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Gravitation: Complete Collection

Right Stuf // Unrated // January 4, 2011
List Price: $59.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Neil Lumbard | posted January 18, 2011 | E-mail the Author


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The Series: style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">style=""> 



style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";"> 


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Gravitationstyle="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";"> is a style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">shounen-ai
anime.  I'm no expert at understanding the
Japanese
language so this had to be looked up after viewing the series. It means
'boy
love'.  That means Gravitation
is a homosexual anime show. Of course, I knew that
after viewing the whole thing anyway. The truth of the matter is that
had I
realized this was a show aimed at women and homosexual men with a
plotline that
revolved around two characters, both men, perhaps falling in love...
well; let's
just say I probably wouldn't have been so eager to check it out. You
might be
wondering why I even bothered reviewing this show then. The reason I
gave the
show a chance is because I had heard good things about it, and I am now
glad
that I did as Gravitation easily
surpassed and challenged my expectations.




style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">That
is not to say I find something wrong with gay themed films. In fact,
the auteur
Gus Van Sant is one of my favorite film-makers and his man-love
masterpiece My Own Private Idaho is one of the best
examples
of cinematic art. It's just that I found it unusual to think of
shounen-ai
anime as even existing. The thought never occurred to me before as I
had never
seen such a thing. I don't fall into the target demographic this series
is
aiming towards because I am a straight male. That knowledge probably
helps to
explain my ignorance of this genre and the pivotal role it plays in
anime.


 


Let
me explain the plotline. Gravitation
is much more than simply a boy-love series. The series revolves around
an
aspiring rock musician by the name of Shuichi. He's a very feminine man
who
also acts somewhat ditzy throughout the course of the series. At the
start of
the show, we find him losing the lyrics to a song he has written. These
lyrics
fall into the hands of Eiri, a famous romance novelist. Unlike Shuichi,
Eiri is
quite masculine and not flamboyant in any regard. Their chance
encounter
demonstrates just how different these characters might seem at first
glance.
They seem to feel nothing but agitation at each other's words and
actions from
the very beginning. However, as the series progresses, something
continues to
push them closer to one another. Could it be love? The main storyline
of the
show is about whether or not a romance can exist between Shuichi and
Eiri. At
the same time, a great deal of effort was put into focusing on the
music group Shuichi's
in and the pitfalls of trying to become successful as musicians. This
element leads
to a lot of comedic moments and a surprisingly high number of enjoyable
side
characters that added some extra whimsy to this comical romance show. style=""> 
These ongoing plotlines actually feature some
surprising twists as well, especially one concerning a mysterious past
to Eiri that
is unknown to even the character himself. 
I enjoyed that element of mystery in the show and found that it
could
even keep me on the edge of my seat occasionally.




style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">If
there is one detractor to this box-set it is the included OVA. The
animation is
nowhere near as good as what can be found within the full series. The
storyline
is also disjointed and the writers expected viewers to already be
familiar with
the characters. I started with the OVA (which was produced prior to the
show).
That was a huge mistake. New viewers unfamiliar with these characters
and their
journeys should view it only after completing the main story.
Nonetheless, I
simply found it to be excruciatingly boring in comparison to the actual
series.
I would only recommend that serious fans view it as supplemental
material.


 


The
DVD:
style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">

style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; text-align: center; line-height: normal;"
align="center">style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">


style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";"> 


Audio:


style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">

The series is presented in its original Japanese language with a 2.0
soundtrack. The vastly inferior English dub track is included and
features a Dolby
Digital 5.1 surround track. The surround usage is kept front-heavy and
will not
sound especially superior to the original audio. This should make the
decision
to watch Gravitation in its original
language easier. The clarity is strong for either option. English
Subtitles are
provided for the Japanese audio and on screen text translations.

 

Video:




style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">Gravitation
is presented in its original aspect ratio of 4:3.
Viewers can expect a DVD transfer that is faithful to the source
material. The
series itself looks crisp and features strong colors and appropriately
smooth animation.
The series looks pleasing overall.
style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">The
included OVA: Lyrics
of Love
featured muted colors and a disappointingly dull image. I
would
rank the video even lower for its inclusion, but the series is the main
draw of
purchasing this set.


style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">

Extras:




style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">There
aren't that many extras. The
only really interesting feature was the ability to look through
detailed
descriptions of the show's characters. It should help fans become more
familiar
with the material should they so desire. Also included with this set is
the
first US trailer for Gravitation, art galleries, anime vs. manga
comparisons,
clean opening and ending credits, and notes that help explain some of
the cultural in-jokes and nods the series makes.

style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif";">

Final Thoughts:




The
reason this show seems to work on so many levels is the excellent
writing and
direction throughout. I certainly never felt like there was a dull
moment with
the show. Gravitation also did a
better job of developing its characters than I had initially
anticipated. While
I am not familiar with other shounen-ai (boy love) series I can
certainly recommend
this one for its surprisingly high entertainment factor. The only
downside to
the set is a disappointingly lackluster OVA and a general lack of
extras. Recommended.


style="margin-bottom: 0.0001pt; line-height: normal;">



Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.

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