Thursday, July 6, 2006

Speed Grapher Vol. 1 Impression


These words, taken from the back of the box for Speed Grapher Vol. 1 from FUNimation pretty much sum up the show. Ex-war photographer Tatsumi Saiga is living a hum-drum life in Tokyo, taking pictures for tabloids to make a buck all while around him the rich get richer and poor ... they just remain the same. While following up on a tip Saiga stumbles upon a side of Tokyo only the most powerful and rich ever experience, an underground club where no desire is taboo, a club where Saiga meets Kagura Tennozu, a girl with special 'gifts.' With a kiss from Tennozu, Saiga gains his deepest desire, which looks like is to be able to destroy/kill through the lens of his camera. Sounds off-kilter, well it is.

Speed Grapher is not an anime for the young or faint of heart as volume one has plenty of adult situations, violence and things that are just wrong (wait till you see the underground club, good times, if you're into that kind of thing). So as stated above we have Saiga who loves taking pictures, even at his own expense body-wise and Kagura Tennozu, a young girl who's mother, Shinshen Tennozu, just happens to be ultra-rich and the most powerful woman in Tokyo (she runs the underground club). She also happens to be quite twisted herself (very sexual) and utilizes here henchmen as super powered thugs. Suitengu is one white haired badass you don't want to cross, even if you only owe him $1, you better pay up. Mix in a bunch of dirty politicians, some cops, including the very, very horny detective Hibari Ginza (she's always after Saiga, and gets him, good times) and you have a base for a very different anime.

Volume one will do one of two things. 1) Turn you off to the series because you don't like the overly sexual content thinking it detracts from the show or 2) leave you wanting more. When I say wanting more I don't me dirty, perverse stuff, it's not everywhere, but rather wanting to find out more about the characters, these strange powers some individuals have (including Saiga thanks to Kagura) and just how things will play out. I want to see volume two as one really set the stage. Four episodes that expose you to most of the main players, hides nothing about their outward personalities, and pulls no punches in it's story telling or art style. It's dark, it's gritty, and you come away feeling a little dirty, in a good way, as even the 'hero' has his vices.

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