Gravitation

Gravitation dvd coverBased on the manga of the same name, Gravitation is part-silly boy’s love and part romantic tragedy. Shuichi Shindo hopes to be a famous singer and fashions his band, Bad Luck, after the top band, Nittle Grasper. In a fit of creative frustration, he throws his lyrics into the wind. Novelist Eiri Yuki picks them up and calls them garbage. Enraged, Shuichi tracks down Eiri and demands he explain himself. Despite Eiri attempts to push him away, Shuichi quickly falls in love. His connection to Eiri earns him a concert with a record producer in attendance and Bad Luck is signed. As the band grows larger, complications in his relationship with Eiri get in the way. Shuichi is only happy if Eiri is happy, which is never. The first half of the series plays like a typical plot, boy loves boy, boy loses boy, boy perseveres and wins both his love and creative success. The second half of the series skews darker. Eiri’s secret is revealed. Shuichi begins to collapse under the pressure of being both a rockstar and an emotional rock. Eiri behaves cruelly and erratically while Shuichi tries to hold their lives together. Being a story about a band, music is often played. Unfortunately, like Eiri declared, it’s terrible. Bad Luck’s songs are overwrought, cliched, and generic sounding.

Silliness pushes through the drama. Shuichi is often dressed up like a banana or a puppy and his earnestness is always played for laughs. Minor characters, like Nittle Grasper lead Ryuichi Sakuma, push the leads to revelations while providing much needed comic relief. The animation is sprinkled with live action scenes. The opening sequence is a gorgeous blend of animation, paint and photography. Giving attention to the scenery and architecture gives the anime a strong sense of place. Even at its most dramatic or ridiculous, the landscape tethers the story and lends a sense of reality. A chaste kiss and discussions about being lovers are about all the series has to offer in the way of physical romance, making it appropriate for a teen collection.

The series is collected on three disks containing four, half hour episodes each. The OVA, Gravitation: Lyrics of Love, is also included. Lyrics of Love is an hour long stand alone story with the characters of Gravitation.

If viewers can push past Eiri’s near emotional abusive treatment and Shuichi’s submission, the reward is a love story about facing the past, pushing past failure and never giving up on a dream.

Gravitation
Right Stuf, 2006
directed by Bob Shirohata
325 minutes, Number of Discs: 4
Company Age Rating:
Related to: manga by Maki Murakami

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