Gantz issue 365 states the series has sold over 19 million copies.
Dark Horse Comics started releasing the manga in English in June 2008.
A pair of high school students, Kei Kurono and Masaru Kato, are hit by a subway train, after saving the life of a homeless drunk who had fallen onto the tracks. Following their deaths, Kurono and Kato find themselves transported —alive and well— along with a number of people who have also just died, to the interior of a Tokyo condominium. They are unable to leave, as the outside door and all the windows can not be opened, and cell phones do not work. At one end of the room is a featureless black sphere known as "Gantz".
The series regularly introduces new characters. Most of them are killed off almost as quickly as they appear, though after a time, a stable cast of veterans forms.
After some time in the room, music is played, and the Gantz sphere opens up, revealing a bald naked man with a breathing mask and wires attached to his head, and three racks protruding from it, that offer various items for them to use. These include the custom fitting black suits Gantz makes for each of them, giving them great strength, speed, jumping ability, and some level of protection from harm, a controller which act as a radar and stealth unit, and three types of guns.
When the Gantz sphere opens, green text appears on the surface of the sphere, informing those present that their lives have ended. The following words appear on the black sphere's surface: "Your lives have ended. What you do with your new lives is entirely up to me. That's the theory, anyway." (The ADV translations have it as "Your lives are over, you bastards. What you do with your new lives is for me to decide. So there you have it.")
A picture and brief information is shown of some of the Gantz targets, Gantz ordering them to go and kill them. All but one target shown thus far, have been aliens living on Earth, which take on a wide variety of forms(dinosaurs, robots, statues, etc.) After a period of time which varies between missions, everyone except Gantz are transported to the location of the mission.
Those sent cannot return from the mission until all enemies have been killed, or the time limit has run out. If they survive a successful mission, each individual is awarded points for the aliens they have killed. They are then allowed to leave, and live their lives as they see fit until Gantz summons them back again for the next mission.
When someone gets a hundred points, they are presented with the hundred point menu and given the option of being set free and forget about this, get an extremely powerful new weapon, or revive someone from the databanks who has died.
Gantz gives out individual suits for each person there, giving them great strength, speed, jumping ability, and protection from harm. There are also three types of guns at the start, the controller, and a room with swords and two vehicles. Additional weapons and items are gained from the hundred point menu.
The characters in Gantz change fairly quickly at first, as many die on the missions, only to be replaced by others, but eventually a regular cast seems to have formed. Five characters have been revived after death, when someone used a 100 points to bring them back.
Additional character information can be found at:
A list of every mission, and every hunter that was there at the start.
A list of every enemy Gantz selected as their target thus far.
A list of the known Osaka team members during the mission the Tokyo team was with them.
A detailed list of every single character ever featured, no matter how insignificant
Aspects of the missions
The entire Gantz game has its own tricks and secrets. Those who survive will find out more to the game than what they originally expected.
Hiroya Oku first thought of Gantz's story when he was in high school. The inspiration of Gantz started from the Jidaigeki television program of Hissatsu series. He remarks being inspired by the Robert Sheckley's novel Time Murderer while developing the idea that dead people are transported to a place in which they are able to be revived. However, he still was not decided to make Gantz until writing the manga Zero One; Zero One had a similar setting to that of Gantz, but Oku ended the series, noting it was not very entertaining and that it was too expensive to develop.
When creating the chapters for the manga, Oku starts with a thumbnail of the pages. He then creates 3D models of the characters and backgrounds on his computer. Once done, Oku prints the characters and backgrounds he made in 3D, adds tone and color to the pages, and finishes with sound effects and dialogue. This style was already used in Zero One, but for that title, there was little work in hand drawing; Oku decided to add more hand drawing to give Gantz a more realistic tone as well as reduce the budget. However, he still notes that such a method is time-consuming and that he has to work quickly in order to finish the chapters on time.
Oku tries to incorporate realism into Gantz and adds that some of the events occurring in the story are based on his opinions regarding the world. During violent or erotic scenes, Oku makes sure to not make them very long to avoid reducing the series' realism. However, he has mentioned that he does not autocensor and that all the drawings he has ever illustrated have been published in the manga. Some plot twists are meant to go against common events that happen in several manga such as the deaths of the major characters like Kei Kishimoto and Masaru Kato. Before the series started serialization, Oku told his assistants that with Kurono's exception, all the major characters from the series would die.
Many characters in Gantz are based on people; for example, the Vampire Chiaki which Gantz has nicknamed Kill Bill is based on the character Gogo from the movie Kill Bill.
Written by Hiroya Oku, the manga chapters have been published in the Japanese language magazine Weekly Young Jump since July of 2000 and is still ongoing. Gantz is divided into two main story arcs referred to as phases. After the completion of Phase 1 the author put the series on hiatus for a short time to work on the second Phase. Phase 1 consists of the first 237 chapters. On November 22, 2006, the first chapter of Phase 2, chapter 238, was released. The individual chapters are collected by Shueisha in volumes; the first volume was released on December 11, 2000. To date twenty-seven volumes have been released in all, selling over 10 million copies.
Publishing company Dark Horse Comics currently has licensing rights for the release of English translations of Gantz. The first volume was released on June 25, 2008. The series is also published in Spain by Glénat and Germany, Italy and Brazil by Planet Manga. In the Dark Horse English translation, the artwork is the same, but the dialog has been changed somewhat: "That's the theory anyway" becoming "That's the way the cookie crumbles."
GANTZ/OSAKA has been published in Japan, showing the stories of the Gantz Osaka team.
Gantz/Nishi has also started publication, showing the life of Nishi.
Gantz no Moto has Hiroya Oku telling the story on how he got into the manga business, and what films influenced him.
The Gantz anime is divided into two seasons: The first season is known as "The First Stage", while the second season is known as "The Second Stage", which is a direct continuation of the first season. The anime has been licensed in the United States of America by ADV Films. However, the rights to the series have been acquired by Funimation Entertainment after ADV's collapse and were re-released.
On March 17, 2005, Konami published a game for the PlayStation 2 based on the Gantz series. It was named simply as Gantz: The Game. It features the characters and plot up to the Buddha Alien mission (though the vampires and the Shorty Aliens are present). The game may be classified as a third-person shooter, although it does have a few Role-playing game elements put together. More information can be found on the game's website. The game also includes extras including Free Play mode, a Mini Mode, Magazine Browser mode, Gantz Rankings, a special preview movie and the scenario completion statistic.
In December 2004, Gantz/Manual was published by Shueisha as a companion volume to the series featuring episode summaries, character overviews, and additional background details on the Gantz universe.
In July 2009, Young Jump began publishing Gantz/Minus. This series is almost entirely text, with a few pictures mixed in. The stories take place before the start of the Gantz series. It describes itself as a "hyper solid action novel".
Live action movie
The first season, known as the "First Stage", was heavily edited on Japanese TV, but the second season ("Second Stage") remained uncut. The Gantz anime is often criticized for its ending and pacing problems. The anime was made while the manga was still in early production, and thus Gonzo had to produce episodes at an irregular pace, and end the series in a manner a number of fans found unsatisfying—a common occurrence when an anime is made from a manga that has not finished its run.
How Gantz is made
Hiroya Oku revealed in an early issue how he created Gantz using various programs, and assistants. In the official Gantz manga, and various interviews done, including one of the Japanese version of the Poser website, information about the software and techniques used is revealed.
In addition to the manga, anime, and Gantz video game, there are also Gantz action figures.
Current Storyline and summary of events