Reviews: Gravitation

No Accounting for Taste is glorified and it is TEDIOUS

Today I finished rewatching the anime. I’d remembered it from when I was almost 16 very fondly, partially as I was still relatively fresh out of the bi closet with lots of Gayngst to overcome, and it helped me view my sexuality more positively. I just finished watching it again, and...

Well, the series as a whole is fairly engaging, for the most part. Then it gets fairly repetitive: Yuki is mean to Shuuichi, who hits a slump just before a big event in Bad Luck’s career, he gets a last second pick-me-up, then he inches a bit closer to Yuki and the band becomes more popular. It’s engaging at first but gets tedious after a while. The subplots somewhat failed to get a hold of me as Taki and Ayaka are both very unpleasant (fortunately, Ayaka is so only temporarily, but she gets away with her abusive behaviour).

The music, save the OP&ED themes, is quite meh for a series about musicians. Amusingly, Bad Luck and Nettle Grasper sound so alike it makes Shuuichi’s aspirations to match and later surpass Ryuuichi (my favourite character, who, I think, merits far more attention for his Hidden Depths) seem comical. All in all the music is rather generic Jpop-rock that’s repeated too much. It speaks volumes that Shuuichi keeps making comparisons instead of trying to create something original, and barely changes after Ryuuichi points it out (my favourite scene of the series).

The cartoonish moments were often rather funny, if repetitive, but they often stopped meshing well with dramatic points, especially nearing the end (Neon Genesis Evangelion very notably avoiding this was, in part, what made it so effective). That, and the frequent failed attempts at American English, gave the series an almost lethal dosage of Narm.

Finally, it disturbingly seemed to portray Yuki’s and Shuuichi’s relationship positively, despite the former being outright abusive and the latter being a Stalker with a Crush whose ability to function depends entirely on the former’s treatment of him—he often goes missing for days at a time from work. A charitable interpretation of the relationship would be that Shuuichi is young and dumb (which makes it an awkward May-December Romance) but perceptive enough to see Yuki isn’t genuinely mean so much as broken, but that’d mean showing subtleties and nuances that the animation style couldn’t allow for, and is a bit of a stretch considering some of the things Shuuichi says (‘I’ll literally die without you’, ‘You can never escape because I love you’). As I was watching I often thought Yuki should’ve been played in a live-action adaptation by an actor who could convey nuances of emotion, as the anime made it look like Shuuichi just developed an obsession towards a random arsehole, something the OVA pretty much hammered in.

So I’ll give this show an 8.5 at first veering towards 7 later and hope the manga gets re-adapted properly, sans Unfortunate Implications.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/reviews.php?target_group=Manga&target_title=Gravitation