"Love, the one force that simply won't be denied!"Gravitation
, created by Maki Murakami, is one of the few mainstream Boys Love
manga and anime series out there, partly because of the non-explicit nature of the romance between the two main male characters, and also because it has an actual plot to it instead of the usual Plot? What Plot
? in BL.
Shuichi Shindou is a typical 19-year-old who wants, above all, to be a J-pop singer in his band Bad Luck along with his friend Hiro. But life has something else in store for him: while walking through a park at night, the song lyrics he had been working on are blown out of his hand, and picked up by a tall, blond, and snarky
stranger who mercilessly criticizes them. A hurt Shuichi is determined to track down the stranger (later found to be famous romance novelist Eiri Yuki) and demand an apology. But wouldn't you know it, he finds himself being strangely attracted to him by that unstoppable force called gravitation...
The rest of the series is about Bad Luck's rise to fame and the development of the rocky relationship between hyper Shuichi and emotionally cold Yuki who has a dark past
of his own. They break up and get back together as the series continually seesaws between angst and comedy
, but the gravitational pull of love keeps them together in the end, in spite of, or maybe because
of, their vastly different personalities
was first made into a 2-episode OVA
series that had a noticeably distinct color scheme, including inexplicable hair color redesigns
. It was later remade into a 13-episode anime series that somehow managed to pack the comedy, drama, romance, and music in equal spades without compromising the strength of any one. It's even become popular enough that many non-BL lovers have enjoyed
it for its other qualities.Not
to be confused with Gravion
, nor with a famous textbook on General Relativity by Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler, nor with a Jason Rohrer's videogame
Some tropes include:
- Arranged Marriage: Yuki and Ayaka. She breaks it off later to let him be with Shuichi, though.
- Art Evolution: Compare earlier volumes of the manga with later ones and it becomes very obvious. The sudden improvement happened to coincide with the author acquiring a troop of assistants.
- It goes even further. Compare the last chapter of the original manga to the last released chapters of Gravitation Ex. The style seems to devolve into in very simplistic style by comparison, though this may have been an indication of her eventual hiatus.
- Bare Your Midriff: The outfit Shuichi wears while performing.
- Bleached Underpants: The mangaka created doujinshi (Remix series) that is far more explicit than the original series. And then the Megamix series, which is even more so.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: The whole cast aren't exactly people with their heads well placed on their shoulders. Specially in the manga.
- Crossdresser: In the manga: Yuki and K.
- Denser and Wackier: Hits the manga hard from book six onward.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: In the OVA with Suichi's mouth and K's gun.
- Double Standard: It's interesting, and at times painful, to contrast how these character types would be (and frequently are) treated in het romance. If Yuki was a woman, fans would hate her for "taking Shuichi's pure love for granted and treating The Woobie like crap". If Shuichi was a girl, she'd be bashed as "a Love Martyr who sucks up to her boyfriend despite him treating her like shit and sets back feminism x years". Since they're both males, fans barely notice the flaws of both characters, or bend over to justify them... while female characters with the same traits get routinely slammed, slutshamed, loathed, etc.
- Fag Hag: Reiji suffers severely conflicted feelings when she realizes that the man she is in love with is in love with another man, because she actually has a fetish for that kind of thing.
- Fake Band: This shouldn't even need to be explained...
- Five-Man Band: Bad Luck: Shuichi as the lead singer (The Hero), Hiro the guitarist (The Lancer), K the manager (The Big Guy: Noriko takes this role in the manga before K shows up), and Suguru the keyboardist (The Smart Guy). Their male producer Sakano, who frets like a mother hen with eggs balancing on the edge of the Eiffel Tower, is easily The Chick.
- Flanderization: Shuichi in the original manga went from an Ordinary High-School Student who was more impulsive and loud-mouthed than those around him to a full-blown Keet. To be fair, this was mitigated by his maturation in the last few volumes. The anime avoids this by simply depicting him as the Keet from the beginning.
- Fun with Acronyms: "Bad Luck" is occasionally abbreviated to "BL." Right, that's what it stands for.
- Gayngst: Shuichi doesn't go through this most of the time but when he does, it hits him hard.
- Genius Ditz: Ryuichi acts just like a little kid until he gets in front of a microphone, when he suddenly goes into "serious" mode and his Puppy-Dog Eyes narrow. He's more of a Bunny-Ears Lawyer in the manga where he shows surprising ingenuity even when not acting completely "adult".
- Due to supernatural events in Gravitation Ex, it seems that Ryuichi may actually be suffering from two separate, conflicting personalities.
- Gratuitous English: K's random English phrases. Don't forget Spicy Marmalade!
- Has Two Mommies: the temporary care of Riku.
- Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Yuki in the beginning, Hiro throughout. Shuichi also takes very much care to remind people that actually, he's bi.
- Humongous Mecha: Reiji's preferred method of travel.
- Incurable Cough of Death: Subverted: At one point Yuki seems to suffer from this condition, even going to the extent of coughing up blood. However the illness turns out to be ulcers and goes away on its own.
- Interrupted Suicide: The final episode of the anime Shuichi arrives just in time to keep Yuki from committing suicide. Keeping up with the spirit of Mood Whiplash of the series, Shuichi is wearing a dog suit as he bursts through the wall just as Yuki is about to shoot himself.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Ayaka, Yuki's fiancée, willingly gives him up to Shuichi. Hiro might also do this with Shuichi to an extent, depending on how much you read into the Ho Yay. Reiji eventually delivered this to Shuichi as well.
- Hiro actually quotes the trope at the beginning.
- Keet: Shuichi is the example on the page.
- Love Can Make You Gonk: Shuichi does this on the rare occasion when something good happens with Yuki.
- Love Martyr: It doesn't seem to matter just how cold and distant Yuki acts toward Shuichi; Shuichi is still hopelessly in love with him. Even when Yuki tells him that he committed homicide in the past, Shuichi doesn't seem to be bothered. Ironically, Yuki actually tells him this in an attempt to chase him off for his own good.
- May-December Romance Noriko and Tetsuya.
- Meaningful Name: "Yuki" (the word, and the girls' name) means "snow". He tends to be very cold towards people. This is lampshaded when Shuichi is playing charades to get his message across.
- Mood Whiplash: Dramatic scenes turn comedic at the drop of a hat (normally when Shuichi pulls a Super-Deformed antic), and vice versa.
- Moral Dissonance: Arguably. However YMMV. As we find out that a large proportion of Yuki's backstory stems from an attempted rape. Fair enough considering how horrible that is. However the dissonance comes in that when Shuichi actually GETS raped by two guys no less as part of a vengeance/blackmail plan it is literally glossed over in almost one chapter and never mentioned again. However much Moral Dissonance can be argued on this one, at the very least there is Angst Dissonance.
- No Accounting for Taste: Shuichi and Yuki
- Older than They Look: Ryuichi looks about as old as nineteen-year-old Shuichi when he's in fact thirty years old. Arguably, round-faced Shuichi doesn't look his age either. The same goes for Tohma and Noriko, both being over thirty and looking very young for their ages.
- Rape as Drama: Shuichi is gang-raped on the orders of rival musician Taki Aizawa in order to protect Yuki's reputation. But though Shuichi suffers physical injuries over it and has serious angst over it, he get over the ordeal relatively quickly. The fact that he's able to do so makes Yuki cry for the first time in six years.
- Shout-Out: A crossdresser named Yoshiki in a series featuring part of the Japanese music scene. Now isn't this familiar? Also, Shuichi's appearance seems to be based in part on one of hide's styles.
- Shotacon: An Omake chapter shows that Tohma's more-than-just-brotherly interest in Yuki dates back at least far enough to have induced jealous combats with Yuki Kitazawa.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: Much of Shuichi and Yuki's interaction in the first episode consists of Shuichi yelling at Yuki that he has no right to insult his lyrics and Yuki coolly responding that he really has no talent, climaxing in a kiss. Interestingly, this Will They or Won't They? phrase is much shorter than typical because Shuichi from then on becomes completely devoted to Yuki, who plays the part of the cranky but ultimately protective lover.
- 80% of Shuichi and Reiji's interaction boils down to this, but with grudging acknowledgment rather than actual kissing save for one incident where she finally gave up on him.
- Smoking Is Cool: The entire Uesugi Clan. And K. And Noriko. And Hiro.
- Stupid Sexy Flanders: Shuichi might be a victim with a notoriously open mind, considering how he never shows any interest men except for Yuki; particularly in the manga, where he actually has some brief displays of interest in women.
- Super-Deformed: Shuichi is especially prone to this.
- Sympathetic Murder Backstory: Yuki killed someone but it was in self-defense, they were trying to rape him. It ruined their life, so you will probably feel pretty sorry for them.
- Tall, Dark and Snarky: Yuki fits this role to a T, though he has the wrong hair color.
- There Was a Door: Shuichi does this occasionally.
- Transsexual: Yoshiki Kitazawa, although the series portrays her as more of a Wholesome Crossdresser.
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: Arguably, Hiro in regards to Shuichi and Ayaka in regards to Yuki.
- Verbal Tic: Sakuma's "Nano Da".
- Visual Kei: Bad Luck appears to be this, albeit comparatively subdued.
- White Hair, Black Heart: Tohma who, while initially appearing to be an amiable person, is shown to have a ruthless streak when his brother-in-law's safety or health is threatened.
- Wrestler in All of Us: OVA Shuichi handing out German Suplexes.
- Yandere: Although a bit more male than the typical Yandere, Shuichi's obsession with Yuki goes from endearing to downright alarming as the series progresses. Also, Yuki's brother-in-law Tohma holds a constant, disarming smile as he manipulates his employees, orders Shuichi to break up with Yuki if he wants to stay at NG Studios, and even pushes a man in front of a moving car.
- Tohma is much further down this road than Shuichi in the manga, where he not only displays it far more often, but at one point also attacks Yoshiki dressed up as her brother with an axe for giving Yuki trauma.