The dark, violent story opens as alienated high school student Kei Kurono (Kazunari Ninomiya) and his friend Masuru Kato (Kenichi Matsuyama) are killed trying to rescue a drunk who’s fallen on the subway tracks. They wake up in a room dominated by Gantz, a mysterious black sphere that sends them and other newly dead people to hunt down and kill aliens hiding on Earth.
Although a number of popular anime series have been adapted to live action in recent years, including “Death Note,” “Gundam” and “Mushi-Shi,” it’s unusual for a Japanese film to screen in the U.S. before its Japanese debut. A four-disc set of the original animated series is being released here at the same time.
The film will be introduced by Ninomiya, who appeared in Clint Eastwood’s “Letters From Iwo Jima,” and Matsuyama, whose portrayal of the brilliant but eccentric detective “L” in the three live-action “Death Note” movies has earned him a cult following in the States. Otaku USA editor Patrick Macias will interview both actors after the screening. Their discussion will be simulcast to the other 334 theaters across the U.S. that will screen the film that night.
— Charles Solomon
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