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Anime: Speed Grapher
aka: Speedgrapher

Speed Grapher (スピードグラファー, Supiido Gurafaa) is a 2005 anime series, created by GONZO Digimation and Toei Animationnote . The series ran for 24 episodes from April to October 2005. The series was licensed for release in North America by FUNimation Entertainment in 2006 and has been showing on IFC since March 7, 2008.

It starts when the cynical and jaded Intrepid Reporter Tatsumi Saiga is sent to investigate a fetish club for the richest in Japan, whose "goddess" is a teenager named Kagura. She's an odd, waifish young girl with the power to give people super-powers coming from their desires, obsessions and fetishes; when she kisses Saiga during their first encounter, she grants him the power to destroy anything he takes a photo of, related to the sexual pleasure he gets from photographing something really interesting.

His curiosity piqued, Saiga decides to learn more about Kagura and her powers, then vows to free her from the Roppongi Club and the Tennouzu corrupt group (whose head is Kagura's ruthless mother, Shinzen) that cruelly uses the girl for their own purposes...

Speed Grapher contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Where to start?
    • Shinzen underfeeds, slaps, belittles, and pimps Kagura to Suitengu, as revenge because Kagura's father ran out on them when she was pregnant.
    • Two people whom Suitengu deals with also abuse their kids. He even kills one of them when he offers his daughter as a sex slave for him, unknowingly hitting Suitengu's Berserk Button.
    • Miharu's Stage Mom, too. No wonder she's completely fucked up.
  • Adult Fear: One of the otherwise stoic mooks hunting Kagura covers his ears and trembles when the crazy dentist is killing a girl in the next room.
  • A God Am I: One of the minor Euphorics is a lightning-using priest with a god complex. He provides his (extravagant) church for Suitengu's wedding.
  • All Men Are Perverts and All Women Are Lustful: A part of the premise, since the series deconstructs sexual liberation among other things.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Funimation release has Shutter Speed instead of "Girls on Film".
  • Amazing Freaking Grace: Sung by someone who is very obviously not Kagura, in episode 5.
    • In the dubbed version, Monica Rial sang it, while in the subbed version, another singer sang it.
  • Animated Tattoo: One of the minor euphorics.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Saiga to Kagura in episode 24.
    • Bob also sort of declares his love for Saiga once or twice, though this is more for comedic effect.
  • Anti-Villain: The Muggle majority make many of the villains seem pleasant by comparison. The ones who last longer over the course of series show a surprising decency.
    • Chouji Suitengu is a HUGE bastard, but he genuinely cares for his henchmen and shows a softer spot for children since he thought his sister died.
      • In any other series, Suitengu would probably be one of the heroes, considering his Start of Darkness.
    • Miharu, as well. She works for the Big Bad and assassinates people, including an attempt on the main characters, but when the show delves beneath her exterior, she turns out to be rather sad and pitiful.
  • Asshole Victim: The Crapsack World theme provides a lot of these.
  • The Atoner: this is probably why Ginza ends up working as a nurse in war-torn countries
  • Attempted Rape: Dr. Nishiya, on Kagura
  • Author Appeal: Several of the Euphorics have a One-Winged Angel form that incorporates spiders- probably to up the creepiness.
  • Author Tract: See Sex Is Evil.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Saiga mostly faces hard-to-be-photographed Euphoriacs, but once he manages to do so...
  • Badass
  • Bare Your Midriff: Ginza(in the opening credits)
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Subverted. Suitengu achieves his main goal of creating a worldwide depression, but it isn't a Downer Ending-life simply goes on, while Kagura and Saiga find happiness.
  • Big Eater: Kamiya is one of the most grotesque version of the trope.
  • Blessed with Suck: Saiga's superpower make everything he photographs explode, keeping him from following his passion for photography. And in the end, it renders him blind.
  • Bloody Murder: Suitengu's power is this.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Saiga, towards Kagura.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: The Villain Balls start rolling beyond the story's ability to steer them or their ability to drive the story, leaving it behind.
  • Break the Cutie: Poor Kagura
  • Break the Haughty: Poor Suitengu
    • Ginza too in a later episode, in which she finally learns the kind of people she's been helping by obstructing Saiga.
  • Catch Phrase: Ginza's "Self defense!"
  • Child Soldiers: Suitengu started as one of these
  • The Chikan: A guy grabs Kagura's ass on the subway, though she just giggles and thinks the guy was just "tickling" her, and didn't realize the guy was a pervert until Saiga told her afterwards.
  • Chrome Champion: Madame Kouganei can change into diamond.
  • Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: Ginza and Dr. Ryougoku
  • Clip Show: An internal audit illustrates the club's profits and losses over the course of the series.
  • Corrupt Bureaucrat: Seemingly every single person in the Japanese government and from what is shown/implied of other countries- possibly all politicians- see Crapsack World.
  • Crapsack World: Literally everyone in the series with any power or fame belongs to the secretive Roppongi Club. Almost everyone in the series is bought off or blackmailed by the Club.
    • A broader description would include the severe corruption of the police, the ability of the wealthy to literally get away with murder (and with ease, too), and the fact that lives are essentially bought and sold on a regular basis. And a constant statement is that only those with money are truly free in this society.
  • Cross Counter: Saiga gets into a boxing match with Ochiai, ending with this.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Most Euphorics rather enjoy their superpowers, usually not minding the downsides.
    • As the Euphoric virus physically manifests a persons fetishes, and most of the Euphorics weren't nice people to begin with this makes perfect sense.
  • Dark Action Girl: Ginza.
  • Deconstruction: Heavy deconstruction of the ideas of sexual freedom and fetishism, among other themes.
  • Depraved Bisexual: A very Rare Female Example of this can be found in Shinzen.
  • Depraved Dentist: With drills and other dentistry devices as his power, even.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Loads and loads of this in a Crapsack World where a debtor can be shot for being a few thousand yen short.
    • A few thousand yen short? In one of the early episodes, a man is hanged for being ten yen short of his 300 million yen membership fees to the Roppongi Club.
  • Distant Finale: As the credits role, there's an epilogue that brings us up to date on the fates of both major and minor characters.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Given that Euphoric powers are tied to sexual desire, it's kind of interesting that Saiga eventually goes blind from using his too often.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: In spite of the moral against sexual abberation, much of the Fanservice that occurs in this series is, indeed, increadibly hot.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Ginza, on an unconscious Saiga. But in keeping with the deconstructive tone, it was portrayed as incredibly screwed up.
  • The Dragon: Tsujido, to Suitengu. Suitengu himself, to Shinzen.
  • Dressed All in Rubber - Katsuya Shirogane's body becomes a rubber gimp suit when he was killing people.
  • Eagleland: Major type two. America launches missiles at Tokyo at the end of the series to kill Suitengu, who is "evidence" of the biological weapon experimentation program of which America had a part in sponsoring. Judging by the accent, the President is definitely George W. Bush.
    • Only in the dub, though, which would mean that any connection to George Bush is more likely the result of the American dubbing company than the Japanese production company. In the original Japanese version, the American politicians speak their lines in English, but use Japanese voice actors to do so. Their accents, therefore, are impossible to link to any real life US politicians.
  • Ending Theme: The softly incredible (1st) ending theme evokes lounging in bed with your lover on a Sunday morning.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Saiga.
  • Evil Debt Collector: Suitengu and his minions were the victims of them in the past, but also act the part themselves to anyone who is in debt after enjoying the Roppongi Club.
  • Evil Matriarch: Shinzen
  • Evil Versus Evil: Suitengu against some of the leaders of Parliament including the Prime Minister himself.
  • Evolving Credits
  • Eye Scream: via Fridge Logic. At the end you just see blood gushing from Saiga's eyes, and afterwards they're closed or covered by sunglasses; does that mean his eyes exploded?
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: Used to cover Saiga's escape the first he enters the secret circle.
  • Fan Disservice: Considering the source, this is to be expected...
    • This is series that can even successfully show a Girl on Girl Is Hot scene with both parties being attractive, yet it still comes off as horrifying and depraved while still being played totally straight.
  • Fast Forward To Reunion: At the end of the series Kagura, now an adult, comes back to Saiga and embraces him.
  • Femme Fatale: Ginza
  • Femme Fatalons: Madame Kouganei in her diamond form.
  • Film Noir: To its very core.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Suitengu
  • Genetic Engineering is the New Nuke: No doubts. Genetic engineering is what created both the Euphoria Virus and the Euphoria Catalyst present in Kagura's body.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Saiga to Kagura in episode 3
  • Going for the Big Scoop: Had Saiga not snuck into the club, he would not have Suitengu and his people after his ass indeed.
  • Good Wings, Evil Wings: Suitengu has evil ones, produced by using his Bloody Murder power.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Rather madly played around with Ekoda. Also, Shinzen.
  • Guns Akimbo: Ginza Hibari wields two gold-plated handguns.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Due to superpowers and Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy. Even Hibari comes down with A-Team Firing a few times.
  • Healing Factor: Part and parcel of being a Euphoric is that the body can regenerate any damage taken to it... so long as the brain is intact, as the virus is controlled by subconscious impulses from the brain.
  • Heel Face Door Slam: Shinzen.
  • Heel Realization: Ginza
  • The Hedonist: Every single member of the Roppongi Club and most Euphorics, in both cases to the most despicable extreme possible save for very few exceptions.
  • Hookers and Blow: Members of the Roppongi Club are often shown with women draped over them, who they are generally abusing in some way. One episode shows Makabe and Niihari partaking in this to celebrate, but without the abusive part (again, this is a series where the major villains are more likable than minor ones).
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Ginza. "SELF DEFENSE!" BANG! She gets better.
  • Hollywood Density: Suitengu gives Tsujido, Makabe, Kokubunji and Niihari suitcases full of gold.
  • Honor Before Reason: Saiga is willing to do anything to free Kagura, despite clearly knowing it'll bring him nothing but Hell.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Saiga
  • I Gave My Word: People tell him repeatedly to give up, but Saiga will stop at nothing to give Kagura her freedom.
    • Also, the reason whyb a BSOD-ing Ginza didn't kill Kagura despite clearly wanting to do so in the end is because Saiga asked her to save Kagura.
  • I Have the High Ground: Saiga, in the OP
  • Intrepid Reporter: Saiga, just Saiga
  • I Owe You My Life: Tsujido, Makado and Niihari were rescued from slavery and torture by Suitengu. Also, Saiga owes his life to Kagura and her Kiss of Death.
  • Ill Girl: Kagura, who has a brain tumor and isn't expected to live for long. She lives, in the end.
  • Improbable Weapon User: A normal photographic camera becomes lethal once Saiga takes a hold of it.
  • Karma Houdini: Ginza. The fact that she betrayed Kagura back to her mother and Suitengu then threw Saiga in jail after raping him is never mentioned or acted on afterwords.
    • Arguably, Kagura's Evil Matriarch mother, who though she was killed in the end by Suitengu, is generally fondly remembered by her daughter, though this could be all a part of Kagura's Woobieness.
    • You could also count Niihari, since thanks to Suitengu's machinations, he ends up as possibly the wealthiest person in Japan. This isn't a case where the audience feels that bad, since the character is sort of sympathetic. Not to mention, his end goal is to build a monument to honor his dead friends and savior, which is rather noble. The methods he's shown to accomplish this, however... not so much.
  • Kiss of Death: If Kagura kisses you and you don't have the Euphoria virus, you're as good as dead.
  • Level Up Fill Up: Saiga got one when he received the Euphoria factor from Kagura.
  • Mad Artist: Saiga, to an extent. The dentist from Episode 8 is seen carving a tiny statue out of Kagura's molar.
  • Made Of Diamond: A literal example is Madame Kouganei from episodes 5-6.
  • Made of Iron: Euphorics in general seem to get a major toughness boost, even accounting for their Healing Factor. For example, when facing off against a Euphoric dentist, Saiga gets multiple drills straight through either arm, and is still able to activate a specially prepared camera to blow him to pieces. They do feel pain, but their susceptibility to it seems to go down the longer they are infected.
  • Magical Camera: Saiga has a power that lets him blow up anything he shoots with his camera, although the magic is in himself rather than the object.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Ochiai.
  • May Contain Evil: Suitengu used the Tennuozu megacorp to distribute products that contained a chemical that would lower people's inhibitions, making them more violent
  • May-December Romance: Kagura is 15, Saiga is 33.
  • Money to Burn: Suitengu smokes cigarettes wrapped in 10,000 Yen bills. (~$100)
    • Chain smokes, and has a habit of tossing one aside half finished and lighting another one.
  • Monster of the Week: A new Euphoric pops up every few episodes, and is dealt with just as quickly. Surprisingly, this keeps the story moving at a good pace. Plus, all Euphorics are elite members of the Roppongi Club, and so they're being deliberately contracted to kill Saiga and recover Kagura.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Ginza admits she'd love to kill Kagura. She doesn't go through it.
  • Mysterious Waif: Kagura
  • Nasty Party: In the final episode, Suitengu invites a bunch of particularly important, and corrupt people to the Roppongi Club and then blows it up with them inside
  • Nigh Invulnerable: Euphorics are pretty tough to begin with, but if a Euphoric's power involves heavily manipulating the makeup of their body, then they become all the tougher. They will still die if their brain is pulverised or their head removed, but one needs to account for their flesh and bone being replaced by, say, rubber or diamond.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Kamiya offers this to Kagura.
  • No Range Like Point-Blank Range: "If the picture isn't good enough, you're not close enough!"
  • The Nose Knows: Tsujido's primary ability, part of turning into a big wolf monster.
  • No Social Skills: Kagura.
  • Nostalgic Music Box: Frequently played by Suitengu.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Kagura, who's injected with a strange substance that stunts her growth on a regular basis.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Ginza's diminutive, cowardly, and kind of perverted boss turns out to be The Mole for the villains, and has a fetish for women's legs that he pursues by cutting off with a chainsaw - including the legs of his wife and daughter.
  • Obfuscating Disability: Suitengu spends a short time pretending to be wheelchair-bound after Shinzen shoots him in both knees. He drops the act at his earliest opportunity, as it annoyed him to act so confined.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: The Wedding Day theme is Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. Subtle.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Showing some Genre Savvy, Dr. Nishiya compares having the Euphoric virus to being a vampire - especially the modern kind wherein vampirism is actually given a scientific explanation. Like vampires, euphorics have some impressive benefits to their powers, but also some quite negative drawbacks. Also true, but unmentioned, is how both exhibit the Interplay of Sex and Violence.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: as shown in the final episode, Tsujido's full euphoric form involves turning into a wolf.
  • Panty Shot: Kagura, in the later version of the opening credits.
  • Pet Homosexual: Bob, Saiga's friend and neighbor. Who also is one of the few completely decent people in the series, doubling as Saiga's Only Sane Man friend, which Saiga does appreciate (though not romantically).
  • Pet the Dog: Believe it or not, Shinzen can be very kind and sweet to her mentor Goutokuji...
    • Suitengu's pardoning of play money girl's father is another example. Killing the guy when he offers to sell his own daughter is an arguable example.
  • Playing with Syringes: The source of Suitengu's powers. Also includes a Bloodbath Villain Origin when people try to cover up the experiments by shooting at the tank he was stored in in Weapon X style.
  • Power Perversion Potential: Played with, invoked and inverted. In essence, Euphorics gain superpowers because of their perversions, and specifically based on their perversions.
  • Prime Minister Evil- and how!
  • Punch Clock Villain: Tsujido, Makado and Niihari. They're not evil per se, just owe their lives and freedom to Suitengu.
  • Psycho for Hire: Suitengu and several of the Euphoria.
  • Rabid Cop: Ginza, a rare female example
  • Real Song Theme Tune: Sing with us, tropers: Girls on Film ~
    • Unfortunately, when Funimation approached Duran Duran about using the song for the English release of the anime, the band found out that their record label had sold the rights to "Girls On Film." Since Duran Duran no longer owned their own song and were therefore not authorized to okay its use, Funimation instead used one of the tracks from the OST, "Shutter Speed."
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Euphorics can take a hit, but they die if their head is removed.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Suitengu sees Kagura as a replacement for his dead little sister, Yui. Saiga lampshades the trope when he directly asks this question in the Grand Finale.
  • Rubber Man: Katsuya Shirogane.
  • Running Gag: Tsujido does lose a car at least once an episode.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Suitengu and Ran Yurigaoka.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: And HOW!
  • Sex Is Evil: Well, fetishes are evil. The series seems to be on the fence about whether vanilla sex is bad, but if you've got a sexual fetish of any sort, even one that sounds utterly harmless (diamond fetish, tattoo fetish), you're going to do horrible, horrible things to satisfy it. This is part of an overall anti-perversion moral, hammered home brutally.
  • Shadow Archetype: Suitengu has some of this in relation to Saiga, as both have very similar perspectives on the world; they just act on them very differently, and have an even closer bond in sharing a Meta Origin both contracted the virus allowing them to become Euphorics on the same island- Saiga as a photographer; Suitengu as a young soldier. There's also Ochiai, who was someone Saiga considered an inspiration, but turns out to be evil, and a fellow Euphoric, and keeps pulling Not So Different on Saiga during their fight.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Saiga always says "It's not like that!" he's asked if he loves Kagura.
  • Shout-Out: To Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. Compare the orgy scenes and the outfits of those who partake in them.
  • Sinister Minister: The priest marrying Kagura and Suitengu is a lightning-using Euphoric with a god complex.
  • Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Kagura tries that when Shinzen is about to marry Suitengu. To say it doesn't work... it's an understatement.
    • Pulled off successfully by Saiga a few episodes later when Suitengu tries to marry Kagura, with the help of a few cameras...
      • Though it didn't do much good other than getting her away from Suitengu as the paperwork required for marriage was already done before the ceremony. So Suitengu actually succeeded in the marriage.
  • Spit-Trail Kiss: When Kagura kisses Saiga in the first episode.
  • Split Personality: Poor Kagura seems to have no recollection of her acts as the "Divine Goddess", except in her nightmares.
  • Spoiler Opening: Quick clips that give more than foreshadowing view of the episode's action.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Ginza
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Basically, Saiga's power.
  • Tears of Blood: Saiga, during his last fight with Suitengu.
    • Also, the victims of Seiji Ochiai and his sound manipulation power.
    • Not to mention, Suitengu when he mercy-kills Yui.
  • Techno Babble: Gisha-sensei was enthusiastic.
  • Terrible Trio: Tsujido, Makabe and Niihari fit the personality and physical requirements for a Team Rocket. And they would be a full-fledged TR, were this series a comedy... but since it's NOT, they're competent and a genuine threat to Saiga and Kagura for most of the series.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Suitengu knew he didn't have long to live and planned on his complex being destroyed with himself inside. Also in the complex is tons of money and investments, and since there's been lots of shady deals by powerful people, destroying the building means destroying the world's economy- and this happens exactly according to plan.
    • Japan's economy, not the entire world's, though the rest of the world would suffer.
  • The Thing That Goes Doink: It's not enough that Kagura lives in a penthouse compound atop a skyscraper with numerous mile-high private elevators, there has to be this bamboo contraption in the courtyard.
  • The Virus: The Euphoria virus
  • This Is a Drill: Dr. Mizunokuchi of episode 8.
  • Transformation Trauma: Saiga, Suitengu and Tsujido are the only ones that do NOT go bonkers when they use their powers.
  • Unflinching Walk: Saiga away from Ginza shooting at him. Granted, she was having a hard time bringing herself to hit him.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Poor Miharu.
  • Wife Husbandry: More deliberate in Suitengu's case, but the plan gradually grows on Saiga.
  • Woman Scorned: The true reason (aside of jealousy) why Shinzen is so cruel to Kagura is because she has believed for at least 15 years that her husband and Kagura's father, Dr. Kazuki Odawara, abandoned her right after their marriage, when she was still pregnant with Kagura. It turns out she was wrong. The guy was late, and then died days later, though it's ambiguous if he was murdered or if he committed suicide over the fact he didn't make it in time.
    • Which she learned just as she was dying, causing her to leave the world regretting pretty much everything, especially how she'd treated her only child. This may well be deserved.
  • Word Salad Title
  • Xanatos Gambit: Suitengu's marriage ceremony with Kagura. The paperwork was already completed and so there was no point if someone interupted it. If someone did, then he could justify any protective brotherly feelings for his Replacement Goldfish. If someone did, then he wouldn't feel bad lossing her to that person. Considering that he deliberately spares Saiga at the end the latter may be the case.
  • You Are Too Late: The well-intentioned extremist variation- while Saiga manages to prevent Suitengu from killing Kagura (or at least talks him out of it), he fails to stop Suitengu from killing the movers and shakers of Japanese society and literally blowing up the world economy- but both are sort of treated as a good thing. Also worth noting is that Saiga only lives because Suitengu decided to save his life before carrying out his Thanatos Gambit.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The diamond lady. The henchmen had clearly seen what a liability her demand for diamonds had been, so were unsurprised by the execution order.
  • You Killed My Father: The Group generally preemptively addresses this by paying off the survivors. Suitengu personally advises a boy who's father had failed a payment deadline on how he should go about holding up his end of the Prepare to Die part.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Saiga only has six months to help Kagura before she dies of her illness. And even less, with everyone chasing after them.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: As a part of Kagura's school uniform AND her Divine Goddess outfit.

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alternative title(s): Speed Grapher
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