Speed Grapher is as cool and sexy as it is grimey and unpleasent. I know this show doesn't have a good reputation, It was met with less than steller reviews back when it was released. But after watching it from beginning to end in less than two days I rather enjoyed its uncomprimising style. It's fetishes. It's driven by characters who are selfish to the core. It explores the dangers of obsession and of greed.
Is it as good at exploring these themes as it could be? no. There are undoubtledy moments where it could be considered to be trying too hard. It'll fall into cliches perhaps alittle too often while trying to come off as social commentary. It's by no means perfect.
It also failed to explore some of the main cast as much as I'd might like or expect. Instead drafting in side characters for the most twisted obsessions you'll see in the show. Rather than digging alittle further more into characters like Saiga and Ginza
Speed Grapher has a strong vibe of style and a sprinkle of Noir. Its not a perfect recipe but I became strangely endeared to the characters. Most of which seemed to have stepped right out of Cowboy Bebop or Darker Than Black. They certainly weren't all likeable but they were interesting. Which was my main reason for liking Speed Grapher as much as I did. I simply found the whole concept and Story along with the characters that inhabited them interesting.
I couldn't help feeling this series was really enjoying itself , revelling in its skewd desires and twisted view of the underworld of the Rich and Famous. Its like it was saying to me 'this is fucked up right? wanna see some more' and yeah it was and yeah i suppose i do.
This series isn't nice. 90% of the cast are scum. The other 10% aren't saints either. But Sanity does exist within the folds. Speed Grapher knows what its showing is messed up. It doesn't glorify it or sympathize with it. The principle cast we follow have mostly the same feelings as us the viewers, The onlookers of this crazy world.
It thankfully avoided the issue where another Anime of a similar ilk in Gantz had not, wherein Gantz the main protaginist 'KURUNO' was a complete douchebag and as such was not relatble or indeed a character i cared to much about as he was as sick and messed up as the world he inhabited. Making the whole show uncomfortable and in my case to the point of me having to stop watching the Anie entirely.
Speed Grapher's protaginist Saiga on the other hand is a much more relatable and mostly upstanding character. Without whom this shows more dark moments in its twisted world wouldn't be as tolerable to watch and endure. Although I Must state Speed Grapher never goes as far as Gantz did.
The Animation is vintage Gonzo and I love it. Again though as with alot of Gonzo shows Its certainly not solid throughout, the animation has its ups and downs.
But when its good it looks really good. The Character designs are also top notch. I really did like the Facial designs of the characters in this show. Something more akin to an Anime Movie than most TV Anime of the time.
By Its End Speed Grapher comes to a satisfactory conclusion. It just about avoids going too fantastical with how it gets there. Barely remaining inside the plausible of the world it had laid out for itself. Altho I'm still none the wiser as to how the gay masseuse Bob got a Helicopter. I must have missed something in that guys history.
Anyway if you are willing to take the plunge into the gutter then i think you'll find enjoyment to be had with Speed Grapher. Its a Stylish gritty ride which above all
else I think is Cool.