Gravitation: Sparkle, Shuuichi

Hello, Everyone. We had Valentine’s earlier this week. So, let’s look at something romance-oriented. This series is based on a manga by Murakami Maki. In 2000, 2001 it was adapted into an anime by Studio Deen with help from Production Reed. Without further ado, let’s look at Gravitation.

Gravitation1.png

Story:

Our narrative opens with Bad Luck, a musical duo with singer Shindou Shuuichi & guitarist Nakano Hiroshi. The two are being berated by their manager for their failure at coming up with new songs and with the deadlines rapidly approaching too. Which happens. Art isn’t easy, you’ve got to put it together bit by bit. That evening, Shuuichi is walking while examining the lyrics he’s got when they slip away from him and hit a passing stranger. A handsome and tall stranger. The young man call the lyrics garbage, saying that Shuuichi has no talent. This inspires Shuuichi to finish in order to prove this stranger wrong because Shuuichi greatly cares about his opinion, thinking he was cool.

It turns out this stranger was Yuki Eiri, a popular romance writer. Shuuichi continues to run into Yuki, prompting the other man to question whether or not Shuuichi has fallen for him. The two eventually share a snog in an elevator, much to Shuuichi’s delight and confusion. Can the two of them turn this chance encounter into a functional relationship or are they destined for failure?

The biggest flaw with this series is the tone. For the first five episodes, it has a very light-hearted, fluffy type of tone with a lot of zany visual gags. In the sixth episode, things take a very abrupt, and very dark, turn and the rest of the series tries to balance the more serious content with the lighter and sillier elements, mainly leaning towards the lighter. I do give the series credit for trying to handle the darker aspects with gravity and not just letting them drop. However, it’s still pretty awkward in spite of their best efforts. A big part of the problem is that this anime is also kind of stupid, with a lot of moments that are really absurd or even nonsensical. These scenes could work fine if the series didn’t try mixing them with serious moments. A manager kicking in the door while holding a gun to introduce himself, that’s actually really funny. A scene like that and a somewhat explicit, very serious assault scene, however, do not really belong in the same work.

On the positive side, the zany moments are largely amusing and most the series, tonal awkwardness aside, is quite endearing and fun. The love story elements are effectively handled and there are a lot of sweet moments betwixt Shuuichi and Yuki.

Characters:

As a whole, the characters in this series are a lot of fun and most of our major cast have a nice amount of complexity. I quite like the stuff they do with Yuki’s family and their issues and the best friend dynamic with Shuuichi & Hiro is stellar. The character who really stands out, at least to me, is Hiro. I really like the way he’s written. The issue is with our major antagonistic character, Aizawa Taki. The man comes across as cartoonishly evil and has no real motivation aside from a vague and petty jealousy. He’s one-dimensional to the point where you could give him a serpent emblem and have him take orders from a man in a metal face mask and not change his characterisation in the slightest. Which wouldn’t be an issue if the series were entirely zany but, due to the serious aspects, it becomes a problem.

Gravitation2.png

Art:

The artwork is pretty nicely done with the characters and backgrounds getting some nice details. The visual jokes are largely effective as well. The biggest issue is that Bad Luck’s musical performances are a bit lazy in terms of recycling footage.

Sound:

The vocal cast in this is quite impressive. Seki Tomokazu & Inoue Kazuhiko portray the chemistry between their characters really well. We also get strong performances from Orikasa Ai and Matsumoto Yasunori. The music is really strong. However, it suffers from laziness similar to the performance scenes. They keep using the same Bad Luck song. At least a third of the episodes, and more than half of Bad Luck’s performances, seriously use the same song. While it is a good song it also gets a bit old after hearing it so many times in the span of thirteen episodes. Give credit to anime like Love Live and K-on, they give you a bunch of different songs that get used at varied enough times that none of them ever feel over-used.

Ho-yay:

In addition to the lovely relationship between Shuuichi & Yuki, we have a gent who outright states that he loves Yuki more than he loves anyone else. Ryuuichi is also quite homo-erotic and Yuki’s brother is clearly also interested in boys.

Final Thoughts:

As a zany, comedic work, Gravitation is enjoyable and endearing. Its biggest failing is that its serious sub-plots are out of place and result in tonal awkwardness. Which does weaken the series quite a bit. Overall, though, I give the series a solid 7/10. If you’re interested in seeing a nice romance with a lot of really funny, absurd moments, it may very well make a good choice for you. Just be aware that things are going to get serious and those scenes aren’t going to play well with the rest of the series. Next week I’m looking at Gangsta.

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2 thoughts on “Gravitation: Sparkle, Shuuichi

  1. Pingback: Gravitation | Anime Gauge

  2. Pingback: Twilight Q: Not the anthology we deserve or need | Anime Reviews

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