Search This Blog

What is your current/max resolution?

Comments not personal enough? E-mail me with requests, suggestions or personal comments. No, it's not fake....

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Gungrave - Review

Gungrave is in an odd anime. I say odd not in the sense that the content is odd, but the way the plot was directed and how the story was done overall. First off, this anime was based off the game (action-shooter) rather than the opposite.

Brandon Heat is brought back to life as Grave, a soldier resurrected to take on Harry McDowell the head of Millennion, an organization that has take over the city. But it seems there's more to this it seems as Brandon was was Harry's closest friend and Brandon was once part of Millennion, so why would Brandon be willing to kill his friend?

I'm not really fond of this kind of style of storytelling where the end, or rather near end comes first and then shifts the story to the beginning. While I liked Gungrave, I personally think that's a poor way to tell a story. It's effective in some ways and poor in others. It's definitely useful in creating suspense, or rather some way to hook the reader in since they then constantly ask the question of "What happened to make the things the way they are?" Thus, it can be used to stall a weak plot opening but then that means that the storyboard director knew from the start that it would start off weak which then leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I'm not really keen on watching something that people purposefully put no effort into.

The "real" opening was interesting and held my attention since I knew there's always more to the story than just the beginning, but to some extent I need to be hooked from the start. If I didn't get that fast forward bit first I would probably still watch it since it was above average and had really nice production values, but I'm known among my friends to have patience which would mean that it had a chance of not hooking many others. Regardless, Brandon Heat starts off as the stereotypical silent but compassionate type and Harry McDowell comes off as the suave, high-ranking gangster type without the experience.

Watching the development that occurs within Brandon and Harry throughout the anime was actually really good in my opinion, and once it picks up it moves fairly quickly. The action scenes are beautifully orchestrated (direction and musically) and Brandon's character grows and develops without him ever needing to speak. If I think about it carefully, I think that's what hooked me. While at first he seemed very generic, the director's ability to portray the type of person he is without ever having him speak. In fact, I think it was a good choice for having his voice actor do all the episode previews, I feel as if listening to him speak gives you an insight into the complexity that is Brandon Heat. While it isn't new to have someone say something different but related to the concept of the next episode, having a character that doesn't speak often seems to amplify that concept and apply it to the one speaking or "thinking."

Once again, this anime thrives on its secondary characters. While the protagonists are important, secondary characters are given just as much attention as the primary ones but that seems to be the limit. Anyone that is below "some form of chief/boss" dons a very run-of-the-mill mafia look that works in the anime but shouldn't work well in general.

Music is a plus. I'd buy the soundtrack if I knew where. The opening is just such a great musical interlude and all the music in the anime is worth paying attention to.

FYI. There's a sequel to the game called Gungrave: Overdose. Apparently it's really good and much better than the first one. There's more development on characters that didn't get much "camera time" (Mika *cough*) and I heard it's something worth spending a bit of time on when you're bored. A pick up and play game if you will.

No comments: