Speed Grapher: Box Set
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"plunge into the darkest depths of greed, lust and obsession" --- NewType USA
Its been over a decade since the Bubble War, when the global economy burst. The rich got richer, and the poor were out of luck. Welcome to Tokyo, the city where all the winners came to jerk each other off. If youve got money, you can buy anything your sick mind can dream up. If you dont, you just try not to get crushed beneath the wheels. Only the wicked rule here.
Enter the Club, a secret society pandering to the ultra-rich and fulfilling their deepest desires legal or otherwise. Sent to infiltrate the underground elite, Saiga, once a renowned war photographer now reduced to tabloid journalism, stumbles upon a depraved ceremony and discovers the ultimate beauty in Tokyos darkest catacombs. With a tragic young girl named Kagura in tow, Saiga flees from his enemies and his own inner demons. A single kiss has ignited a chain of events that could force the entire ruling class to their knees.
Smile for the camera or perish in the glare of its lens.
Top customer reviews
If you have watched Speed Grapher and you liked it this is the only collection worth buying and it is far more worthy of your shelf than any of the other collections of the complete series. It comes with three books of artwork and information on the characters - from Saiga and Suitengu to the Euphoria. It also has several very well done miniatures of art you won't find in the ending credits. The fold open box that holds the discs is beautiful. A friend pulled this collection off the shelf because of the visual allure of the casing and was stunned when they started to look through it - just the presentation was enough to make someone want to see this series. So, as I said, if you're a fan this is the only way to go.
On to the anime itself...
Without delving too much into the plot Speed Grapher is an anime that makes you think. You can go through nearly the entire series with a set of preconceived notions as to what it is about and when reaching the ending find you've been turned around on your head. This is a plot heavy anime despite the action that you will find in every episode: it is something that you need to pay attention to. I can easily see someone who is used to a casual anime that you can just sit back and absorb disliking Speed Grapher because it is something you need to think about. While you can marathon through this show I highly recommend taking some time between every few episodes to think over what is going on or you may find yourself turned off or overwhelmed.
While this anime has elements of the "fantastic" (Euphoria's which essentially are monsters) it is meant to be a realistic show. As such it isn't about powering up and getting stronger, it isn't about the epic battles and showdowns. There is violence in the series, having shown it to several people I have noticed that it can be disturbing to many people. The way that Speed Grapher moves you is more the poignant way that it illustrates the lust for power, money, and the physical, effects people and has an affect that ripples through an entire nation. It is a show about materialism and wanton desire, and it illustrates how damaging your unchecked psyche can be. Ultimately the series is so unsettling because it shines such a bright light on how uncouth and vile humanity can be.
There is love and touching moments in Speed Grapher, and it may be the interaction between Saiga and Kagura that is what upsets people the most. Yes, Kagura is a minor, yes Saiga is an adult. Yes, if you watch the series it is very easy to tell this is not a platonic love between them. There is no graphic sex in that relationship though it is rampant in the show - if that isn't your thing then don't buy this - you will hate the series.
I don't want to give away the plot because as a person who has seen the entire series it is very easy to accidentally reveal part of the story that emerges later on and ruin or color the entire experience. This isn't a "quick" show and it isn't really that fast paced, it does take time to get into even though it does give you a lot of information in each episode. In the middle of the series it can be very easy to ask "Where is this going and why do I even care?" if you reach that point please keep going because this story is epic in proportion and masterfully done. Those little things that you thought were meaningless actually turn out to be very important.
All in all, this is one of my favorite anime.
Don't watch it with Grandma tho. She'll have a fit and take you to her local place of worship.
The story is solid and the characters hit you deep. If you are not fond of corrupt sexuality themes I warn you they are VERY heavily present. But if you think you can stomach it please go for this series.
The series is very underrated mostly because of it's mature themes. But it does deserve more attention than it gets.
The story revolves around a photographer, Saiga, who sort of falls into something akin to destiny. There's a secret club rumored to exist where a lot of political officials from Japan are said to visit and partake of their excesses. At this point we can probably say we see some "Eyes Wide Shut" influence, but that's really where things begin and end for that. No one's ever seen this club and no one knows who belongs to it. Saiga is determined to find out what goes on there. He follows a suspected member and makes it inside safely. There he sees all kinds of sexual excesses taking place, some violent, some simply disgusting to behold! The worst comes with a main event involving someone they term as "the goddess". She's the daughter of the head of the most powerful company in Japan and she's only in her early teens, which is probably the most shocking fact. There's something strange about her and Saiga immediately starts taking photographs, this was not a smart move because it made him a dead give away to the patrons that he didn't belong. This is where we meet the story's main antagonist, Suitengo, who swiftly sentences him to death for intruding into their club. Something strange happens though, the Goddess walks up to Saiga and kisses him; this was originally meant for another patron. That patron is incensed with rage and insists on killing Saiga himself. However, something is changing inside Saiga. He does the only thing he knows how to do as the man is about to kill him, he takes his picture. There's a huge explosion and half the man disappears in a spray of blood. Saiga has turned into a Euphoric, something we find out later. This is how the show kicks off. Intrigued yet? I sure was, but I'm going to leave that quick introduction there and let you simply watch the rest for yourself.
In terms of the main characters I thought this show expertly developed them. The cast is actually fairly big, but it never fell to the problems Rahxephon had. It also didn't fall prey to some other common elements in Anime I've come across, in the sense that the writers didn't feel the need to have a battle every episode. Instead we do have episodes of pure character development and the conflict is in the drama. This is simply just great writing in my opinion. I realized after the fact that this show did exactly what I wish a lot of other shows would do in terms of story format. They have a handful of adversary creatures that are also Euphorics, I suppose you can term them Boss Battles (to borrow a term from video games) and each one has their own special powers. Some of the Euphorics have strange powers that can cause them to change shape into something hideous, not all are like Saiga's where he mostly stays as he is.
Saiga's main goal in this series is to save the Goddess (Kagura is her real name). He attempts to do this literally against all odds. He's fighting not only a giant corporation with limitless wealth, but also fighting against the government. It's as if no place is safe! Hiding from these people is nearly impossible, but he's up to the challenge. All amidst this is the background story of relationship building and concepts of love. This is a natural aspect since it's a highly sexualized series. I found it interesting to note that almost every character has some kink or fetish, even Saiga has one. I think the show was trying to subtly get across that fetishism is okay, but when it goes to extreme excess it becomes a dangerous element in a person's life.
My favorite character in this was Suitengo. I usually like the bad guys in most shows, but Suitengo is one of the best, by far. He doesn't act like the other estranged Euphorics that are in existence due to their extreme greed or lusts. He's calm, cool, and very collected. He never really goes out of control and I thought that was great. He has a very defined agenda and sticks to his plan. This might be a bit of a spoiler, but I simply have to mention it because it was one of my favorite aspects. This is, so far, the only thing I've seen that both the bad guy actually wins and there is also a happy ending. I know that sounds very strange, but it happens. It's so well written that it's just great and made me love it all the more.
I would definitely recommend watching this once, at the very least. I think it is very well written and my only thing I might say is it doesn't have a ton of re-watch value for me. I liked the world that was created and the concepts touched upon, but shows like this aren't something I really fiend for. I enjoy them while I watch them, but it's not something I'm going to pull out and tell my friends they have to see it right away. That's really the only reason I dropped a star off of this. Other than that, this is very well done and I definitely recommend it. The DVD box set is beautifully packaged in a gatefold format with slipcase and it also includes the bonus of six booklets that give you character outlines and rare sketches. I think it's a worthwhile set to own and I could definitely see myself watching it again at some point.