February 22, 2012
Maki Murakami – Tokyopop – 2003 – 12 volumes
This is so 90s it almost hurts to look at. Not only with the style of story, which is an over-the-top romantic comedy similar to Fake, but the music references. People I haven’t thought of in about 15 years. Depeche Mode. Morrisey. Tokyopop has also punched up the dialogue with a lot of 90s slang, something I’m definitely not opposed to in a series like this. I think it only makes the cheese that much better.
So, Shuichi is in a techno band with his best friend, Hiro. Shuichi is the head of the band, and is an incredibly driven and talented individual, but is struggling with lyrics and composition. His ego takes a further dive when he meets a mysterious man in a park one night who completely trashes his love song lyrics. The man really gets under Shuichi’s skin, and Shuichi does whatever he can to prove the man wrong. The two keep meeting by coincidence, however, and Shuichi begins to realize that his irritation might be a sign of… other feelings.
But summarizing Gravitation in such a serious way does it such a disservice that it’s almost funny. Shuichi and Hiro are complete hams, and the two make a spectacle of themselves wherever they go. Shuichi is extremely outgoing, and doesn’t have a problem making a fool of himself to get his point across. When his band, Bad Luck, plays a show later in the volume, he winds up making a complete fool of himself in front of a music company executive. But it helps, because the executive remembers him later (which winds up setting off a whole other string of personal problems, but that’s beside the point). Shuichi is on the brink of failing out of school due to the fact he never shows up and can’t be bothered to do things like take tests, or even take his headphones off in class. Even Shuichi’s family has given up on him, though they all seem fond of his strong personality.
And because this is a semi-legendary BL series, there is, of course, Shuichi’s mystery man. Yuki is a jerk, through and through, and he’s also a popular romance novel writer, a detail I can’t resist. At the end of this volume, there’s only innuendo between the two, and Yuki seems to be rather nonchalant about the whole thing, but it’s clear where this is all going.
It’s interesting how the romance is dealt with. Shuichi is so outgoing, it’s his friends that finally convince him he might have feelings for Yuki. While it’s not that odd for Shuichi to go with the flow and run with it (it just seems like part of his personality), it was a little odd that everyone around him was suddenly okay with this. But whatever. Clearly it’s not really about that. It’s about rocking out and being in love.
I tend to dislike comedies like this, especially since the humor doesn’t age well. This one is particularly loud. But it is charming, and I find myself eager to read the second volume. I can see how this could be addictive after awhile.