March 7, 2012
Maki Murakami – Tokyopop – 2004 – 12 volumes
I’m a little torn on this series. On one hand, I like it’s ridiculous over-the-top humor best. It should be terrible, but it tries so hard that I just can’t help but like it. There are very few series I forgive when the protagonist has a one-page freakout fit every five pages or so. But this one does it right.
On the other hand, it’s so full of drama. Usually I like dramas, but as I said, humor is Gravitation’s strong suit, so the drama feels a bit out of place. Especially when there’s more drama than even a normal drama-filled series. Seriously, there’s so much of it! In this volume alone, there’s a dramatic breakup, band rivalry drama, a possible breakup of the band, more creepy vibes from Tohma, a plot where Yuki makes his engagement formal, and a rape scene. The latter feels particularly out of place in Gravitation, and I can’t believe it was included as part of the plot. Even worse, it’s dropped and almost forgotten about after it happens.
The one strength Gravitation has over other drama-filled series, though, is the fact that it overcomes these plot points with humor. Yuki becomes a monk, Shuichi dresses in a schoolgirl uniform and screams about how he loves Yuki in the lobby of the N-G Building, Yuki dresses as an ugly bride and goes to Yuki’s father to break up his engagement… usually these things involve Shuichi doing something horrible, which is just fine by me. The series makes his crossdressing out to be way more hideous than it would be in other series, and I like that the other characters react so strongly to it. I also love the various character reactions to Shuichi’s other over-the-top episodes, how they either ignore him or mop up the blood afterwards, whatever. It’s great.
Other things hinted at in this volume: Yuki’s dark past, and terrible things that Tohma may or may not be able to pull off. Seriously. I’m just waiting for him to kill either Yuki or Shuichi with his bare hands. It’s coming.