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DVD Review

DVD cover

Volume 2
Stars on the Rise


Starring (voice): Kazuhiko Inoue and Tomokazu Seki
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: PG
Available 11 August 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 him. He meets and moves in with Eiri Yuki a romantic novelist, but their relationship is less than smooth...

Gravitation: Volume Two holds episodes five to eight - Winding Road, Shady Scheme, Ground Zero and Song and Song - of this thirteen episode anime show, directed by Bob Shirohata. This series is based on the original manga by Maki Murakami, which charts the trials and tribulations of Shuichi and his band. The show is a Shounen-Ai, which means that it contains a mild homosexual theme. Don’t let this put you off as the relationship is complex enough to warrant its inclusion in the show, actually it’s the most interesting part of the show, as Shuichi’s attempts to make his band great don’t really drive much of the story.

Winding Road: With their relationship having survived the gig and a new band member, Hiro and Shuichi are walking in the park when they come across a young lady being tormented by a couple of ruffians. They rescue her and Hiro plays the white knight role by making sure that she is fed and found a hotel room, as she has come from Kyoto to find someone. When Shuichi returns to Yuki’s flat he is surprised by a stranger. The family resemblance is unmistakable; it is Yuki’s younger brother Tatsuha. Shuichi find that they have much in common, especially their mutual obsession with the singer Ryuichi. Things get a little out of hand and when Yuki returns he finds the two embracing.  After they dust themselves off Tatsuha explains that he is looking for a girl called Ayaka who not only turns out to be the girl he met in the park but also Yuki’s fiancée.

Shady Scheme: Although his fiancée, through an arranged marriage, has turned up, Yuki seems to have agreed to be Shuichi’s lover. When Yuki’s sister turns up they immediately start to argue over Yuki, until he throws the pair out. Retiring to a restaurant the two are unaware that they are being spied upon by Tatchi, the lead singer of ASK. Returning home Shuichi cannot leave things alone and continues to question Yuki about his past until, in frustration, Yuki throws him out again. Hiro tells Shuichi that he should make things up with Yuki, but on his way to do this he is intercepted and beaten by Tatchi

Ground Zero: Following his beating, Shuichi has a change in mind about the direction of his life. First he confronts Tatchi over the previous night's beating before telling his band that he is ending his relationship with Yuki to concentrate on the band. After a recording session Hiro and a rather drunk Shuichi head towards Yuki’s flat when they meet Ayaka. When they enter the flat they discover the place is empty, Yuki has gone. Yuki’s brother tells then where to find him and when Shuichi confronts him Yuki confesses that when he was younger he killed someone.

Song and Song: Things are getting out of hand between the bands with the level of violence now becoming a vendetta between Bad Luck and Tatchi. With things worsening the band are booked for a new television show.

Once again the print is pristine, as you would expect from a modern show, though the extras are limited to an art gallery and a clean opening sequence. In truth this show is really growing on me, the band side is a little dull, especially as I’m not a great fan of the songs, but the relationship between Yuki and Shuichi continues to be the main reason to watch the show.


Charles Packer

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