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REVIEW: Speed Grapher DVD 4




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JackCox



Joined: 22 Jun 2006
Posts: 379
PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 1:46 am Reply with quote
This is again Speed Grapher Bashing that the Anime News Network cannot get over with. Speed Grapher in my opinion has been a fantastic show that the critics hate simply because its not everyone's cup of tea. It's a fast-paced melodrama that many will not like simply because some of the characters aren't believable. Ridiculous, ANN refuses to realize that somebody with a very good brain thought up an inconceivable story. This is a very watchable show because of the character chemistry and the fantastic english dub. I'd like to note that a lot of people disagree with the establishment's put down of Speed Grapher, its a fantastic show that has been slashed and burned by critics eager to see something they know that is original, fail. I'm sick and tired of the bashing put against this show because of minor complaints. I for one have no problem with the animation in fact never did it cross my mind once, I was more interested in the story.
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Key
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 2:13 am Reply with quote
The knocks against the show are not "minor complaints," and even "original" shows fail when they are poorly-executed, as this one is. As for it not being "everyone's cup of tea," I am a major fan of super-powered action series and particularly like it when they mix in some good drama, which is what Speed Grapher is apparently aspiring to be. This should be exactly the kind of show that I'd go for, but I can't ignore the glaring quality issues or the clubbing over the head the series does with its economic issues.

And I do believe my positive comments were more or less in line with yours. The series is doing at least a couple of things right or I wouldn't keep watching it.


Last edited by Key on Thu Dec 28, 2006 5:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Flame-X



Joined: 06 Oct 2005
Posts: 39
PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 2:23 am Reply with quote
Your opinion for this series will change after you finish watching it, trust me. Speed Grapher wasn't catching my interest til I reached eps 17+.
As for animation, I would've gave it a A-/B+ because there are no stills, recycled footage, stargazy backgrounds, or annoying invert colors.
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Randall Miyashiro



Joined: 12 Jun 2003
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Location: A block away from Golden Gate Park
PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 6:03 am Reply with quote
There are others out there that also like this series. Reviews are reflection of individuals tastes and opinions of a series. Key's review is not any less valid than any other thought out review, it's just his opinions of a series that might or might not differ from yours. For all of you who want to find a "A" rating (which is better than what they gave Desert Punk, Gankutsuou, Naruto, Trinity or Basilisk) review you can check out scifi.com review of the series.

From sciFi's review:

Quote:
Speed Grapher is obviously and profoundly aimed at adult viewers: It's graphically violent and graphically sexual (though more in an aggressively forthright way than a cutesy, teasing fan-service way). Its story is complicated and packed with names, alliances and developing depths. And it carries a strong and not terribly subtle message about the soul-deadening effects of economic greed—not generally a major problem among the underage set. Its dry, serious central plotline is also clearly aimed at viewers who value sophisticated, drawn-out serial stories over instant gratification. Paranoia Agent fans take note: This is heady stuff.


From AnimeonDVD:

Quote:
This isn't a pretty show in some ways but it's got its own sense of beauty that's just fascinating and engaging to watch. This is anime that doesn't treat you like a child with a few nods and winks but rather the full deal. Recommended for those looking for something harder and edgier than your normal pop culture anime.


Recently I've been increasingly annoyed with giant sweat drops and blinking sound effects. I'm looking for something mature, without feeling gratuitous. The adult situations in Speed Grapher seem to fit the plot naturally since the main villains power come from twisted fetishes. I remember watching Gantz for the first time (especially the scene with the dog and the girl) and thinking that many situations were written in for some juvenile chuckles. Speed Grapher seems to have less cloth dissolving chemicals and hot springs compared to many other so called mature shows.

I will say that I was really bummed about the last episode in this volume, but otherwise I love the many ideas and themes in Speed Grapher. Saiga continues to be one of my favorite protagonist who is trapped with an ability that prevents him from doing the only thing in life he knows how to do. I love the fact that deep down there is a dark seed, which was planted during the war, that remains in him much like Kazama Shin's (Area 88) restlessness. This is also apparent by the fact that his girlfriend totes her gun in bed, while he uses his camera which is his equivalent to the soldier's sidearm. Saiga is one of those tragic people who has left the war, yet the war has not left him. I also love the tragedy that his "Are You Happy" photo which was taken for journalistic purposes is being exploited in a media campaign.

I still see the Saiga and Kagura relationship as a platonic one, but I might be completely off on this one. You often here about maternal instincts, but there is also paternal instinct which kicks in with many of us older guys without kids. Sometimes you can be overprotective, but it is only natural when you see a young person go through the same mistakes that you went through. There is also a nolstagia connected to remembering when you were that age. Maybe their is something more to Saiga's relationship, but if so it is in addition to a paternal relationship. I find this as a nice change of pace from the overwhelming number of titles that revolve around "romantic" love. Maybe this is why I also am attracted to Jinki Extend.

This is from Scifi's review:

Quote:
These kinds of details give Speed Grapher a rich feel that's mirrored in the lovely visuals, which tend to be earth-toned and muted, as if to reflect the numbness of life in a city where a few perverted bastards have power over their victims' minds as well as their lives. Studio Gonzo rarely disappoints these days; it seems to go out of its way to try to pull off difficult effects like smoke and sprays of blood (which pours out copiously in this series), and the animators certainly seem to love pulling out the Euphorics, who tend to move in eerie and inhuman ways.


I really enjoy the visual style for the series. The solid and flat look (which is best illustrated in the foldout) is a bold turn for Gonzo. The style is also at it's peak during the OP credits. The style reminds me of the neat art in Soultaker and Requiem for the Darkness. I know I've seen many people pan Soultaker for it's artstyle as well. I love how Gonzo can have shows like Gankutsuou and Speed Grapher along with more traditional Basilisk and Trinity Blood.
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mufurc



Joined: 09 Jun 2003
Posts: 612
PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 7:41 am Reply with quote
Randall Miyashiro wrote:
Recently I've been increasingly annoyed with giant sweat drops and blinking sound effects. I'm looking for something mature, without feeling gratuitous. The adult situations in Speed Grapher seem to fit the plot naturally since the main villains power come from twisted fetishes.

Ah, but the fact that it comes from twisted fetishes is quite gratuitious in itself... if only because to me it seems that Speed Grapher tries too hard to be mature, edgy and hardcore and so it uses pretty much everything that falls under one of these categories. The show started out well, but quickly deteriorated into "look at me, I'm so hardcore, ooh, I'm so hardcore and mature!" Excessive sex, darkness and violence may make a show "adult" but not necessarily "mature," and indeed, there are quite many shows that manage to be mature without such excessive display of "adult" material.

As for the visuals, they would've been nice if the animation wasn't so damn sloppy. Sadly, it is.
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Zac
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Joined: 05 Jan 2002
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 1:00 pm Reply with quote
Flame-X wrote:
Your opinion for this series will change after you finish watching it, trust me. Speed Grapher wasn't catching my interest til I reached eps 17+.
As for animation, I would've gave it a A-/B+ because there are no stills, recycled footage, stargazy backgrounds, or annoying invert colors.


I will never understand why people will sit through 10+ episodes of something they aren't enjoying or are bored with or find uninteresting and then when the show finally does pick up after 6+ hours of content they then claim it's a good show.

Also, the animation is terrible and simply because it doesn't use shortcuts you're used to doesn't mean it's "good" animation and somehow deserves an A rating. Speed Grapher has some of the sloppiest, most amateur animation I've ever seen in a show made by professionals.

Quote:
Excessive sex, darkness and violence may make a show "adult" but not necessarily "mature," and indeed, there are quite many shows that manage to be mature without such excessive display of "adult" material.


This point has been made many times before, and it's always worth pointing out because there are so many people out there who think that simply heaping violence and sex on something makes it "mature".

Speed Grapher is not mature, it's adult. That Sci-Fi calls the show "sophisticated" and then proceeds to compare the show to Paranoia Agent makes me very, very sad. There is absolutely nothing sophisticated about this show and it bears no comparison to something like Paranoia Agent; I have to wonder if that critic even bothered watching the series.
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Henry Jones



Joined: 20 Dec 2004
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Location: Nebraska
PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 2:56 pm Reply with quote
As a person who really enjoys the series (I do list it as more of a guilty pleasure, however), I do have to admit disappointment with this volume. It's pure pulp, but the pulp thrill is fading a bit. The past couple villains felt thrown together. Okay, I get the past villains' obsessions turning into their powers, but a priest and electricity? What? And even though they explain the weirdness surrounding the second new villain in the volume, they don't give her room to breathe and a potentially interesting character is lost in the shuffle. It doesn't help that the emotional core gets dampered down by ineffective melodrama that hampers the character of the series, which is what I most dig about it. Oh yeah, and a recap episode. 'Nuff said.

ANN's review is not a torching by any means. It's VERY fair in my book. If you don't see the problems with the animation, you need to get your eyes checked. I'm still thinking about that motorcycle "chase" in volume 2. It's just not a slick product, which I'm willing to forgive if I enjoy a series, like I did with Gilgamesh. Some won't be as forgiving. Actually, with one still image making up half the new closing theme to punctuate the experience, I'm surprised that grade's not lower. And the story's dragging, no doubt about it. Here's hoping, as a fan, it's just the mid-series blues.

One thing's for sure though: The English dub crew knew EXACTLY what do with this series from top to bottom and deserve as much credit as possible, whether you think it's taking a good series up a couple notches or making a bad series watchable. Kudos.
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Zalis116
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Joined: 31 Mar 2005
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Location: Kazune City
PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 4:50 pm Reply with quote
Zac wrote:
Flame-X wrote:
Your opinion for this series will change after you finish watching it, trust me. Speed Grapher wasn't catching my interest til I reached eps 17+.
As for animation, I would've gave it a A-/B+ because there are no stills, recycled footage, stargazy backgrounds, or annoying invert colors.
I will never understand why people will sit through 10+ episodes of something they aren't enjoying or are bored with or find uninteresting and then when the show finally does pick up after 6+ hours of content they then claim it's a good show.
I don't understand this either, and I know people have said this same thing on every ANN Speed Grapher review thread. For a massive series like Naruto, I'm willing to give it 15-20 episodes before making a judgement. But for a 26-episode series, 16 episodes is 2/3 of the series, and if 66% of a series isn't good, I wouldn't call it a good series. So once again as this review rolls around, I'm glad I decided to pass on Speed Grapher, and no, I never watched the fansubs either.

I can believe that the English dub is superior, though--Funimation knows how to take a script with weaknesses and improve it via "creative translation." After all, the English dub of Negima! is considerably funnier, more varied, and more interesting than the subtitles thanks to a "sacrifice of artistic integrity."
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v1cious



Joined: 31 Dec 2002
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 6:49 pm Reply with quote
maybe it's just me, but i loved the recap episode. the way they did it was very original.
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HitokiriShadow



Joined: 09 May 2005
Posts: 6251
PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 11:53 pm Reply with quote
I enjoyed the series when I saw it (and I'm currently buying the LEs) and thought it was entertaining with an interesting story. The series has its faults, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. I really don't disagree with anything in the review. Whenever I see it again, I might think to myself "Wow, that's crappy animation", but it didn't bother me at the time.

While I think the series just gets better (storywise) as it progresses, if you don't like the series at this point, the remaining episodes probably aren't going to change your opinion much. The series gets better, but not significantly at this point.
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Randall Miyashiro



Joined: 12 Jun 2003
Posts: 2451
Location: A block away from Golden Gate Park
PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 5:00 am Reply with quote
Although I will concede that the animation/motion budget is limited I still will defend all the other reasons why I love this series. In regards to the adult versus mature replies I still find the series to be thematically mature. The fact that the last few episodes lack the sex and violence in the first few episodes I believe helps support my statement. If this were not the case we would have more shower scenes and panty shots. When I say the series has a mature slant I am referring to themes like having post war trauma, and regretting choices made in the past. One of my favorite episodes was the one about Shinsen's past that dealt with what she sacrificed to get to the top. This episode also highlighted the question of what makes someone a mother. This is another reason (as well as being around Saiga's age) is why the guardian relationship that Saiga has towards Kagura appears as a theme to me. There is also the inner turmoil Saiga has of exposing Kagura to the harsh world she lives in. Does he reveal to her the true nature of the Tennouzu group at the sacrifice of her innocence? spoiler[Should he tell her that she has a tumor and doesn't have much time left?] I think much of these worries are not as obvious to some younger viewers who see it as a simple romantic attraction. I definitely feel that the sex and violence fits the plot and are not as contrived like in shows like Elfen Lied (why are Lucy and Nana always naked?) or Gantz.

Once again I find it interesting that both Zac and Key gave this show such a poor review since it does rank: Bayesian estimate: 7.52883 (Very good-.47), rank: #386 here on ANN. This places it in a spot with Basilisk, Negima, and Texhnolyze and above Ninja Scroll (movie) Witch Hunter Robin and Noir.

I'm not writing these posts to say that our wonderful (no sarcasm) ANN staff are wrong or shouldn't state their opinion. I'm just trying to give what I believe are valid reasons to like the show in counterpoint to their opinions. I can think of at least a dozen examples (Haibane Renmei, and Kenshin being the main ones) where I can make a heartfelt negative review that would upset many although I agree"fail when they are poorly-executed, as this one is" is a bit harsh. My question is if it would be possible to have one of the other reviewers (regardless if they give it a positive or negative review) do any other volumes since the volume 4 review really didn't add anything that the volume 2 review didn't already say more objectively. I would hate to see one of the last volumes review just reiterate how poorly the series is written, how much better the dub is, and how choppy the animation is. It's always interesting to hear a variety why people like and dislike a series.
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britannicamoore



Joined: 05 Dec 2005
Posts: 2617
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 3:09 pm Reply with quote
I personally love this show. The art doesn't bother me at all because i'm so into the actual story. The recap episode was very orginal to me as well.

all this voulume did was make me want more.

I think this show has the right amounts of everything. At least for me. I do agree that the Japanese version wasn't up to par. The dub is excellent in my opinion.

The love triangle is a plus but i'm watching the show to see what happens to Saiga. he's become on of my favorite anime guys.
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AnBuOtakU



Joined: 05 Jan 2007
Posts: 2
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 1:25 am Reply with quote
This review of speed grapher is stupid.

In the review I read "The fan service, which was an important component of earlier volumes", is that a joke? I'm pretty sure the S&M sex club stuff was there to emphasize the scale of corruption, rather than appeal to the ecchi crowd. In my opinion this anime has very little fan service in it, you don't see Kagura calling Saiga "Oniii chan!" now, do you? Sure the blood, sex, and gore of the anime may be a bit overkill, but for this kind of plot I would think that the amount of overkill is reasonable enough that complaints made about it should be out of line.

Saiga and Kagura as a couple? Loli, no?
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