Analysis: Gungrave

Incomplete. Spoilers are unmarked.

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True Companions and Love Redeems

The anime series is heavily focused on the relationship between Brandon and Harry. Although Brandon's devotion to Harry seems unrequited at first, by the time the anime ends, it is.

Brandon cares for Harry deeply, and his devotion to Harry is easily seen throughout the series. Wherever Harry goes, he always follows him. To get Harry to the top of Millennion, he is willing to be a hitman, which is an Irony since he is terrified whenever somebody pulls the trigger of a gun and kills someone. Then Brandon, being part of Millennion, is supposed to enforce the Code of Iron and execute Harry by the time he knows that Harry is not doing the right thing anymore. However, he can't because Harry is his best friend and he actually chooses Harry over Millennion. When he admits it in the finale, he says that he has no regrets with his choice.

Harry's devotion to Brandon is harder to see, to the point it seems like Harry only subordinates Brandon all this long. Harry never cares about how Brandon feels during his days as hitman. Harry's rage over Brandon siding with Big Daddy can have two meanings: either Harry actually still cares about Brandon or Harry is just being a Manipulative Bastard. But when Harry suffers Villainous Breakdown and sheds Tears of Remorse after murdering Brandon, the former is more correct. Harry can't accept that he has killed Brandon and is actually just, for the lack of better word, jealous with Brandon seemingly to choose Big Daddy over him. Which is also why he is extremely angry at Big Daddy and decides to brutally kill him later, for the reason that Big Daddy takes away his most valuable treasure: Brandon.

The series ends with the reconciliation between Brandon and Harry. Brandon still shows his devotion to Harry even though Harry has killed Brandon's loved ones. Brandon actually can probably survive the ordeals if he has sided with the new Millennion by killing Harry, but he doesn't. He chooses to protect Harry from the agents. This, combined with his confession that he has always been choosing Harry over Millennion, has Harry begging for forgiveness and fixes their relationship. They then do Mutual Kill, which may be a mutual Mercy Kill as well since both of them are already dying.

See also the Fridge Brilliance regarding the theme that plays at the finale, which is titled Happy Ending.

Secret Test of Character

This is what happens in episode 14. Bob's wiretapping work has let Harry hear that Brandon will enforce the Code of Iron, meaning that he will kill anybody who breaches the Code of Iron, no matter who he is. This makes Harry assume that Brandon's loyalty is with Big Daddy, not Harry.

Shocked and upset with what he has heard, Harry secretly comes up with a plan. He asks Brandon to wander around the town with him while reminiscing about their pasts. Harry suddenly tells Brandon that the current successor, Alzac Tino, suddenly falls ill. He casually says that Alzac is such an unlucky guy. Brandon's reaction, however, is only shocked. Not smiling or whatsoever, which may be what Harry is expecting from him if he is still loyal to Harry.

The climax comes at the elevator scene. Harry suddenly persuades Brandon to connive with him to kill Big Daddy, and with this, Harry can reach the top while Brandon will also get Maria back. Brandon is of course, angry because he is loyal to Big Daddy and has left Maria to Big Daddy. He punches Harry and points his gun at him, showing that he'll enforce the Code of Iron out of his loyalty to Big Daddy. However, Brandon then drops his gun, because he can't shoot his best friend.

Unfortunately, Harry perceives this as betrayal and has had enough. He murders Brandon afterwards for betraying him. The next episode, Harry reveals to Big Daddy (who asks Harry to kill him if Harry wants) that he has no intention of killing Big Daddy.

Odd Couple and Opposites Attract

Brandon and Harry are like Yin and Yang: opposite but complement to each other. If they team up, they are unbeatable. Their teamwork during their early days at Millennion enables them to rise through ranks very quickly.
  • Brains and Brawn / Noble Male, Roguish Male: Harry leads and does business since he has much better communication skills and isn't particularly good at fighting, while Brandon does the fighting and killing since he talks very little and fares much better in fighting.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Zigzagged. Brandon is an altruistic henchman and cares deeply for the people he loves, but he does all the fighting and killing. Harry is an egoistic leader and does not care as deeply as Brandon does, but he hardly ever gets his hands dirty with guns.
  • The Unfettered and The Fettered: Harry does anything to reach the top, even if it means that he has to abandon his morals, while Brandon is limited to his personal code of never betraying anybody.