my disappointment at Viz, New People, or both, but in case either of them happens to be listening: STOP DUBBING THESE FILMS. The people that come to see them are likely anime nerds in the first place, and believe it or not, we can read. The fact that you are bringing these films to us is amazing, but the dubs are ruining the experience. And I am sure it is cheaper for you to sub than dub (although I'm not sure, as it sounded like these actors had never performed voice roles a day before in their lives, so maybe they worked for free...)!

So, was Gantz good? I don't know. Ninomiya is a standout in his role Kurono, going from a meek, sexually repressed kid to a bit of a badass once he gets his suit's powers under control, but I also quite enjoyed Natsuna Watanabe as Kei Kishimoto (who has a body so amazing that you won;t be about to stop staring).The special effects were clearly pricey as they were well done (that famously reported 4 billion yen budget definitely showed), and while the pacing of the scenes in the room with Gantz itself left me wishing for more (it was a bit slow), I think the film was enjoyable. I say I think because the performances of the voice actors were so mindnumbingly terrible that they continually distracted me from being able to tell if the film was good.

I look forward to the opportunity to see it a second time with subtitles after its DVD release. Let's just hope the people in charge hear the voices of the fans in the future, because this is NOT how we want to see our beloved Japanese media. A sequel was teased at the end (which was filmed at the same time as this), so we also have that to look forward to later this year.

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Colette Bennett,
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