So I guess you can call “Gantz’s” return to being a title I actually look forward to a sustainable trend with this volume. I will admit that it doesn’t do this in as dramatic a fashion as I had hoped. More like, there are a lot of little moments here that either prove to be memorable or help tick the plot forward in a noticeable way. Things like seeing little Takeshi (unwittingly) troll Nishi by calling him a “Good person,” after the teen saves the boy’s life made me chuckle. Watching Kei finally (FINALLY) achieve his long-awaited reunion with Tae was both immensely satisfying, and a little nerve-wracking too. After all, there are still four volumes left to go -- will their happily ever after last that long? Other things help flesh out the world of the aliens. We get to see the aliens toy with Tae at their hunting grounds and thrill to seeing the humans fight the strange creatures in the city’s bowels. There’s also one genuinely disturbing development in the form of an alien parasite that causes growths of yourself to burst out of your skull. Take my word for it, it’s creepy. Then you’ve got bits like the revelation about what happened to the other Gantz teams that tried to assault the ship and the glimpses into what’s going on outside the ship as the humans react to news of our protagonists and their battles. They help broaden the scope of the conflict and further illustrate its stakes as well.
There’s also plenty of fighting as the Gantz teams we’ve been following take on a lot of different creatures, finding creative ways to kill them that are also dictated by necessity. Mangaka Hiroya Oku has always been great with the action in this series, and his skill there is what kept me reading even in its darkest moments. The problem here is that most of the combat here feels pointless, it doesn’t really serve any purpose to the overall plot. “Gantz” started off as a series where humans with special tech fought against strange aliens with their own skills, so it’s not hard to see that Oku is simply continuing the tradition here. It’s an unnecessary act that pads the existing narrative and nothing more. I’d have traded all of the fighting here for more scenes detailing just how the aliens are managing the peace they’ve manufactured with Earth’s governments, or even seeing Takeshi and Nishi’s awkward and potentially very misguided attempts at bonding. Just a little more focus on what the important parts of the story are would do this title some real good as it heads into its home stretch.