Friday, September 19, 2008


Gungrave is based on an apparently mediocre Playstation 2 game, which should throw up some red flags pretty immediately. But the story's actually surprisingly decent. There's a dichotomy in the plot similar to Berserk, where the first episode shows the protagonist in his full badass form before going back in time to show how he got there. Unlike Berserk though, Gungrave actually goes back to the badass guy and finishes a story instead of just being a tease to get you to buy the source material. It's not a great show, but I enjoyed watching it.

It starts as a sort of coming of age mob tale with some pretty gay overtones, as a couple of young friends join a crime syndicate and begin to move up the ranks. Brandon is very quiet and an elite assassin, while his best friend forever Harry is an ambitious smooth talker. Brandon has a love interest, but he spends most of the show ignoring her and gazing lovingly at Harry, as the two constantly pledge their loyalty to each other and the organization. Slowly, science fiction elements get introduced as some people develop ways to turn the dead into soldiers. Harry starts to get mad with power, and some stuff goes down that eventually results in lots of dead characters and Brandon finally transformed into what he was in the beginning, a stylsh looking, unstoppable killer. He fights some outrageous looking enemies before the final confrontation, which doesn't occur how you'd expect. The show tries to be totally cool with the gun fights, and they succeed a few times. Tons of bullets getting fired don't really excite me like they used to, but the show has its share of moments. When it wants to, the animation can be pretty good, although I wasn't a fan of most of the outlandish character designs besides the protagonist's. Gungrave's one of many animes stuck in the realm between bland and remarkable. It's a pretty big realm.

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