Gravitation

"Why is it wrong to want to be with the person I love?" - Shuichi

Gravitation is a manga and anime series about a young singer, Shuichi Shindou, who was trying to get his band Bad Luck off the ground while unexpectedly falling in love along the way. The series followed Shuichi and his band's struggles to make their way in the difficult music business, but at its heart it was really a love story between Shuichi and novelist Eiri Yuki. The two met in the park late one night when Yuki criticized Shuichi's lyrics, which sparked not only a challenge in Shuichi to succeed, but also an interest in the man that he could not explain. Throughout the series Shuichi had to overcome a jealous rival musician set on destroying his and Yuki's reputations, the price of fame, and his own insecurities when faced against his long time idol. In his personal life, he and Yuki had to decide what they meant to each other and how they could stay together against through all the internal and external forces that seemed determined to tear them apart.

When I first saw the 13 episode anime series I fell in love with Yuki and Shuichi and their romance. The characters were so different and yet worked together as a couple so well. Gravitation was the first yaoi series I had ever seen and I credit it to my becoming a fan of many others. Because I enjoyed it so much and wanted to find out more about all the characters and the story, Gravitation was also the first manga that I read. After reading the 12 volume series I found that I enjoyed it even more than the anime because it went into so much more detail in almost every aspect. Maki Murakami has a style and story telling ability that is uniquely her own and despite all the crazy situations that the characters got into (such as K shooting Shuichi to wake him up or Rage dropping Bad Luck out of her robot), there was always an element of realness that kept it grounded. I felt that the anime was a good introduction to the series but the manga really took it to another level. Sometimes I'll pick up one of the books just to re-read one part and before I know it I'll have just read half the book because it is so hard to put down.

Gravitation had a wide range of characters who were all distinct and well developed in their own ways. Although the focus of the story was mainly on Yuki and Shuichi, I really felt like I got to know Hiro, Tohma, K, Ryuichi, and the other characters. In the manga especially, we got to learn about all of their families and motivations - I loved that we got to see Shuichi's parents, K's wife and son, and many more scenes at Yuki's family home in Kyoto. In the manga we got to see how Hiro's brother Yuji and Yuki worked together to bring Ayaka to the Bad Luck concert so Hiro wouldn't quit the band, see Mika's true feelings on her husband Tohma's obsession with Yuki, and really see the deep and lasting wounds Yuki's past had on every aspect of his life. It was also interesting to get a closer look at Ryuichi and his motivations and hopes for the future. Having a strong supporting cast really added a lot to the story and made all the relationships and storylines more full and realized. I also enjoyed how wacky and crazy the characters could be - it just made the story really fun and refreshing and made them even more likable to me.

As a main character, I just loved Shuichi because he was so well rounded with many different sides to his personality. He could be so determined and focused to reach his goals and willing to put in the hard work to make them happen, yet at the same time he could also be extremely self centered and whiny. He had an inner strength that kept him going and allowed him to overcome some difficult situations, and he always knew what he wanted and wasn't afraid to go for it. I never really understood the submissive doormat characterization some people seem to think about Shuichi, because he was never shy about yelling at Yuki or standing up for himself. Yuki may not have always treated Shuichi the best, but Shuichi was able to give it back just as good as he got it, such as when he rejected Yuki's lyrics and hummed on stage, or when he initially refused to return home when Yuki came to New York for him. I also feel Yuki was often mischaracterized as well, because although he could come across as cold and aloof, he was much more complex than that. There were many scenes that showed how Yuki really wanted to be with Shuichi and that and he cared very much for his happiness and wellbeing. I loved the scenes when he tried to teach Shuichi to cook, and how they often ended up with him having to bandage Shuichi's cut fingers.

One thing that the anime had over the manga was the soundtrack. Since this was a series about Shuichi's musical career, it was really neat to be able to hear their sound and progression in addition to reading about it. I loved the Kinya Kotani/Mad Soldiers songs for Bad Luck and Iceman/The Seeker for Nittle Grasper and thought they really fit the individual bands. It wasn't until years after I initially watched the series that I really got into different JPop music and started collecting the back catalogue of Iceman, as well as following Kinya and the individual members of Iceman. They really had unique and catchy songs and I thank Gravitation for getting me into them.

Gravitation is a very important series to me. Because of being a fan of this anime, I got into manga and found out about lots of different anime, manga, and novels that I may not have heard about otherwise. I love the JPop bands and singers from this show (I especially enjoyed the This is Gravitation series of EP's that had Kinya Kotani cover the Bad Luck and Nittle Grasper songs with cover art by Maki Murakami). Gravitation was a part of why we had such an amazing time at our first anime convention as we got to see Maki Murakami's panel, meet her, and get her autograph. That was such a special experience and it was also a lot of fun to see all the other Gravitation fans in attendance. I even have two ball-jointed dolls that I based off of Yuki and Shuichi which allowed me to combine my love of dolls with my love of Gravitation. This series has just really stuck with me over the years and I have enjoyed getting to see the glimpses of the characters futures in the Gravitation Ex and subsequent Shindou Family Circumstances manga. Gravitation is a really memorable series and is without question one of my very favorites.

Favorites
Liz
Jen
Character
Yuki, Shuichi
Shuichi, Ryuichi, Yuki
Anime Episode
Stray Heart, Ground Zero
Wave Shock, Secret Day
Manga Volume
11
6
Relationship
Yuki/Shuichi, Shuichi and Hiro, K and Hiro, Yuki and Tohma
Yuki/Shuichi, Shuichi and Ryuichi, Shuichi and Hiro