Ten years after the Bubble War, the dichotomy between the rich and the poor in the world becomes more prominent and Japan is no exception. The rich seek to satisfy their desires and derive pleasure for themselves, and Tokyo has materialized into such a city as a result. Saiga, once a war photographer, works for Hibara Ginza in the capitalist state of Tokyo. He infiltrates the Roppongi Club, a secretive base located in the red light district of the city, to collect information about them. However, he was caught in the process and brought forward to a girl called Kagura who was in the midst of a ritual. His contact with Kagura awakens his special ability: the power to make things explode when photographed. In order to unravel the mystery behind the Roppongi Club and Kagura, Saiga begins his solitary battle.
No matter which site or forum I go to I see very mixed reviews for this show, Speed Grapher. And it's usually because the show looks good and dark and gritty but then it's disliked because it's not as action packed as___ “insert your favorite anime here.” So based on that I think a good review should point this out. It should also state that if you want an anime that's good and dark and gritty but is also character driven and therefore will dedicate a few episodes to building and defining the characters' personalities, then you will like this show....if you want a show that's gritty and dark but has low character development and more shootings and bigger explosions then watch, Black Lagoon.
The animation is very good....it's by Gonzo [I'm actually starting to remember these company names]. Gonzo is the company that did "Last Exile", which had very awesome art and animation, so Gonzo is a good company to base your art/anime standards by. Speed Grapher is very dark and gritty. Even grittier than Black Lagoon because there was really nothing that seedy about Black Lagoon. Black Lagoon tried to make their town [what was it....Roanapour?] seem so bad ass and dirty, but the art style contradicted that image they were trying to portray, it was too clean, too slick and polished. With Speed Grapher, you got the true sense of being in those respective environments; in the fancy mansions you felt it was fancy and high-class, in the seedy parts of town you got that feeling, seeing the trash and hookers and stuff. Also as I said earlier the animation was excellent, good fight scenes, no corners were cut and no looping.
The OP, well I never really liked Duran Duran, hmmmm OK well maybe except for the song they did for the James Bond movie also I liked “The Reflex” but I didn't go wild for this song “Girls on Film” it's just not my thing. But you gotta respect any anime that's willing to make that their OP. The ED songs were forgettable even if the art was nice. The Japanese voice cast did a good job [I don't think the Japanese have ever really done a bad job....except for Inuyasha's voice, where the US voice was waaay better!]
OK so this is where it's crucial in the review, and this is where I diverge from the reviewers that didn't like the show or at least the story part. Because I really was impressed by this story. Like I had said in the animation part, this story is gritty! It gives you are real no-holds-barred account of how truly seedy and disgusting is the underbelly of the world's richest top 2%! Well at least within the fictionalized world of Speed Grapher. And you see the sleaze up close and personal, right down to the funky drool and the raunchy sex-orgies. This story depicts just how the real world works, that those in power feel then can do just about anything....that since they MAKE the laws, they are ABOVE the law. Sure a lot of things in the story are make-believe fantasy and science fiction but make no mistake that the very core of this story carries a kernel of truth! Political rants aside, will also be entertained [again as I said in the first part, you have to love character-based anime] by the various inter-relationships and dynamics between the characters as well as character development episodes, that lets you know some of the good guys aren't so good and some of the bad guys aren't so bad.
I have to say the bad guy, Chouji, stole the show for me! He was tall with long hair, sleek and impeccably dressed....oh and he has a kick-ass power! No doubt in my mind he's merciless, just for the simple fact that he allowed or even orchestrated Kagura to be subjected to all of that sick shit so I can't say I condone his behavior or even understand him on a moral level. He's simply on my radar because he scored high points when it came to the coolness factor. The main guy, Saiga, is an alright guy. I mean he has no 'razzle dazzle' qualities or anything, but he's cool. I guess you would have to look at it from the story point of view, he's supposed to be a normal citizen, he's not rich or anything....even though he's considered high-profile. Also he's supposed to be a bit on the older side and has been though a couple of wars and has seen and experienced a lot of hardcore shit so it wouldn't seem right for him to be this young fetchingly hot bishounen—right? Kagura, is the princess—or in this case goddess—so there really is no need to talk about her, she's cute she skinny and beautiful with long locks. OK, the last person worth mentioning is the blond chic with the gun. I think she's cool, she became a little bit scary and obsessive for a while......and I wasn't feeling that whole 'let's rape an unconscious dude thing' I don't care if he's your man—it's creepy! OK there are some gay dudes in this show that were not only there to be funny but were actually kind of vital to the plot.
Worth it or NOT?
This is a keeper. I would recommend this to people because it is more on the 'hardcore' side of anime, lots of sex and blood. I wouldn't consider this one of the anime greats but it is cool, intelligent and picks up the pace when it needs to. I can see my self re-watching this. read more
This Series has a lot of Adult Subjects such as: Corruption, Greed, Power, Action, Sexploitation, Blood and Gore. So before u even give this series a try u should be careful as to what u are in for.
General Thoughts: This is a relatively old Series exactly a decade old by the time of this review. However it does necessarily mean u should not give this show a try. As it has a lot to offer if u stick around to watching it till the end.
Story: 7.5 ,The Story is about this Former War photographer who is now making a living as a freelance photographer journalist named Tatsumi Saiga who has found himself investigating a secret fetish club for the Ultra wealthy called Roppongi Club. He tries to photograph the club's "goddess," a 15-year-old, exploited girl named Kagura, but is discovered. As he is about to be killed, Kagura kisses him, granting him the ability to destroy anything he photographs. Saiga soon discovers that Kagura's body fluids, like her saliva, in combination with a certain "virus", can give people bizarre abilities relating to their secret desires, fetishes, and obsessions. Club members strive for the honor of becoming "gifted" via Kagura's power.
Saiga soon becomes entangled in this secret underground society and the powerful and corrupt Tennōzu Group mega-corporation that operates it. He attempts to free Kagura, a move that puts the two of them on the run from the Tennōzu Group and blood-thirsty members of the club with bizarre and often horrifying special power.
The plot itself I found to be entertaining and it really engages how those with power and control can really become corrupted by that authority and wealth they outline and how they use it to their advantage. It is also set as a cat and mouse game where the main 2 protagonists are constantly on the run as they try to escape the Clutches of the club members and the corporation.
There is also a revenge story that builds as the story goes which would finally reach it’s climax at the end. The story itself is not exactly the greatest as there are time where it would seem a bit silly and the scenarios a bit repetitive but that it actually improved over time especially towards the second half.
Characters: 9 What really drives the series is not as much as the story but the characters that are within it. All of who have such complexities in their personalities and histories that all in one way or in another intertwine with each other that makes the story progression even more worthwhile.
Even the one off villains are given some form of development and background that would give the audience time to see as to what drove them to these actions and the reasons behind them. If not u can even sympathize with them to some extent no matter what the justification was.
The 2 main protangsts are also great because there chemistry works so well. There interactions and behaviour towards another is built up slow and progressively that in the end nothing would seem so forced or overdone.
However the real character that has been built up so well and done so right would be the main villain, In order not to give away spoilers all I can say is this, What he started out as one way would find himself different in another.
Art and Animation: 7 This is probably the series main real weakness, Even for a series that is over a decade old, the art and animation is not exactly the greatest as with other series that have also come out during that time.
At times it might seem a little foggy or a bit hiccuped and the frames might a little to stiff at certain scenes. However it is not exactly the worst either.
Despite the outdated animation and art it is still good, particularly the animation sequences that reflect the dark and twisted atmosphere that the story focuses on as well as those special moments where the focus on the characters feelings or to reflect their emotions with the animation background in which in those cases they work wonderful.
Soundtrack: 9 The series features a wide variety of music types which range from classical music such as moonlight sonata, to quire music such as Amazing Graze to a jazzy, action oriented sound track that makes it so compelling. Most of it actually is a combination of Jazz mixed in with piano and acoustic music.
The classical music is mostly used in scenes to reflect situations that would fit with the appropriate tone that the music is known to accessories with. It defiantly keeps up with the overall scenes and situations that makes watching the series even more worthwhile.
Bottom line: 8 If u are a looking for a good show that focuses on corruption and greed as well as fun action and good character build up and a good old revenge story than I would defiantly recommend you Speed Grapher.
It is not a series that would win high praise or a lot of attention but it is a good show to watch if u like the sort of genres that I have mentioned as well as to give something a try when u have some free time . read more
Story (7.7) - It starts when Saiga, who was a war photogapher, started investigating an special underground group controlled by Suitengu, a survivor from an attack to an island in an attempt to erase some kind of weird experience. Only 2 people survived that day, suitengu and saiga. Thats where they got some kind of virus that allows them to have "superpowers".
After finding out what the group was all about, Saiga decided to fight against them using his special ability, killing everyhing he photographs.
Its a fine story, it started very well indeed, then by episode 12 it gets a bit worse, but still very nice.
Art (7.2) - Art...Although not bad, i think it lacks in some characters design, also is not an aspect that got my attention. But its not that terrible,so 7.
Sound (7.3) - Sometimes fits well, sometimes it doesnt fit so well. Besides that, the voices are ok, opening and ending are also ok, the big problem is just the other sound, from the ost some are good, other are not good, and as i said it in some moments the action doesnt fit perfectly with the music. But still ok.
Character - (9.0) There it is.. i liked the characthers in speed grapher. After i finihsed i can say some things about all the most important characters in the anime, and thats positive. Another point is that the characters have nice abilities, and that turns it more interesting. Not perfect, but for sure one of the best aspects in my opinion.
Enjoyment (8.0) - I liked! I seriously dont think i wasted my time..an anime with lots of action, with fine story and characthers..so i recommend..
Overall (8.0) - Not much left to say, basically its an average of all the aspects. read more
In all fairness this show looks better than it is. It starts great and gives an idea of how this story is gonna go in the first 2 dvds, but somewhere around the 3 dvd (12eps) it starts to die out and frankly you just dont care anymore. The characters and environment are setup to be top notch, but without an engaging story they have nowhere to go, which sux cause there's only so much you can do with a character driven show.
I honestly can never remember what happened in the last dvd when I see a new one and have to always go back and try to figure things out. Its just not memorable. I have the last dvd but I just don't want to watch it. The dvds come with great stuff, but don't let that sway you into thinking its a great show. It ain't
If you skip this series you won't be missing out on anything.
There's nothing wrong with frequenting a slightly predictable, stable anime that has some form of boundaries or limitations that you can count on. But we also need something completely unpredictable, something that doesn't make a lick of sense, because we must feed our desires for the strange.