Friday, April 8, 2011

Speed Grapher Anime Review

Speed Grapher
Supido Gurafa
Funimation
Complete Collection - 24 episodes
600 mins. - 6 discs
$29.98 (2011) S.A.V.E.
$49.98 (2009) Viridian
$69.98 (2008)
$19.98 (2008) Vol. 1-6/ea. Viridian
$29.98 (2006-2007) Vol. 1-6/ea.
$34.98 (2006-2007) Vol. 2-6/ea. Limited Editions
$49.98 (2006) Vol. 1 w/Desert Punk Vol. 1
$44.98 (2006) Vol. 1 Limited Edition
ISBN 704400086991
English/Japanese Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Kunihisa Sugishima
Studio - Gonzo

Synopsis: Tokyo ten years after the Bubble War (when the world economic "bubble" burst) is a place of capitalistic avarice.  The divide between rich and poor has grown even wider.  Tatsumi Saiga is a celebrated war photographer disillusioned with life after seeing the atrocities of war many years ago.  He has a completely dysfunctional relationship with the psychotic policewoman Hibari Ginza.  While investigating a gruesome murder scene he uncovers traces of a secret underground society. 
Hard-boiled journalist Tatsumi Saiga
The society is known as the Roppongi Club and caters to the darkest desires of the ultra-elite.  Saiga infiltrates the club and meets their "goddess" Kagura Tennozu who grants her kiss to a chosen few.  Saiga receives her kiss before being discovered and mortally wounded.  He survives and exhibits superhuman powers including the ability to detonate whatever he shoots with his camera lens. 
Kagura Tennozu and the evil Choji Suitengu
The club is run by the Tennozu Group, the most powerful corporation in Tokyo and controlled by Kagura's mother.  Choji Suitengu is her chief executive and exploits Kagura's ability to awaken Euphorics.  She is a prisoner in her own velvet-lined home and a pawn in Suitengu's game to control the Tennozu Group.  Saiga manages to run away with Kagura and promises to protect her.  Suitengu wants her back for his master plan to control Tokyo and sends Euphoric assassins after them.  Now Saiga and Kagura must discover the secret of their abilities and try to topple the corrupt Roppongi Club before it's too late!
Saiga is an imperfect Euphoric - the more he uses his power the
more it damages his body
Pros: Great soundtrack and opening/ending theme songs, hip character designs w/quality characterization, excellent English dub, some nudity, swearing, mature subject matter, joyously cynical
This Euphoric uses sound to destroy his enemies
Cons: Becomes a little monster-of-the-week with each successive Euphoric assassin sent after Saiga and Kagura, art is a bit downgraded from typical Gonzo projects
Suitengu is revealed to be a devastatingly powerful Euphoric
Mike Tells It Straight: Reminiscent of Eyes Wide Shut this story portrays society's elite as the corrupt scum they really are!  It's R-rated and you'll enjoy the dirty tale Speed Grapher offers along with the many genre elements from hard-boiled detective, monster-of-the-week, and redemption for past sins series.  It's a bit off-the-wall and doesn't have the philosophical quality of a Cowboy Bebop, but is nonetheless a fun, hip ride. Recommended!

TO BUY and Recommendations: