What does this second volume of “filler-arc ‘Gantz’ spinoff” have to convince us that it’s not just a tired cash-in? How about drama between teenage girls! It’s actually more appealing that I’m making it sound as the dynamics between the five girls who survived the first volume distinguish it a little from its parent series. So rather than have a diverse group of survivors who come together when faced with these unbelievable circumstances, we’ve got a team who is going to let petty drama drive them apart.
That’s the impression I’m getting from this volume as hero protagonist Kei, her bookish manga-loving friend Yoshiko, model and class idol Kimiko, professional idol Morishita, and blonde silent type Kaji fail to bond in the way you’d expect them to. It mainly comes down to the fact that Kei’s initiative in the training sessions that the two (handsome) young male Gantz survivors have set up impresses them. Which annoys Yoshiko and Morishita to no end, leading them to spread ugly rumors about Kei on a message board frequented by their classmates. Kaji doesn’t put too much stock in any of this, though. She’s got her hands full with an abusive father, a person who seems like the perfect subject to test out the power given to her by the Gantz suit.
The characters’ circumstances, personalities, and the drama that results from them aren’t particularly new. However, the definition given to the characters here at least helps them move beyond the one-dimensional ciphers they came off as in the first volume. I’m also intrigued by how Kei’s straightforward heroic persona is proving to be divisive amongst the group rather than the uniting force you’d expect it to be. It’s led us to a Gantz team that isn’t working together and I’m curious to see if it winds up having dire results for everyone in the next and final volume. A filler arc where teamwork fails and everyone dies at the end? That’d be novel if nothing else.