Shuichi Shindou is determined to take his band Bad Luck to the top of the Japanese pop charts. With his drive, talent, and satiny singing voice, he just might stand a chance. But Fate throws a wrench into his well-oiled machine in the form of a handsome stranger named Yuki, a romance writer with an attitude. Yuki is Shuichi's biggest critic, but as the two young artists gravitate towards each other, friendship, and perhaps something more, is sure to blossom.
I strongly recommend watching the series before reading the manga for the following reason:
The story. Due to Murukami Maki’s rather undeveloped art at the beginning of the series it had also hindered the flow of the story telling; so it is rather difficult to understand or get into the story. From own experience, I had tried to read it first but the art had threw me off completely and I dropped it after the 2nd chapter.
Now, onto the review...
Gravitation is often called the gateway to the shounen-ai genre because of its appeal. What separates this from every other of its genre is its diversity. For once it does not focus solely on the character’s (in this case Eiri’s and Shuichi’s) relationship but on everything going on around them – the side characters, the music, their careers, them as an individual and most of all – the gags.
Comedy is the widest appeal this manga has, and it does a good job giving laughs to the reader. Most of the comedy relies on over-the-top shenanigans, references to the music industry (such as N-Sync) or sexual innuendo. Another thing that it makes it so approachable is the lack of typical lovey-dovey or corny scenes. If there are any present, it is usually used as a gag itself as Murakami mocks this for the reader’s enjoyment.
The first few volumes’ art is - to put it bluntly - quite horrendous. As previously stated, it’s enough to repel readers, and the story-telling is sloppy. However, readers see a drastic change in art during the latter of series and it first becomes noticeable around volume 6. Murakami also introduces a neat way of using panels to better the flow of the story telling. Although ultimately her art has changed for the better I wasn’t too keen on the new character design for Shuichi. One of the good points of Gravitation at the beginning was Shuichi’s more masculine physique, but as the story progresses Shuichi becomes shorter and eventually has a physique that downplays readers imaginations (for either better or worse, up to the reader really) so in the end, he would fit the stereotypical uke.
The cast of Gravitation all play significant roles in the story – whether it is to meddle, to be the shoulder to cry on or part of the past, they all have more or less something to give, again giving this the sort of edge that other shounen-ai’s don’t have.
I find it unrealistic how every accepts Shuichi’s and Eiri’s relationship; but then again a manager who uses a gun for persuasion and a giant robot panda chasing Shuichi through New York isn’t exactly realistic either.
All of Gravitation has been licensed under Tokyopop, who has done a spectacular job at translating. However the first couple of translated volumes may cause some to cringe with their attempt of using ‘hip’ phrases; often backfiring by employing tacky lines such as “take a chill pill”. Fortunately it gets better along the way, and I appreciate how they make it appeal to Western audiences by using our entertainment industry like MTV (“Oh, I get it I’m on Punk’d. Where’s Ashton?”)
Both versions of Gravitation are light-hearted, filled with humour and entertaining. The manga does make you appreciate how well the producers of the anime adapted it - it’s one of the best adaptations of a manga I’ve seen in fact. And the manga has got to have the silliest content I have ever read - but it’s the stupid shenanigans that make me laugh so much.read more
Gravitation to me feels to be a bit of a hit or miss. Some anime and manga fans love it, and some of them do not appreciate it. For me I was a bit skeptical upon purchasing it. Although I wanted to broaden my horizons in the realm of shounen-ai I couldn't help but wonder if it was worth it. As the story started out I found myself curious as to how a music based manga would end. So I bought the first two volumes and had a go at it. I have to say I am thoroughly impressed with Murakami-san's ability to create an engaging story. My skepticism started first with the quality of the art. It wasn't all I was hoping for but, as the volumes go on the art gets better.
Another aspect that had me hooked were the characters. Each person is distinct in his or her own way. Their personalities are so vastly different, and yet when they interact it gives us a treat. Shuichi's over the top personality, Yuki's sober one, Tatsuha's obessive streak, Tohma's darker side, Sakano's spazz attacks. All of it was so intriguing, and I was surprised how they all meshed with one another. If I had to recommend a series to dip your feet in the water for the newbie shounen-ai fans, this would be it right here.read more
Having watched the anime back when it first hit fansubs on the web, I finally got around to trying out the manga. I went to my local anime store and purchased the first two volumes. Within a a few weeks I had bought up till vol 10 being completely hooked.
Story: The story was very good and interesting at the start. The stroy is fun and involving with lots of panal time for some of favorite characters. As the story left Japan however and moved to America the appeal tends to go down with the fact that suddenly it is less about Shuichi's career and more about a psychotic manager whom goes ballistic to the point of the unreal. The story being fairly believable and only swaying now and again into the realm of unreal fantasy was just perfect. The new introduction of the manager in a robot panda felt like it changed the story from a slice of life to more of a FLCL kind of feel. Overall the story is good and well managed with the exceptions of a few over the top characters pulling the plot in obscure directions.
Characters: The characters are good and believable. They have normal everyday personality traits pushed to there limits giving them a great sense of presence and vibrancy. They are enjoyable to follow along with, and to watch grow and mature throughout the chapters.
Overall: Overall I reccommend the series. If you can handle a sudden shift in tone that happens about vol. 08 you will surely love this manga.
The story keeps a steady pace, and even though it becomes a tad unrealistic around the eighth volume, it is still as enjoyable as ever. The art is outstanding, and the characters may be slightly exaggerated at times, but they are not incredibly annoying as some characters in other mangas can be. Overall, an amazing shonen-ai manga.