Speed Grapher

Title:Speed Grapher
Keywords: , , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - GONZO
Animation - Zexcs
Music - MITSUMUNE Shinkichi
R1 License - FUNimation
In a world very much polarized between the fantastically wealthy and desperately poor, Tokyo has become a city of pleasure, with hidden and secret fantasy clubs ready to indulge any sinful desire. Saiga, a photojournalist with a history of photographing live-action-deaths on distant battlefields, is now chasing after leads in the multiple assassinations of major political leaders. One day, he is asked to cover a secret society called the “Roppongi Club”, and succeeds in sneaking in undetected. Having reached a deep inner chamber of the club, he comes across an initiation ritual, where a goddess descends from above to give the innate a kiss of acceptance. The goddess, a girl named Kagura, gives him the kiss instead, bestowing on him a special ability, and asks that he help her flee from her circumstances. But the Roppongi Club does not intend to permit their goddess to escape, and their members have abilities of their own.

[TV series, 2005, 24 episodes, 23 min; Animation production by Gonzo Digimation]

R1 license by Funimation

In case you were wondering, Speed Grapher is short for Speed (Photo)grapher., which is what Saiga does for a living.
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 7 6 6 7 7 7 Ggultra2764 [series:1020#1552]
(Watched 2 episodes, 2 years ago)

Here's yet another Gonzo title that screws up in conveying an effective story. The premise of exploring corruption among the wealthy elite in Japan with a photographer trying to uncover them did have its potential. Unfortunately, this series has to try making itself too shocking and over-the-top with its content to try hammering in its point, what with sexual depravity, child abuse, people dressed in S&M garb, the wealthy elite gaining superpowers from Kagura's kiss. Sure I don't mind grittiness in an anime as I've enjoyed Black Lagoon and its sequels, but hammering in a title's themes and not having any reason for the actions of the characters being as over the top as they are is a huge turn off for me. Dropping yet another Netflix rental without a final review.

(Completed, as of now)

The premise for Speed Grapher is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the plus side, it does set up some solid plot development focused on Saiga's efforts to protect Kagura from Suitengu and the Roppongi Club with plot twists slowly unveiled concerning the origins of Euphorics, Kagura's tragic developments and the past origins of Suitengu. As a villain, Suitengu made for one of the more better major anime baddies I've seen in quite a while as he flaunted his wealth and influence by smoking cigars rolled up in thousand-yen bills and his fabulous wardrobe, isn't afraid to get his hands dirty in battle, is quite the manipulative bastard with how he snares in members for his club and those with major influence on Japanese society and also has a tragic past that covers the motivations for his actions throughout the course of the series.

The major issues that keep this series in Rent territory for me have to do with its animation and emphasis on its major themes. For a series that milked use of the abilities of the Euphorics in battles, the animation to this is rather below par for what Gonzo is normally capable of with simple details and washed-out color on characters, moments of characters appearing off-model and subpar action scenes. Also while the premise of exploring a morally corrupt Japan is interesting on paper, Speed Grapher tends to revel a bit too heavily in its depravity at plenty of points with random politicians and celebrities engaging in depraved violent and sexual acts, with no context covered as to why beyond the fact said characters are flat-out insane. This issue also carries over into elements of the title's plot when random Euphorics are sent to bring back Kagura and kill off Saiga as the series somewhat sticks to a "monster of the day" style plot and many of these minor villains don't get much in the way of depth beyond showing off how depraved they are.

Overall, Speed Grapher's another one of Gonzo's mixed quality titles. While having an engaging plot with solid twists and interesting lead characters, it also suffers from subpar animation and getting too hooked on exploiting the depravity of those involved with the Roppongi Club. It's a decent watch, but far from being one of the better titles that Gonzo has whipped out.

Last updated Wednesday, August 21 2013. Created Monday, October 10 2011.
Rent Forbin [series:1020#1573]
Analysis : 5 R1 Discs
  • Drama : High
  • Comedy : None
  • Action : Med/High
  • SciFi : Med/High
  • Ecchi : High
OMG What the heck did I get into? Secret societies where a kiss from a girl makes you into a freak?

I'm hooked. But it's real nasty.

Another note For Jan-Chan, the story becomes linear after 3 episodes, but boy are you confused about which is present or past for a long time.

Still loving this, I'm pissed at episode 16 though, it's 90% recap and 10% story.
01.25 - Episodes 17-20 watched and it's real good. I made this a RENT, because I do not know how it will end, Gonzo has an issue with messing up their endings. See Gantz, in fact, this is a political Gantz, it's all about Government corruption. We also learn how Saiga gained his abilities.

Last updated Thursday, January 25 2007. Created Monday, November 20 2006.
Rent 8 8 9 6 9 KBanger1 [series:1020#1694]
This is based on the first 12 episodes of this series. A full review will come when I finish the series (one day)!

I was very fortunate on running into this series. I saw the first episode on a demo disc that Best Buy was giving away and I thought , "Why not? It is FREE!" The story is about a photographer (Saiga) who works for either a newspaper or tabloid magazine and he's kind of reknowned for his work. Saiga gets caught up in a particular assignment and goes in too deep. I'm not going to go any further since it'll end up spoiling the series but I really do suggest to at least watch episode one. That alone should get you hooked.

As far as the rest of the series, it's dark and can be gruesome at times. The characters are all unique in more than one way. I can think of all the characters I've seen and remember them and what they are to the story. Even the secondary characters I can remember vividly. It takes a good plot to hook me into this. The art/animation is pretty rigid and a bit stiff at times, but is certainly a great job at it. I was really fascinated by the the character, Saiga. When going through the episodes, a lot gets cleared up about him because he starts off as an enigma. Nobody knows exactly who he is (although the first episode does talk about his past) and what is his purpose. If you're into dark and supernatural titles, give Speed Grapher a chance.

Last updated Friday, October 20 2006. Created Friday, October 20 2006.
Unevaluated Jan-Chan [series:1020#967]
I have only seen one episode of this series, but if you are into dark futuristic anime, such as Ghost in a Shell, or Jin-Roh, then this is something that you really want to watch. It starts off with a very rough story line (as in the story line is very jumbled and non-linear,) but the dark and almost-Teutonic imagery is grand. It very much reminds me of those dark and forbidding nihilistic stories that so entranced me during my youth.

Last updated Sunday, April 17 2005. Created Sunday, April 17 2005.

Other Sites
Funimation (R1 English) web site http://funimation.com/speedgrapher/

Community Anime Reviews

anime mikomi org