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R2 DVD Reviews
Monday, 21 July 2008 16:00
GravitationA bit of a blast from the past, this one, as MVM dip into the archives to bring us Gravitation, a series from 2000 looking at the ups and downs of a band called Bad Luck. Here's hoping that's not a self-fulfilling prophecy...

1 - Gravitation
All Shuichi ever dreamed about was following in the footsteps of his pop idol, Ryuichi Sakuma and the band Nittle Grasper. Together with his best friend Hiro, Shuichi's formed a band called Bad Luck and they've even managed to get signed to a major record label. Unfortunately, the studio deadlines are looming and Shuichi still hasn't finished the lyrics for any of the songs. What he needs is a little inspiration, but he's been running a little low in that department lately. While Hiro recommends finding a girlfriend, fate has other things in store for Shuichi...

ShuichiEiri

2 - Live in Soul
Bad Luck's got their first live gig coming up - they're opening for another band, ASK, but it's a start. If only Shuichi and Hiro could get some rehearsal time - between ASK's members not being the sort who like to share stage time, and Shuichi being kidnapped by Mika - Eiri's older sister - they're not getting much practice in. Mika has something she wants Shuichi to do, and she's not going to take no for an answer. Later, the time arrives for Bad Luck's debut, but when Shuichi spots Eiri in the crowd, he freezes up...

PerformanceRivals?

3 - Stray Heart
Shuichi's in an insanely good mood after his latest visit to Eiri's place - you just can't beat the feeling of being a young boy in love. Even when the other half is a guy. His day's about to to a turn for the worse, though - after putting in a decent performance supporting ASK, their record company chief has decided to give them more support. But that involves sacking their current manager and forcing a new band member on Shuichui and Hiro - Shuichi in particular doesn't want that, but when Hiro begins to see the logic of it, it's not long before they come to blows...

LovestruckWords of encouragement

4 - Wave Shock
Shuichi's decided that he's going to move in with Eiri. He hasn't bothered asking Eiri about this first, but while the older man's not quite so keen on the idea, saying 'no' really doesn't seem to be an option. With his love-life in such good condition, Shuichi's got a renewed enthusiasm for his music, too - and even a meeting with the obnoxious boys from ASK can't spoil his mood. Later, the band are roped into taking part in a TV quiz show, which gives Shuichi a chance to publicy declare his love...

EmbarrassedGame show

First up, you'll notice that the key relationship in this show is a guy-guy one. If that gives you an involuntary squick, then this isn't the show for you - it's not full-on yaoi of the sort that gets the fangirls going, but there's plenty of kissing and cuddling going on. Mind you, anime fans in my experience are an open-minded bunch, and if that describes you then carry right along.

I the same-sex nature of Shuichi and Eiri's relationship does drive you away, though, Eiri's general unlikeableness (I'm sure that's a word) probably will. He's a real cold fish - his opening words to Shuichi are insults, and there are very few points in these episodes where you can get any feel for what Shuichu sees in the guy - outside some very rare and very brief moments of intimacy, he has no redeeming features at all - and yet we're meant to believe that he's the guy who's bringing Shuichi untold happiness and inspiration. Personally, I just don't buy it - and when the whole series is grounded on that relationship, that means there's a problem.

The music side of the show is a different story, though, and is far more enjoyable. Shuichi and Hiro make a good pairing (band-wise) and their efforts to hit the big time are told as much in a comic style as in a serious one. A lot of the humour is visual, too, with facefaulting and little animated gags regularly popping up - it's simple humour, but effective, and I did catch myself smiling a lot through these episodes despite my best efforts not to. I was wanting to dislike the series as much as I disliked Eiri, but there's enough charm in the rest of the story that I couldn't.

As a start, then, it's not bad. The Shuichu / Eiri tryst doesn't really do anything for my sense of romance (which is just about dead anyway, to be honest), but while that part of the story is important to events, it's not the be all & end all of the series, and there are other aspects to it that keep it fairly enjoyable. It's hardly going to set the world alight, but it's far from being a waste of time, either.

Video clips for this release: Clip 1 | Clip 2 | Clip 3 | Clip 4


Rating - ***

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