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DVD Review

DVD cover

Volume 1
Fateful First Encounter


Starring (voice): Kazuhiko Inoue and Tomokazu Seki
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 12
Available 07 July 2008

Shuishi Shindou is a young kid trying to get his band, Bad Luck, to be the next biggest thing in Japan. The path to success is not an easy one as Shindou discovers, especially after meeting a very cool but mysterious stranger who rubbishes his work. Unable to get the criticism out of his mind he tries to find the stranger...

Gravitation: Volume One: Fateful First Encounter contains the show's first four episodes - Gravitation, Live in the Soul, Stray Heart and Wave Shock - of this thirteen episode anime show, directed by Bob Shirohata. Based on the original manga by Maki Murakami, the series charts the trials and tribulations of Shindou and his band. As it is about a band there is a good deal of music in the show which, if you don’t like it, will rather spoil the enjoyment. I have to say it wasn’t really to my taste as it all sounded like anime show title tracks.

The show is presented in the original 4:3 aspect ratio with either a Japanese or English vocal track. The disc holds few extras; you get an art gallery, the original trailer and some other trails.

The story opens with Shindou’s band trying for success, but just when things look to be going well he meets a stranger in the park who takes one look at his new lyrics and rubbishes them. Unable to get this out of his head he tries to find the man again. He turns out to be Eiri Yuki, who accuses Shindou of having a romantic interest in him. The episode ends with Shindou being deeply kissed by Yuki.

The story continues with Yuki’s sister coming down to the club where the band is playing with a proposition, if he can get Yuki to spend more time with his family then she will get them a great deal with NG through Tohma. When Shindou goes to meet Yuki again the couple ends up kissing. Yuki rejects Shindou’s advances, believing that he is only interested in order to further his career. Shindou is crestfallen thinking he had ruined things. So why does Yuki turn up at Bad Luck’s concert?

When Shindou sees Yuki in the audience he loses it until he is rescued by another singer. This leads to the firing of their manager and the addition of another band member, which causes a rift between Shindou and Hiro, his friend and other original member of Bad Luck. All these changes to the band depress Shindou so he moves in with Yuki for a week. In an effort to gain more public attention the band go on a quiz show.

I may be wrong, but I think that this is the first anime, to hit the mass market, that deals with an openly gay relationship. I have no idea where they will go with the story, but the beginning of their relationship is certainly a bittersweet affair, with Shindou’s genuine desire to help Yuki and Yuki’s obvious reluctance to be hurt. The animation is average and frankly the music is a bit dire, but it’s nice to see an anime which spends time on character development and interpersonal relationships.


Charles Packer

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