Speed Grapher
Volume Five

Starring (voice): Yuuji Takada, Kei Satou, Takako Honda and Naoki Makishima
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 03 December 2007

Set in a future world characterised by the conspicuous consumption of all types of pleasures,
Speed Grapher follows former war photographer Saiga into an underground world of mysterious power. After venturing into the Roppongi Club in volume one, Saiga has uncovered his own power to make things spontaneously combust, and now he's on the run with the mysterious woman Kagura...

Speed Grapher is a gritty science-fantasy animated series for mature viewers. A potent and provocative cocktail of forbidden sex, blood-spattered violence, conspiracy and intrigue. Add to that mix an ultra-cool anti-hero, a beautiful teenage Goddess, a fetishistic female detective and an ever-expanding line-up of genetically mutated super-assassins and you get a pretty good idea what you are letting yourself in for.

Volume Five sees Tokyo adopting a new tune, as a music box chimes in the night from Suitengu's palm. The tragic melody of a childhood stolen; a soul turned black at the hands of those seduced by greed. Draining the financial lifeblood of the nation, the Goddess has gone commercial, her essence reducing the masses to their baser instincts. Laughter rings down from the heights on to a city infected and dying. Yet the damnable underground has a counterpoint; a revolution on the horizon determined to unseat the corrupt. A new leader in the eyes of the idealistic, Saiga is faced with a difficult decision to either bring the system down alongside the political maverick, or to focus on shielding the innocence of Kagura. But a staggering betrayal shakes the city to its depths as the ultimate administrator of wickedness rises to unleash anarchy.

This latest DVD collection contains episodes 17-20:

The Reaper and The Nouveau Riche: A haunting melody, coming from the workings of a small, long since broken, music box, inspires Suitengu to reflect on the tragic events of his childhood, events that give us more of an understanding as to how he finally became the man we know. As the events run through his dark childhood; destroyed because of his parent's debts, to his eventual revenge on those that took his family away from him, we learn that the line between hero and villain is more blurred than expected.

Fates and Fists: The Tennouzu Group is profiting from its new product line, leaving Saiga and Kagura the chance to move on and start afresh. But, as they are about to make good their escape, an unexpected ally appears on the scene wanting Saiga and Kagura to testify against their enemies. If not they won't get the medical help they need, which means that Kagura will soon die and Saiga will become permanently blind.

Lips and Lies: Saiga agrees to testify at the Parliamentary hearing on the understanding that certain conditions are met. While Saiga testifies, Kagura must be flown out of the country and undergo the treatment that may save her life. While in a bar, a young idealistic reporter named Joe, thinks he recognises Saiga. Saiga pretends he isn't him and listens to Joe talk about what a fantastic photographer Saiga was. The two bond over a few drinks and Saiga realises how selfish his motives have become of late. He decides that it's time that he brought down Suitengu by himself. Later, realising who Saiga really is, Joe reveals that he has managed to attain the roll call of Suitengu's club members and a shock awaits Saiga as an old friend is not who he thought he was.

Good Vibrations: As Saiga fights for his life against a ruthless euphoric who he believed to be an old friend, Kagura is sexually attacked by the doctor who was hired to cure her. Is all lost? Or can everything be turned around before it is too late?

Extras include Saito Documentary - Part 2 (31 minutes look at the second part of the Kai Saito story. Here we watch the Japanese voice actress taking part in photo shoots, interviews, her first day of studio work and distributing flyers); Character Cast Auditions (10 mins look at the US auditions for young Suitengu, Yui, Dr, Ryogohu and Professor Nishiya); Art Gallery; Textless Opening and Closing Sequences; and trailers for two other anime shows.

This is another slice of unmissale anime action.

Pete Boomer

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