Shuichi is a young guy who has a friend named Hiro and a band named Bad Luck. They haven't hit it big quite yet, but are determined to get to the top eventually! One day, by chance and a gust of wind, one of the self conscious Shuichi's songs gets into the hand of Eiri Yuki, a cynical and heartless writer, who proceeds to inform Shuichi that he has no talent. Shuichi is totally thrown off guard, and needs to find the man again to figure out what his problem was.
Gravitation, as you've probably heard, is shounen-ai. Yes, I said shounen-ai, as in, men who like men, NOT yaoi, which is men having sex with men. People, when will you learn to stop calling anything homosexual yaoi? Like Earthian before this, this in fact has nothing yaoi related in it. Thus, unless you are really homophobic (and if you are, I suggest therapy), you would probably enjoy this if you like romances.
So what is Gravitation, ultimately? Well, it's definitely a romance series (with comedy thrown in), but it's also a series that follows the band and their rise to fame. These two things are intermixed fairly well throughout the 13 episodes, so there isn't much segmentation to be found. First, let's talk about the romance. We definitely aren't given any lag time as far as the romance kicking in -- things start as early as episode one. Now, I had some problems with the pacing as far as this is concerned. I've read other reviews which talk about how the plot examines Shuichi and him coming to terms with being gay, but I didn't see this AT ALL. I almost wonder if the people reviewing Gravitation were accidentally watching something else. Though Shuichi seems confused all of ONE OR TWO TIMES when Yuki kisses him, after that he's gung ho about the whole thing. We don't see anything where Shuichi is examining his actions or wondering why he is attracted to a male. He just... is. After the first kiss, he keeps coming back, doesn't really talk about the fact that he's switched to the other team (except occasionally asking if Yuki doesn't like him because he's male), etc. This would have been MUCH more effective and believable had Shuichi done the things these other reviews said: coming to terms with being gay. The way the story was set up, however, made me think Shuichi had known he was gay all along. Otherwise, I'm sorry, he would have reacted a hell of a lot differently to the entire situation (and probably would have taken much longer to come to terms with the idea that it was ok). I understand the length was short, but it made it feel much more unrealistic.
The part about the band rising to fame, however, was very compelling and interesting. It's always nice to watch a series where people go from nothing to something, especially in a band related way, since there aren't many series like that out there. The band story definitely was on the back burner compared to the romance, though.
Intermixed with the drama and seriousness was a great deal of chibis and random humor. Though this was funny at some times, it was totally inappropriate many other times. Often Yuki and Shuichi would be sharing a moment together, and suddenly Shuichi is in a random animal suit acting all whiny. Totally ruined the mood, in my opinion. Another failing of the series was the fact that Shuichi was truly annoying in every way possible, and made you wonder why Yuki is even bothering with him in the first place
All in all, a decent idea, but the pacing was quite unbelievable and felt rushed. Also, as mentioned, the romance seemed fairly unrealistic at times because of the total lack of self-examination that went into Shuichi's decision to be with Yuki. A decent idea, though, and the band story was refreshing at least.
Visually, Gravitation is fairly good. The characters are DEFINITELY bishounen and pleasant looking, reminding me of the characters from X TV or, well, any other series with bishounen characters ;). Hair colors and such were pinks, oranges, and other unusual colors, and the colors used in general were quite vibrant and unique. The clothing on the characters was quite interesting -- very feminine looking, but all the Jpop band photos I've seen do wear clothing like this, so it seemed appropriate. There were only a few unusual types of animation (or lack of) used. In the first episode, some regular video was intermixed with the animation, which quite frankly looked really bad. For example, a real shot of a mini waterfall would be shown, and then an animated one on the street. Near the end a shot of a pizza box was partially animated and partially looking 3D, which looked terrible. Sticking to the normal animation would have been just fine.
The music was vibrant and poppy, given that it was based on a Jpop band. My only complaint is that Bad Luck played the same exact song every single time, which got very old after awhile. It would have been nice to hear another song they did, since the first one was great. We occasionally heard songs from other bands which were just as good, but again, the same songs were replayed the entire series. The rest of the music was definitely in the background and uneventful. Even the opening and intro were catchy for once.
I'd like to give the characters a higher score, but a few things hold me back from doing that. First of all, like already mentioned, I had a big problem with Shuichi going into the realm of gay and not even examining the choice or opportunity. Maybe it's covered in the manga more, but I didn't read the manga, I watched the anime. Thus, I would have liked for there to be some development on that front. It's not realistic to me to watch two characters hook up extremely fast and fall into a routine, without having grown together or really talked about stuff. I kept wondering why Shuichi liked Yuki so much, and why he became so clingy.
Shuichi's character was just obnoxious in general. He was extremely whiny and cried a lot, and acted like he was 15. He was a clingy leech and I can't see why Yuki would have been attracted to that. Yuki was a far better character, who had a complex past that we discover near the end, which helps to explain why he is the way he is. He's manipulative and tricky, but deep down is a good guy. He had emotional layers, I liked that.
Other secondary characters ranged from good to annoying. Hiro was a good friend and had an interesting role as a band-mate, while a rival band member (and Shuichi's idol) was INCREDIBLY annoying. He had the same voice actor as Chichiri in Fushigi Yuugi (I couldn't STAND his voice), and even tacked "no da" on the end of the sentences! I seriously wonder what was up with that. In general, the character development was the best with Yuki, since we discovered his past. The romance between Shuichi and Yuki seemed unrealistic and rushed, and there wasn't much else besides that. So, an above average score, but probably not a lot.
Even though I rated a few sections lower than great, I still enjoyed Gravitation. I just wish it would have kept the same tone and dynamic it did in the first few episodes. I felt like it sort of went downhill from there, turning into an annoying spectacle of Shuichi whining and clinging to Yuki, Yuki getting mad, and then in the background the band is growing in popularity. I wish the series could have decided what it was, a story about a band growing, or a comedic romance. The two didn't fit so well, in my opinion, and took away from each story that would have been better seperate. But still, I enjoyed Gravitation. If you can handle the fact that it's two guys in love (why should it matter what gender they are?) then this is one of the better romances I've seen, even though I had some complaints. And if you like the idea of a band that comes out of nowhere rising to the top, this is good as well. Overall, a decent series.