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Video Game / Gungrave

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Beyond the Grave and his young companion, Mika Asagi.

To protect is to never betray.
In each hand he wields "CERBERUS", his twin handguns and on his back he carries a coffin filled with heavy weapons. Cloaked in darkness and smelling of the grave, he is back to kick ass!
—Series tagline

A series of stylish action third-person shooter video games developed and published by Red Entertainment and created and designed by Yasuhiro Nightow, known for also creating Trigun and Blood Blockade Battlefront. The first two games in the series were released for the PlayStation 2, in the vein of Devil May Cry minus the platforming and puzzle-solving.

Gungrave (2002): The original game revolves around a former hitman named "Brandon Heat", who had been been betrayed and murdered by his former best friend, Harry MacDowell, about fifteen years ago. However, Brandon's body was brought back to "life" through the Necrolization Project—an advanced technology that can reanimate the dead. Brandon was reborn as "Beyond the Grave", a techno-engineered gunslinging revenant. He receives his necessary sidearms from a young girl named Mika (who just so happens to be the daughter of the former head of the Syndicate). Seeking his protection, Mika returns to Grave his pair of massively-sized handguns, the "Left and Right Head of Cerberus". Grave's caretaker and creator, Dr. T., also provides him with a secondary weapon, the "Coffin", a large device stocked with multiple heavy weapons.


Now armed, Grave can set out for his mission—to destroy the Millennion Syndicate, the very organization he used to work for, in this darkly twisted tale of love, loss, betrayal, and revenge.

Gungrave: Overdose (2004): Three years have passed since the first game, while Grave has been placed into hibernation. Unfortunately, the deadly drug called "Seed" has resurfaced and Mika Asagi, now Grave's young ward, knows all too well of the chaos that will ensue if the drug spreads worldwide. Thus she awakens Grave for his protection and help once again. The game introduces two new playable characters—Juji Kabane (a swordsman skilled with flaming sword techniques and fellow deadman), and Rocketbilly Redcadillac (a rockabilly ghost haunting an electric guitar and a friend of Juji's). A supporting character is also introduced—a young amnesiac boy genius who calls himself Spike Hubie, whom Mika met on her travels.


Each playable character learns various types of Demolition Shots and have different normal skills than others. Juji excels with close-range combat but his guns are much weaker than the other two players. Rocketbilly Redcadillac has poor melee ability but possesses the best long-range abilities of the three, while Grave himself is fairly balanced.

The 26-episode anime from 2003 is an alternate retelling of the original video game. It follows Brandon's life from his start as a "street punk", to his rise as a Millennion sweeper, to his "fall" and rebirth as Grave. Despite having the same cast, the anime comes at the same basic plot from a more character-driven angle, and is best considered an Alternate Continuity. It definitely holds its own, and is recommended to anyone who's fond of mafia drama in the vein of The Godfather.

After Overdose, the series was put to rest. But during Sony's Tokyo Game Show 2017 press conference, a new game was announced for the PlayStation 4 as a PSVR title. Developed by Iggymob, Gungrave VR will be a sequel to Overdose that is also to serve as a predecessor to an upcoming fourth game, Gungrave G.O.R.E.

Games in the Series

  • Gungrave (developed and published by Red Entertainment; released for PlayStation 2 in 2002)
  • Gungrave: Overdose (developed by Ikusabune and published by Red Entertainment; released for PlayStation 2 in 2004)
  • Gungrave VR (developed by Iggymob and published by Red Entertainment; released for PlayStation 4 & PlayStation VR in December 2018)
  • Gungrave G.O.R.E. (developed by Iggymob, published by Red Entertainment and animated by DIGIC PICTURES; to be released for PlayStation 4 in 2021)

Kick Their Ass! (with examples!)

Tropes That Apply To Both Series

  • Adult Fear: Both the game and the anime have Mika being hunted by mobsters after witnessing the death of her mother. She's at most fourteen when everything happens.
    • In the game, Mika is thrown out of a window of a moving train.
    • In the anime, Bunji fires misdirected shots at her. Then she's kidnapped, and Lee constantly threatens her with his blades.
  • Affably Evil: Most of Millennion's members (and therefore most of the main cast) when you think about it. This series is sort of built on this trope.
  • Anyone Can Die: Particularly in the anime, where by the end Mika is the only major character who's still alive.
  • Arc Words: "To protect is to never betray."/"You have to survive, Mika." (or some variant on "Mika must live").
  • Armor Meter: Beyond the Grave (the player character) has a blue bar beneath his HP bar that serves as this; he wouldn't actually be damaged from heavy gunfire of Mooks as long as the bar is still there, but if it depletes, that's when he takes damage normally.
  • Avenging the Villain: In Overdose, Sherry, the wife of Harry MacDowell returns as a necrolizer to exact revenge against Grave, who had killed Harry. Grave also killed Sherry's father, Bear Walken, so Sherry's none too pleased about that. And then there's Balladbird, who doesn't take Bob's death well.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname:
    • With names like Brandon Heat, Balladbird Lee, and Bear Walken, damn near everyone in the series has one.
    • Only Bob Poundmax can have a name calling him fat yet it still sounds awesome.
    • What's the name of your Mad Scientist who doesn't do a lick of fighting in the entire anime? Laguna Glock.
    • Of all the characters who fit this trope, Rocketbilly Redcadillac runs away with the prize.
  • Ax-Crazy / Knife Nut: Balladbird Lee after becoming a Superior and later on, finding out that his closest friend Bob was defeated by Grave.
  • Badass Longcoat:
    • Grave's badass tailcoat, which he replaces in O.D. with a...badass jacket? Juji has also has one.
    • Bunji gets one in the second game. Probably to provide more of a resemblance to Juji, who's his younger brother.
  • Badass Normal: Zell Condorbrave in Overdose. Though only human, he and his squadron have fought many a deadman, even killing four of them. In the anime, Brandon before becoming Grave definitely counts. Brandon can throw a mean right hook.
    • In the anime, Bunji pre-Superiorization qualifies. He held his own against the Necrolyzed Lightning members longer than most did, and survived/nearly won a battle against Grave.
  • BFG: The coffin and the Center Head.
  • Back from the Dead: The key element in Beyond the Grave's origin/creation story.
  • Big Bad: Harry in the first game and anime; Garino in Overdose.
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • As a deadman/necrolizer, Grave is gifted with regeneration, immense physical strength, heightened agility and Nigh-Invulnerability. The price he pays for his "necrolized" body is that he has lost almost all of his memories, and he's mostly incapable of feeling emotion. The blood in his body (as in, all of it) must also be replaced periodically, otherwise he won't last longer than a week or so, as he'll steadily "decompose" and revert back to true death.
    • Rocketbilly, being a ghost, can only physically interact with his guitar. However, bullets and such go right through him without harm. Juji is half-deadman and half-seed/orgman. He is constantly using a meditation technique to keep both sides in balance. Doing so allows him to override the typical deadman weakness of needing blood transfusions. However, if he ever stops his meditation, it seems that he will either die from the lack of blood transfusion due to his deadman half, or lose his free will to his seed half.
  • Big Eater: Bob Poundmax, in the anime he's a jovial fellow, but in the game he's portrayed as a boorish prick.
  • Bittersweet Ending
    • In the anime: Brandon/Grave and Harry reconcile and realize that they share the blame for their mutual downfall, deciding to commit suicide together instead of being killed by the Millennion splinter-faction. Everyone they ever cared about (save Mika) is dead as a direct result of their actions, and everything they worked for has been destroyed. As they point their guns at each other, the scene fades... Mika is free to live her life, but everyone that mattered to her is gone, leaving her alone.
      • Ambiguous Ending: A while back, there's a shot in which Brandon fiddles with his old gun (which Harry later uses in the Mutual Kill attempt). He pulls the trigger only to get a click instead of a gunshot. And after the Mutual Kill scene fades, it's never shown how Brandon looks like.
    • In the game(s): Grave and Mika are both at peace and survive the ordeal, but Dr. Tokioka still dies in this timeline, which forces Mika to seal Grave away and learn the mechanics of taking care of him, leaving the city behind (and the entire city eventually collapses in on itself). In O.D. the world is made safe again from the scourge of seed... but Spike is lost in the process, and Billy and Juji can't be a permanent part of Mika's life due to their nature as drifters. Grave, being what he is and what it takes to sustain him, can't be with Mika all the time; his time with her will always be brief and he must be sealed away again, leaving Mika alone once more.
  • Big Bad: Harry in the original video game and the anime, Garino in Overdose.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: With the exception of Mika and Maria, most characters in the series are either Affably Evil or examples of Even Evil Has Standards. Some, however, are just brutal, ruthless, and unquestionably evil.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Grave and company all have infinite ammo. Partially subverted in the anime because ammo does run out... from time to time.
  • Chained by Fashion: Grave, who carries the coffin chained to his upper arms in the game, whereas in the anime he totes it around on his shoulder like a bag.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Sherry Walken
    • Biscoe in the anime. At first, Harry bribes him so that he won't plan to overthrow Harry. In the end, he leads a rebellion that successfully ousts Harry and becomes Millennion's new boss.
    • Norton in the anime as well. He is just mentioned as one of the potential rebels aside from Biscoe, but in the end, he becomes Biscoe's second-in-command.
  • Cool Shades: Bunji and Bear. Grave has a nifty pair of Cool Glasses. In the anime, Sherry's teddy bear sports a pair that looks like Bear's.
  • Concept Art Gallery: Two for the games, one for the anime.
  • Crapsack World: Early on, Harry and Brandon leave a dangerous life of street crime for a more secure but equally immoral and violent life in the Millennion Organization. There doesn't appear to be many other options. Crime runs rampant, law enforcement seems almost non-existent, and in the game's storyline alien parasites attempt to invade the world, and their only reason to live is to reproduce by corrupting other lifeforms.
  • Creepy Cool Crosses: A central element of Grave's original battle outfit. He has these in his sequel outfit as well, the most obvious one being on his back. Also, if someone were to button up his jacket, the pattern on the front would also form a stylized cross.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Virtually everyone.
  • Death by Origin Story: Grave.
  • Disconnected By D Eath: A Millennion Mook named Jude.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: The organization's members include a Chinese guy, a Japanese guy, a guy with an Irish last name, and an ambiguously black guy.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: While Millennion is a murderous criminal organization they're still bound to a code of honor.
  • Expy
    • Bunji Kugashira is an expy of Nicholas D. Wolfwood of Trigun. At least until the second game, where he looks almost completely different.
    • Fangoram wields the massive gun Center Head, the last of the Cerberus series, and it closely resembles Wolfwood's Cross Punisher.
    • Grave in the anime has a striking resemblance to Legato Bluesummers and Dante; in the video game, he looks more like a cross between Wolfwood and Antonio Banderas (?).
    • Mika resembles a younger, white-haired Meryl Stryfe. Subverted a bit in Overdose, where she looks older and wears a different outfit from the previous game.
    • Rocketbilly Redcadillac looks suspiciously similar to Vash The Stampede, the main character from Trigun.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Balladbird Lee... except when he opens them, inspiring terror.
  • Eyepatch of Power: It's not an eyepatch, but Grave gets the same effect with a pair of glasses with the lens over his lost eye painted over.
  • Eye Scream / Moe Greene Special: How Brandon loses his left eye and is killed. Won't go into the horrible things done to poor Juji.
  • Fat and Skinny: Bob and Lee.
  • Gangsta Style: Grave/Brandon does this sometimes, and it actually works. In the anime, his trademark shooting style is gangsta style with his arms crossed.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: The one over where Grave's left eye used to be, along with his body being full of scars he suffered during his brutal murder.
  • Gonk: Bob
  • Guns Akimbo: The Left Head and Right Head of Cerberus, Grave's beloved pair of guns. Bunji has his own set of dual guns as well.
  • Hand Cannon: Cerberus. Described as firing 15mm rounds (the kinds of rounds early aircraft cannons fired) and with barrels about two feet long (when a normal pistol barrel is less than half a foot). In the anime, when human Brandon has to fight the first Necrolyzed Zombie-people and learns that you have to physically tear them apart to take them down, he obtains a Wildey Magnum, whose recoil throws him back several feet and physically hurts him after a few shots.
  • Healing Factor: Grave's regenerative abilities, and one of the reasons why he requires the transfusion of whole blood periodically.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Harry and Brandon.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Grave towers over his young ward Mika.
  • Immune to Bullets: Grave isn't completely immune to bullets, but because of his regeneration ability he has a high resistance to them, as long as they're not modified to specifically weaken him.
  • Leitmotif: A few characters have one, Grave included.
  • Letter Motif: A number of Millennion members have names starting with B: Brandon Heat, Bear Walken, Bunji Kugashira, Bob Poundmax, and Balladbird Lee...and Beyond the Grave.
    • Other names that fit this include Biscoe and Big Daddy...the latter of whom's real name we never find out.
  • Keigo: Balladbird Lee and Randy both speak in a very polite way even to their underlings.
  • Meaningful Name: Guess how much a guy named Bob Poundmax weighs?
    • Not to mention his One-Winged Angel form.
    • Similarly to the above, guess where Beyond The Grave came from?
  • Morality Pet: Mika is very much one for Grave in both series; in the anime, Bunji gets a cat, and Harry has Bear Walken's daughter, Sherry.
  • More Dakka: Going up against things like the Orgmen and gangsters hopped up on a super-drug, Grave understands the need for it.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: "Beyond the Grave".
    • "Blood War" & "Cannon Vulcan".
    • In the second game, Spike names Grave's coffin "The Death Hauler".
  • Nice Hat: Grave.
    • Fangoram as well.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: And how!
  • One-Man Army: Grave.
    • Pretty much all of the playable characters are this.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Grave is a techno-zombie created by mad science, but he's in no way mindless or evil, doesn't need to eat and his need for blood to function is his one "real" weakness.
  • Papa Wolf: Grave is highly protective of Mika. Threaten her life and you're in for a world of hurt. In the anime, Bear in regards to his daughter Sherry.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: Grave and Juji?
  • Playing with Syringes: The Necrolyzation Project.
  • Sealed Badass in a Can: Grave.
  • Serial Escalation: Just how over-the-top can those demolition shots get? How ridiculously large can the guns get? How much more we can break everyone in the anime? What kind of ridiculously awesome weapon will Grave pull out of his coffin this time? How twisted and mutatey can the bosses get? ...You get the idea. Of course, this is part of the fun of the series.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Bunji.
    • Hell, in the second game he's undead, and he's still seen smoking!
  • The Syndicate: Millennion.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: In the anime, Bear Walken's elite sweeper unit, the Overkills. In the games, this is pretty much the point of Demolition Shots.
  • Troperrific: Given that it's an obscure, absurd and over-the-top zombie shoot-em-up that combines both mafia and sci-fi/zombie fantasy elements...
  • Villain with Good Publicity: The Millennion organization keeps up a fairly polished public front.

Tropes That Apply To The Video Games
Videogame Grave comes with 20% more HUUUUUGE.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The first half of Stage 5 in the first game takes place in one.
  • Action Game
  • Alien Invasion: The drug "seed" is actually derived from a parasitic alien lifeform that takes over its hosts and turns them into a Hive Mind.
  • Alliterative Name: Rocketbilly Redcadillac.
  • All There in the Manual: A sizable portion of the Back Story is only explained in the anime and the artbooks.
  • Awesomeness Meter
  • Battle Aura: Juji has his fiery aura as default, whereas Grave and Billy get one during the final boss battle of O.D.
  • The Big Guy: Grave is enormous in the games, much more so than in the image at the top of the page. Though it's mostly from his clothing being about 30% more over the top in the games.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Rocketbilly Redcadillac.
  • Body Horror: Low-quality seed is sold as an enhancement/designer drug, which makes the user stronger than normal and resilient, but also usually makes the user insane. The pure form of seed? You explode into a giant, malformed monster.
  • Bullet Time: The "slow" feature in the original game, but was only a cosmetic thing. In O.D. it takes the form a Demolition Shot: Time slows and enemy attacks can be evaded more easily.
  • Charged Attack
    • (Collect-type) The Demolition Shot Gauge, which is filled by "keeping the beat"—shooting enemies and objects in rapid succession to raise the Beat Counter. When enough beat is absorbed, a Demolition Shot can be used.
    • (Hold-type) In O.D. holding down the shot button will cause the character's projectile weapon to glow (Juji is unable to do this but he able to charge up his melee weapon). Let go of the button and the character does a strong shot combo.
  • Cloning Blues: Spike, who only saw Mika as a tool, because she's the only one who can summon Grave—he wanted Grave to kill his (Spike's) creator, Garino.
  • Combined Energy Attack: Grave, Billy, and Juji combining their powers for a Triple Final Demolition Shot to finally finish off Garino in O.D..
  • Die, Chair, Die! / Rewarding Vandalism: Destroying inanimate objects is crucial for getting a high beat count.
  • Disability Superpower: Juji Kabane.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: In the original game Grave couldn't shoot while running, and could only melee attack with the Coffin while standing still. In the second game all three playable characters are set to Run as default, and all three characters can run full tilt while dishing out the pain.
  • Dual Wielding: Juji wields a pair of red gunblades!
  • Elevator Action Sequence: In both games.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: The final battle of O.D., in which your character gains unlimited demolition.
  • Everything Fades
  • Evolving Attack: Collecting enough skull points usually upgrades the character's demolition shot (Death Blow to Hellhound Roar, any of the Slow Time shots, etc).
  • Excuse Plot: Sorta, at least by far compared to the anime. For the first game, the story is mostly second fiddle to the arcade run-n-gun carnage, though there's enough there to paint an image of the main characters and the world. This is best exemplified by the Giant Space Flea from Nowhere, which basically acts as a Final Boss for the sake of having one. The second game on the other hand is far more story-heavy, with frequent dialogue scenes that explain everything.
  • Fantastic Drug: Seed, a designer drug sold on the black market with mysterious origins. Used for its potent euphoric effects, but eventually leads to death. And then there's its real purpose...
  • Finishing Move / Coup de Grâce Cutscene: In the original game, the Graveyard Special, only can be done starting with Bob in stage three. When a boss' health is low, the Demolition Gauge blinks, and if Grave has at least one stock of energy, pressing triangle breaks the fight away to a scene of a graveyard, where Grave stylishly finishes the boss off with a more elaborate version of his Demolition Shots. In O.D., the fatality shots are done after the boss' life meter is zero.
    • At the end of the original game, Grave holds his gun to Harry's head, and doesn't fire unless the player presses the shoot button.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: In the original game, the Alien Head.
  • Goggles Do Nothing: Spike. One pair of goggles on his helmet, another pair hanging from his neck, and to top it off he's wearing glasses so large he'd have a hard time wearing either pair.
  • Gun Twirling: Grave.
    • Juji does it with his gunblades as well, though he only does it at the beginning of some levels.
    • In his boss fight, Fangoram sometimes does this before firing The Center Head at you. Considering just how fucking huge that gun is, this should tell you something.
  • Happily Adopted: Mika at the end of the original game.
  • Harder Than Hard: Kick-Ass mode.
  • Heroic Build: Game Grave takes this to almost Rob Liefeld levels; the way he's proportioned would allow him to grasp his entire head in one hand.
  • Heroic Mime: Grave, who's so quiet he doesn't even grunt or yell when taking damage.
  • Hub Level: Dr. T.'s safehouse in the first game, Mika's truck in the second game.
  • Idle Animation
    • In the original game, Grave cycles through 3 animations: Gun Twirling, cracking his neck and shoulders, or being annoyed by a bug buzzing around him, which he shoots without looking.
    • In O.D. Grave still does gun twirling, Billy tweaks his guitar and runs a hand across his hair and Juji looks skyward (or possibly is silently laughing or just stretching).
  • The Kid with the Remote Control: Mika is the only one who can call upon and control Grave.
  • Life Meter: And a shield meter, too.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Grave's Lv. 2 area shot, "Doom's rain".
  • Mirror Boss: Bunji Kugashira.
    • In the second game, he serves as one to Juji. Several of their attacks are similar (though Bunji's are far stronger) and they have the exact same physique.
  • Mission Control: Dr. T. in the original game, Mika and Spike in O.D.
  • Musical Assassin: Rocketbilly Redcadillac.
  • Playing with Fire: Juji and his cursed flaming aura.
  • The Power of Rock: Billy's way of attacking. Okay, it's a dynamo, but he's still killing people just by rocking the fuck out.
  • Psycho Serum / Applied Phlebotinum: The weird blue-white chemical that forms the mysterious and dangerous drug called "seed".
  • Rank Inflation
  • Recurring Riff: Gunlock Overdrive, the Main Theme of both of the games.
  • Score Screen: Tallies up Grave's (or Billy's or Juji's) performance at the end of the stage or act and if they racked up enough skulls, a reward of a new demolition shot or new option to fiddle with is given.
  • Shout-Out: Mika saying Grave as part of her family in O.D. refers back to the anime's finale.
    • Juji's blocking animation shows him with his blades crossed. The stance is almost identical to Father Anderson's iconic pose.
  • Something About a Rose: Rocketbilly's "Roses from Heaven" demolition shot. Multiple roses of explodey doom!
  • Sphere of Destruction: "Cerberus O.D."
  • Storming the Castle
  • Stuff Blowing Up
  • Sufficiently Advanced Alien: In the original game, the alien head in Millennion's tower. In O.D., the AI in the Starship.
  • Tragic Monster: Big Daddy, Brandon's father and mentor figure, is the final boss of the first game as he was mutated into a horrific monstrosity because of Harry's vile experiments.
  • Top-Heavy Guy: Grave, obviously, but also everyone in the first game by consequence of the art style; it becomes pretty blatant when you first see Mika and Dr. Tokioka. Fortunately this is fixed in the sequel.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: In the original game, the Millennion's Tower. In O.D., the alien starship.
  • The Worf Effect: Grave gets slammed by this once Fangoram appears.

Tropes That Apply To The Anime

  • Adaptation Expansion: The anime greatly expands on Brandon and Harry's beginnings, from part of a small street gang to members of Millennion as they work their way up in the ranks, to Harry's betrayal of Brandon and seizing control of the organization. It isn't until the halfway point of the series that it actually gets to where the events of the game start.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Almost all of them. Despite committing many cruel deeds, most of them are Anti-Villain who have sympathetic motives behind their actions.
  • Ambiguous Ending: Brandon's/Grave's fate in the end. In his attempt to perform a Mutual Kill with Harry, in addition to Brandon's immunity to regular bullets, the gun Harry uses actually has no bullets. If Brandon does die, it's likely caused by the lack of transfusion.
    • Mika's Tearful Smile and family speech don't make it less ambiguous. The only hint you get regarding Brandon's fate is the credits that follow. But then, the characters look way younger before their time of death except Sherry and Dr. T, and there's a specific pattern in the order of their appearance: Sherry appears first; after that, everything plays in reverse order, depending on who Brandon knows first except Maria, who appears after the old gang. After that, Mika's voice is heard twice: first, before the orphanage flashback (right after Maria's appearance in the credits), she quietly calls out to Brandon; second, after the orphanage flashback, she says, "Okaerinasai/Welcome back/Welcome home."
  • Animation Bump: It's small, but the final episode has one.
  • Anime Theme Song: Averted as the show kept the OP "Family" throughout its run, and it's also an instrumental.
  • The Atoner: Dr. Tokioka.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Brandon and Harry before joining Millennion; Brandon and Bunji.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: The Millennion.
  • Berserk Button: If Big Daddy hadn't brought up Brandon in Harry's office, the former might still be alive. Mentioning Big Daddy around Harry isn't gonna earn any points with him, either.
    • Even joking about Bob dying is a good way to piss off Lee.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Especially Brandon/Grave. He interrupts some thugs from harassing Maria by first poking them with a finger, prompting them to look at his Death Glare. Curb-Stomp Battle follows.
    • There's also the old gang breaking into Milanda's house to save Kenny. With Brandon having knocked out one of Milanda's guards.
    • Brandon breaks into the Gashaw Gang's hideout to save Harry by driving his car through the wall, causing Smoke Out, and sneaking into the gang's bulldozer before shooting them.
    • Bunji shows up to help Brandon fight Blood War's Necrolyze in the warehouse by the dock. Then there's Harry and Lee doing Car Fu to save them. Lastly, Bear comes with his squad Overkill and saves the day.
    • In the very first episode, Grave wakes up just in time to protect Mika and Dr. T from the Orgmen. The awakening is triggered by a girl's terrified scream, not activation by the doctor.
    • Grave jumping off the rooftop to save Mika from some Millennion agents, defeating hundreds of Orgmen to rescue Mika from Lee... The list goes on.
  • Blood Knight: Bloodwar/Brad Wong.
  • Break the Cutie: Everybody.
  • Bring It: Grave has a tendency to wiggle his finger at his opponents.
  • Bury Your Disabled: Widge, having gone blind, is slaughtered by Lee.
    • At the end of the series, this possibly happens to Brandon/Grave, who has lost An Arm and a Leg in addition to an eye.
  • Car Fu: Harry does this at a Necrolyzed Blood War. It doesn't work.
    • Brandon breaks into the Gashaw Gang's hideout by driving through the wall.
    • Grave is rammed by a car, but he stops it, throws it away, and later blasts it.
  • Character Development: The anime sacrifices the over-the-top action from the game for this. The development is especially focused on Brandon and Harry.
    • Brandon is a quiet, gentle and loyal street thug. He retains all of those qualities throughout the anime, but since he becomes a hitman in Millennion, he slowly loses his gentleness as he turns into a Knight in Sour Armor and Consummate Professional. After his death and resurrection, he returns to be a quiet, gentle, and loyal man.
    • Harry has the best development of all. He starts out as a laid-back womanizing street thug. After witnessing the deaths of his gang members, he joins Millennion with Brandon. He starts to get ambitious to the point he forgets about his old friends and kills his best friend, Brandon. In the finale, he regrets what he has done and misses his past as a street thug, when he is truly free. He appears to return to his old self before dying.
  • Close on Title: When Brandon is killed, the episode closes with one word: Die.
  • Coming-of-Age Story
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Brandon had to chose between the Code of Iron and his best friend.
    • As did a few other characters, including Bear and his friend.
  • Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster!: Mostly avoided. While Big Daddy's mafia is quite stylish and honorable, and there are some scenes with cool cars and houses, it is never a major point of the series. Harry, with his fast cars, white suits, and beautiful women, comes closest to this trope... though of course, it doesn't last.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Brandon/Grave may be a techno-zombie and constantly sport dark-colored outfits in contrast to Harry's white attire, but he never has bad intentions and only wants the best for the people he loves.
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: The Anti-Necrolyze and Anti-Superior bullets.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome:
    • Brandon and Harry in the last episode. They take out a lot of Millennion agents without killing them. Brandon and Harry die by committing a Mutual Kill. However, if Brandon does die, it's more likely that he dies because of his Necrolyze wearing out.
    • Dr. T too. He activates the trains in the subway, shields Mika from Lee's attack, and reloads Grave's Cerberus with Anti-Superior bullets. He later dies after providing Grave a transfusion.
    • Maria blasts some Millennion agents with a shotgun before she dies. Yes, she is different from the first time she met Brandon.
    • Butler Tokioka wrestles with a hulking Orgman before ends up getting crushed under its foot and dies. He buys enough time for Mika to escape from the crashed car and find Dr. Tokioka.
  • Ear Notch: Bunji's cat.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Lightning vs. Millennion. Though Lightning is considerably more evil.
  • Family of Choice: How Big Daddy views Millennion. But it changes when Harry takes over...
    • Some of those who remain loyal to Big Daddy (e.g. Gary and Widge) always consider anybody within the organization as a family, no matter what their positions are. Many don't like Harry's cruel reign, which removes this concept because he considers it as an obstacle in the path to success.
    • Mika and Brandon/Grave, both in the anime and the game. Overlaps with Intergenerational Friendship and Interspecies Friendship, since Mika is a thirteen-year-old girl while Brandon/Grave is a forty-year-old (or biologically, twenty-six) reanimated corpse.
  • First Episode Resurrection: First episode begins with post-transformation Brandon, waking up after about fifteen years of sleep.
  • Foreshadowing
  • Genre Shift: From sci-fi action to mafia drama in the span of only one episode. The sci-fi elements are then slowly reintroduced to the story until it becomes a sci-fi action series again.
  • :Go Out with a Smile: Subverted. It's never shown how Brandon/Grave and Harry look like after they perform a Mutual Kill (which actually doesn't really happen; see Bittersweet Ending / Ambiguous Ending).
  • Heroic Bloodshed: The Whole Episode Flashback is this. The present day is more focused on the Necrolyze technology.
  • Impaled Palm: Big Daddy is shot through his hand by Bunji in his attempt to shoot Harry.
    • Bunji is seen shooting a Mook through his palm.
    • Grave gets one when blocking Lee's attack.
  • In Medias Res: The first episode is almost in the exact center of the series chronologically.
  • Innocuously Important Episode: Episode 1 seems like standard shoot-em-up fare, but the second episode completely changes the tone to a Mafia Drama.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: The reason why Brandon left Maria to Big Daddy.
  • Jabba Table Manners: Bob revoltingly inhaling chicken drumsticks by the bucketful.
  • Kill 'Em All: Mika is the only one who survives to the end of the anime. However, the ambiguity makes it possible that Brandon actually survives.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Played straight when Harry points out Bob Poundmax's ridiculous appetite.
    Harry: "I see your appetite is as astounding as always, Bob."
    Bob: "Of course it is! It's my one outstanding quality!"
  • Laser-Guided Karma: It would be easier to list who doesn't qualify for this.
  • Light Is Not Good: Harry constantly sports a white suit and drives a white car. The only hint you'll get is that the color of his undershirt gets darker as the series progresses, starting off pink and eventually moving all the way to black starting in the episode where he kills Brandon.
  • Living on Borrowed Time
  • Loan Shark: Gary's and Widge's job in Millennion. Young Brandon works under them.
  • Locked into Strangeness: Brandon's hair turning silver post-transformation.
  • Lonely Funeral: Sherry's funeral was attended only by Harry mostly because all of their friends and family are dead.
  • Love at First Sight: Brandon and Maria.
    • Sherry too, for Harry. Unfortunately, Harry only considers her as a Meal Ticket, and we never know if he truly loves her...until the last few episodes.
  • Loyalty Redeems: In the end, it's Brandon's devotion towards Harry that has Harry begging for forgiveness from him and fixes their friendship. But since both of them have gone really far and are barely alive, they decide to 'go home' together by Mutual Kill. Cue Bittersweet Ending.
  • Mafia Princess: Maria, Sherry.
  • May–December Romance: Harry and Sherry; Big Daddy and Maria.
  • Men Don't Cry: Averted.
    • The mafiosi like Bear Walken and Big Daddy cry without showing signs of holding back their tears. One sheds tears when his best friend dies and later, when he reminisces about his daughter before getting executed, while another mourns his son figure's death and necrolization.
    • Then there's Sid, a Papa Wolf mafioso who is Bear's best friend. He cries and calls out his guilty son's name before getting executed by Brandon.
    • Brandon/Grave cries and wails when he finds his colleagues dead. He also sheds tears when Dr. T dies and is teary when Mika begs him not to leave.
      • Mika overhears Grave crying when he beats Bunji up. Of course we don't know whether he sheds tears or not because the animation lets us see Grave from his left side (where his missing eye is), but considering the flashes that play when Grave pummels Bunji (featuring Back-to-Back Badasses moments between Brandon and Bunji), it may just happen.
      • In the finale, Grave sheds tears when he admits that he keeps choosing Harry over the organization.
    • While Harry sheds Tears of Remorse most of the time, he also has his moments when Sherry dies.
  • The Men in Black
  • Mob War: The Lightning Group vs. Millennion.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Young Brandon. Grave as well, as he has plenty of Shirtless Scene that shows off his Heroic Build.
  • Mutual Kill: Seems to happen in the finale, but then, there's a mundane scene in which Brandon's gun (which Harry later uses in the Mutual Kill attempt) is revealed to have run out of bullets.
  • My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: The anime uses this trope as much as possible. Every character (good and bad) seems to have a flashback sequence or a life flashing experience as part of their death scene. In fact only the nameless mooks seem to be able to die without fuss.
  • Noble Male, Roguish Male: Young Harry works mostly in business and hardly ever gets his hand dirty with guns and combats, while Young Brandon works under loan sharks and beats up those who try to run away from the debt bondage. After the timeskip, Harry manages the business within Millennion and the town while Brandon works as a hitman and kills a lot.
  • No Body Left Behind: When Necrolyzers, Orgmen, and/or Superiors die, they are dust and leave Empty Piles of Clothing (or Cool Shades).
  • Number of the Beast: The graffiti during the opening theme has this.
    • In episode 13, there's a Mook holding up a calculator with 666 written on it before getting shot. At the same time, the theme that plays in the background is titled 'Calculator Cannot Help You'.
  • Odd Friendship: Lee and Bob are different like night and day, but they apparently really care for each other, especially Lee.
  • Off-Model: Unfortunately, due to budget constraints, the anime suffers from this constantly. (especially after episode 18)
  • The Other Darrin: Deliberately invoked with Harry's two voice actors, Kenji Hamada (young Harry) and Tsutomu Isobe (old Harry) who would normally sound very different, but the change from one to the other is near seamless.
    • Note: This does not apply to the English dub, where the two sounded very different and laughed differently.
  • Outside Man, Inside Man: Harry and Brandon.
  • Pastel-Chalked Freeze Frame: There's one in the end of episode 13.
  • Platonic Declaration of Love: Played to the fullest tearjerking effect. Mika gives one to Brandon/Grave, as an attempt to stop a weakened Brandon from fighting Harry's Millennion. It doesn't work.
  • Please Don't Leave Me
  • Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: When Grave comes to save Mika from Lee, he immediately points his gun at Lee. Of course, Lee immediately threatens Mika with his blade, which forces Grave to discard his weapons.
  • Pyrrhic Villainy: Harry.
  • The Quiet One: Brandon only has a few speaking lines per episode, though he still manages to narrate the "next episode" bits and such. He starts to speak a little more when he begins to fall apart due to blood deprivation.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • Grave's coffin has cables connected to the right eye of the skull while the left eye has none (but glows). The cables and the right eye symbolize Brandon's resurrection as Grave with technology, while the left eye symbolizes his lost left eye.
    • The yin and yang between Brandon and Harry.
      • Dark Is Not Evil and Light Is Not Good. Brandon always wears dark-colored outfits while Harry always wears bright-colored outfits. However, Brandon's intention is always good despite killing people due to his work as a sweeper, while Harry is not always despite killing almost nobody due to his involvement in managing the shady business within the city.
      • The elevator scene in episode 14 has Brandon standing in the light and Harry standing in the dark. When Brandon can't bring himself to shoot Harry, who is secretly a traitor, he drops his gun and it falls between light and dark, possibly symbolizing that Brandon is not completely 'good' anymore.
      • There is a possible symbolism in the finale. During their Mutual Kill, Brandon uses Harry's 'white' gun while Harry uses Brandon's 'black' gun, possibly symbolizing that they have come to terms with their life and reconciled, with Brandon revealed to be Good All Along and Harry revealed to be Evil All Along. On a minor note, Brandon is under the sunlight while Harry is covered in shadows as they prepare for the Mutual Kill.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Jolice, Kenny, and Nathan.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: While this is common, it often happens to the left lens only, which serves as a Foreshadowing.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: A lot. There's one in Brandon's dream that features Harry standing at this pose...and bang! Brandon's dream becomes a nightmare that snaps him out of his sleep.
  • Shout-Out: The Thomases in episode 5, which are the creatures used for transportation in Trigun, two of them being named "Chapel" and "Stampede".
    • The black/purple cowboy outfit and the fact that he is carrying a coffin full of weapons is probably a shout-out to Django.
  • Snow Means Death:
    • Bear. We get to see a shot of his Cool Shades after his execution by Brandon/Grave.
    • When Maria dies, it begins snowing.
  • Solemn Ending Theme: The usual ending theme Akaneiro ga Moeru Toki is an upbeat song. However, in the finale, the slow, bittersweet tune Happy Ending plays instead.
  • Suddenly Voiced: While Brandon is the Heroic Mime in the first game, Tomokazu Seki voiced the character in the anime; Seki would later go on to voice Brandon in all subsequent Gungrave games.
  • Tears of Remorse: After Brandon confessed that he kept on choosing Harry over Millennion and that he had no regrets, Harry just wailed out how sorry he was that he had killed him.
  • That Man Is Dead:
    Dr. Tokioka: By the way, he's not called Brandon. That name no longer belongs to him. He is called...Grave. Call him...Beyond the Grave.
  • Together in Death: The anime ends with Grave and Harry committing mutually-assisted suicide, to go back to the "freedom" they once had.
  • Tragic Hero: Brandon and Harry, very much so.
  • True Companions
    • The old gang: Brandon, Harry, Jolice, Nathan, and Kenny. It doesn't last. Jolice, Nathan, and Kenny are dead.
    • Gary and Widge are these to Brandon. Sadly, being Brandon's True Companions leads to their deaths.
    • The Big Four and Harry. Bunji appears to be an exception among the Big Four, since he just cares about dealing with Brandon/Grave himself.
    • The entire anime focuses on Brandon and Harry being True Companions. They started out as Childhood Friends in an orphanage, grew up in the slum, participated in street brawls and betting, watched their teammates die, joined Millennion together, and climbed the ladder quickly together. Then a betrayal happened. Harry killed Brandon, who actually still remained loyal to Harry. Brandon was resurrected as Grave, since he wanted to deal with Harry by himself. Much later, a decomposing Brandon met Harry and was about to shoot him. But Brandon was out of bullets. Then Brandon and Harry spent their time in Jolice's bar talking and arguing about the wrong choices they made. As they were about to shoot each other, the splinter-faction of Millennion attacked. They fought them, with Brandon shielding Harry from bullets and falling slab of concrete. In the end, Harry was shot multiple times and severely injured, while a weakened Brandon was shot in the leg by Anti-Necrolyze bullet. Brandon admitted the wrong choice he made: he actually chose Harry over the Millennion, and could never shoot Harry. Harry wailed, shed Tears of Remorse, and apologized to Brandon. In the end, they agreed to shoot each other to 'go home'. And they did. With a smile. Maybe, as in Brandon's fate.
  • Turn the Other Cheek: How the anime concludes. Instead of getting his revenge done by shooting Harry dead, Brandon protects Harry. After both of them are seriously injured, Brandon admits that he can never shoot Harry, because Harry is always his best friend. This has Harry breaking down and apologizing to Brandon.
  • Undying Loyalty: Deconstructed. A lot of characters, especially Brandon, end up ruining their lives due to this.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Harry, progressively, from the time he kills Brandon on.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: The entire first half of the anime.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Brandon, full stop. To wit, he turns down Maria, the love of his life, because he feels she deserves better than him. He then gives Big Daddy his blessing to marry her, and they have a child. Then his best friend, Harry kills him and he's reanimated as an unstoppable killing machine with Laser-Guided Amnesia; when it clears up, he's forced to recognize that his best friend is now the Big Bad, his partner has morphed into an Omnicidal Maniac, and in order to protect the child his One True Love had with another man he has to kill all of his friends, his mentor, and ultimately Harry. Who, along with Maria, was the only reason Brandon got involved with Millennion in the first place, before one has the other killed. And that's not even mentioning his and Harry's childhood in an abusive orphanage, that their previous gang was murdered, or the fact that two of said gang were gunned down as Brandon and Harry watched.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Especially Brandon and Mika.
    • After joining the Millennion, Brandon even narrates that he is content with his life. Why? He can visit Maria. Big Daddy welcomes him unlike Uncle Jester, who scorned him. Also, he is close to Harry, his best friend. And he also grows to like Gary and Widge, his colleagues. But soon, Brandon grows to be extremely loyal to Big Daddy, which turns him into Knight in Sour Armor and Consummate Professional. This puts him against Harry, which in turn leads to his downfall (dying for the first time and the deaths of his friends), Harry's descent to madness, and ultimately, his death (maybe).
    • Mika has it worse. She watches her mom getting shot by some Millennion agents and her butler sacrificing his life to hold off an Orgman. Then she meets Grave, who acts like her father figure, big bro, guardian, etc. She gets along well with Dr. T too. Later, she is introduced to Gary and Widge, whom she considers as her grandpas (or uncles, because Gary doesn't want to sound old). Then Lee comes and tears them apart in front of her. And kidnaps her after the massacre.
      • She is saved by Grave, but Dr. T dies in process. But at least she still has Grave accompanying her. However, in the last few episodes, Grave is decomposing due to the lack of transfusion. By this, Mika cries and begs Grave to forget about his revenge and go somewhere far with her. She even offers to study how to maintain Grave's body and won't mind if she just gets bread and water to consume for her whole life. But Grave decides to knock her out and leave. That's the last time Mika sees Grave 'alive' too. Maybe.

For doing what was right for The Family...he was murdered.


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