Speed Grapher is the big new anime to watch this season from Gonzo. I saw a trailer for it a few weeks back, but all it revealed was that this was a potentially good show. Today I acquired and watched the first fan-subbed episode of this new anime.
It’s definitely animated in the typical Gonzo fashion. It doesn’t have any crazy special CG stuff like Gankutsuou did, but it is fairly typical of newer high quality anime. It is a bit dark, but that fits the show. The audio is very good. The opening song from Duran Duran is excellent, especially for children of the 80s. And the score during the show included one very good track that every one knows by ear but doesn’t know the name of. The closer was a bit weak, but it wasn’t annoying and has potential to grow on you.
The show is called “Speed Grapher” because it’s about a badass photo-journalist named Saiga. The plot seems to be about him and his quest for awesome photography. It becomes quickly apparent that he takes the very dangerous jobs. This results in the show being very action packed. I would actually say they slightly overdo the sex and violence, but that’s obviously just to jack up the ratings with the target audience. What the show lacks is character development. There is no hidden pasts to find out or coming of age stories here. The few actual characters in the show are very straightforward. The show keeps you mostly concerned about the action right now, and not on any mysteries or intrigues. Even the one time in the episode there was foreshadowing and potential for the future, that future comes within about 2 minutes.
Despite the lack of character development, this show seems to have everything including kitchen sink, minus pirates. Just in the first episode we had yakuza, gunslinging, police and detectives, ninjas, superpowers, cults, philosophy, corruption, insanity, politics, evil corporations, war and something that could arguably be a lovecraftian Mothra. Oh, and a freaky plot/goddess chick, but what anime doesn’t have one of those? So like I said, everything but pirates.
Speed Grapher doesn’t look like it is going to be an A+ anime here. My guess is it will be just as entertaining as Noir. What the show lacks in shallow violence it makes up for with plenty of weird shit going on and cool action. And while it may not be the best anime I’ve ever seen, so far I haven’t seen any other shows coming this season that even peak my interest. I’ll watch it simply because there’s no other anime to watch. Whether I’ll buy it on DVD after its inevitable licensing in a few months remains to be seen.