NOTICE:
Check out my awesome new project over at www.zettai.moe!

July 11, 2012

Anime Review: Speed Grapher

Remember those old film noir movies back in the 1940s to 1950s? Yes, whether this was intentional or not, Speed Grapher heavily portrays a dark film noir style story that seems more like a "B movie" anime series rather than a well compiled package.

Speed GrapherSynopsis:

Ten years after the Bubble War, the dichotomy between the rich and the poor in the world becomes more prominent and Japan is no exception. The rich seek to satisfy their desires and derive pleasure for themselves, and Tokyo has materialized into such a city as a result. Saiga, once a war photographer, works for Hibara Ginza in the capitalist state of Tokyo. He infiltrates the Roppongi Club, a secretive base located in the red light district of the city, to collect information about them. However, he was caught in the process and brought forward to a girl called Kagura who was in the midst of a ritual. His contact with Kagura awakens his special ability: the power to make things explode when photographed. In order to unravel the mystery behind the Roppongi Club and Kagura, Saiga begins his solitary battle.

Review:

There is just something wrong with this anime series that I seem to can't get the grasp of. Is it because of the pretty pointless story of a virus infecting people and allows them to have special powers or is it because most characters in this anime are rather disturbingly weird or awkward? I have no idea but let me try to explain the story is simple terms that you would understand. Firstly. we have a clear discrimination of society between the weak and the poor. The rich just bathe in their desires and pleasures and just being total jerks. Now we have a war photographer named Saiga who is still a bit of a mystery to me as the anime pretty much explains nothing about his personality in great detail. So, we follow this old random guy around until he stumbles onto a "secret club" for the rich where they just indulge in pleasure. And what do you expect happens next? Obviously he gets caught and comes into contact with Kagura which awakes his inner special abilities. Other people receives special abilities as well and is up to Saiga to take down the corrupt society little by little. Sounds cool? Not really. Once you see each and every person's special abilities you would have a "WTF" moment. The story seem to just go around in circles. Saiga and Kagura runs away. Kagura gets caught. Saiga returns to save her. Kills a bad guy. Rinse and repeat. In the end, the anime just ended where everything started. So back to square one basically.

Now the art was not spectacularly amazing, but contained enough special effects and detail enough to entertain myself while I slowly drown myself in this miserable story. Characters looked decent enough and the various "monsters" were quite corny indeed. Seriously, a woman made of diamonds, a guy that turns him body into speakers!? What kind of joke is that? Seriously disturbing and not cool and rather generic I must add.

The theme songs definitely portrayed a film noir style element to the anime which convinces me even more that this is definitely a "B movie". The voice acting was rubbish at least for the other characters besides the main character himself. Even then, he sometimes just sounds so melancholy and monotone. Well, at least Kagura has some life in her and she does portray some emotions which was some relief. The other characters in the anime just sounded either really gay or just did not suit their characters at all. I was fine with the reuse of voice actors for the English speaking Americans in the anime but for everything else it was just terrible.

Well, characters were also a mixed bag here. Saiga is plain boring. Sometimes you wonder if it was really worth it to watch him go on his adventures. I still do not understand why Kagura still follows that guy around, just because he saved her. But I do appreciate the whole "I will free you" heroism shown by Saiga to Kagura. The other characters were either gay or quite boring. There was just plenty of red herrings here for every character. You do not know their true personality until the very end. Some characters just are completely void of common sense and do the most stupid things.

Perhaps I was being too harsh here, but I felt this was my perception of the anime. So, the whole special abilities awakened by a virus thing is rather a decent story line, but the execution of characters and motives ruined the plot a lot. So you are left going around in circles, battling each infected person you meet and in the end have an ultimate final battle that wasn't really a battle at all. I do not know where the producers got an idea of making things explode when taking pictures from, but it certainly it not to my taste. Will I rewatch this anime? Probably not. I would say, watch it once, get some understanding of it, and just leave it buried.

STORY: 4
Story was really a hit and miss. It tries too hard to capture your attention by throwing in a battle mostly in every battle but in the end it was repeated a bit too much.

ART: 6
Special effects were good and backgrounds looked nice. Characters had some detail on them.

SOUND: 5
I really couldn't stand the voice acting. Sometimes it was really suitable for the situation, other times it was completely boring and emotionless.

CHARACTER: 5
Really? The characters in this anime were ether utterly boring, infected by some unknown virus, or just gay. It just doesn't appeal to me.

ENJOYMENT: 5
At least I managed to finish the anime and got some entertainment out of it. The fight scenes kept me going, otherwise, all the talk about taking over the country and taking revenge is just uninteresting to watch.

OVERALL: 5
The anime didn't go into more detail about the virus so all the story is about some guy running away with a girl whilst being chased by corrupt people.