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Gravitation (グラビテーション Gurabitēshon?) is a shōnen-ai manga series written by Maki Murakami.The story follows the attempts of Shuichi Shindou and his band, Bad Luck, to become Japan's next musical sensation and his struggles to capture Yuki's heart. Fitting for the subject, the anime features a large amount of music, a diverse set of characters, plenty of comedy, romance, and touches of drama and violence.

The manga originally ended in 2002 after 12 volumes, but new chapters are being serialized in an online manga anthology . It is known as gravitation EX or gravitation genzo. The first volume of this manga has been licensed and is published in English by Tokyopop. The Gravitation novel was released in English by Tokyopop on March 7, 2006. There is also the Gravitation Colection which consists of 6 volumes, each of which has two original volumes of Gravitation in it. Gravitation has also been adapted into an anime series lasting 13 episodes. It was directed by Bob Shirohata.

A two episode OVA series was released in 1999. The thirteen-episode TV series aired in Japan from October 4, 2000 to January 10, 2001, on WOWOW satellite channel. The anime goes to roughly volume 7 of the manga. The Gravitation TV and OVA series have been licensed for North American release by Right Stuf International.

A manga sequel has been written under the title of Gravitation EX, published in English by TOKYOPOP.

Plot

The story surrounds an aspiring singer, Shuichi Shindou, and his band, Bad Luck (formed with his best friend Hiroshi Nakano, who is on guitar). Shuichi wants to become Japan's next big star, and follow in the footsteps of the famous idol Ryuichi Sakuma, lead singer of the now-disbanded legendary group Nittle Grasper. One evening, Shuichi is looking over lyrics for a song he was writing when his paper is blown away by the wind and picked up by a tall, blond stranger. The man dismisses Shuichi's hard work as garbage, which hurts Shuichi deeply. Despite his anger, he is intrigued by the stranger. This will be their first encounter as Shuichi becomes fascinated by the stranger, who soon turns out to be the famous romance novelist, Eiri Yuki (real name: Uesugi). Both the manga and the anime follow this plot.

The manga is a quirky blend of over-the-top humor (Reiji's giant panda robot destroying parts of New York, Shuichi's explosive nosebleeds and ridiculous declarations of love, K's machine gun wake-up calls, Tohma's half-teasing come-ons, etc.) and gay love. The storyline is just serious enough to be compelling, but also contains elements of parody. The characters are often thrown into insane situations and in some scenes the art style is dramatically overdone for comedic effect, one of many of Murakami's well known traits and characteristics in her manga styles.

The art style of the manga is notably different in volumes 1-5 than it is in volumes 6-12. The first half of the series has a more "old-fashioned" style that slowly changes and becomes noticeably different by volumes 6-7. The second half features cleaner lines, and more polished and stylish appearance. This also appears in the sequel, Gravitation EX, where each character's drawing style is drastically changed.

Gravitation EX

The story picks up directly after volume 12, and is more like a soap opera than the original manga. In the span of twenty chapters (as of April 2008), Shuichi and Eiri find and agree to momentarily take care of Kitazawa Yuki's son Riku, Shuichi kisses and conducts a short affair with Sakuma Ryuichi, who announces that he's always been in love with Shuichi, Eiri is in a car accident that causes him to temporarily lose his eyesight, and Reiji announces that she's making all that has happened into a movie. Shuichi believes that this movie is the reason Ryuichi "pretended" to go after him, although Ryuichi's true motives remain unknown. In January 2008, Murakami went on hiatus, leaving the continuation of the monthly serials uncertain.

Major characters

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Shuichi Shindou: An energetic, devoted, and good-natured teen who falls in love with Eiri Yuki. He chases Eiri constantly, despite being rejected, verbally abused, and often being called a little brat. The only thing he cares about more than Eiri is his band, Bad Luck. Even after becoming Eiri's Boyfriend, Shuichi still struggles to win his heart completely and find out more about his dark past. Shuichi sacrifices himself and ends up being beaten by one of the members of the band A.S.K and his hired thugs in order to protect Eiri. Eiri blames himself for the assault and keeps running away from Shuichi because he fears both being hurt by him, as well as hurting him. Shuichi follows him to end, even going to New York in an attempt to bring Eiri home (in the anime). In the manga, he even has Yoshiki Kitazawa impersonate his older brother Yuki Kitazawa to help shuichi for the problems his brother has left behind which really helps Eiri get over his past love. The two finally end up together despite many interferences by Eiri's family, his arranged fiance Ayaka, and Eiri's close friend and brother-in-law, Tohma.

Eiri Yuki: A cynical romance novelist whose real name is Eiri Uesugi. He is generally blunt and rude to those around him and has a fairly negative view on people and life in general. His good looks and charm make him popular with women and his female fanbase who have given him the nickname of 'cool beauty', but he doesn't make any emotional attachments with the women he gets involved with. He eventually agrees to a relationship with Shuichi (who refers to him as Yuki). Eiri suffers from psychological problems, most of which stem from when he was almost brutally raped and was forced to kill to defend his life when he was a teenager. He only resists Shuichi because his past has affected him so much that he's afraid to let anyone in again. In the beginning he's very cruel to Shuichi, but eventually he gives way and little by little begins to let him in. He also doesn't want to have Shuichi hurt or even possibly killed since his brother in-law Tohma "discards any toy he believes is not good in anyway to Eiri". Yuki eventually admits to himself that he loves Shuichi in the manga[volume 8], but the animated series only highlights certain areas of the relationship's development. He then is very kind to Shuichi and even though he occasionally refers to him as stupid, (he typically acts like a "tough guy" in public and tries to act like he is unconcerned about Shuichi) it's very apparent that the two love each other. He blames himself for Shuichi being beaten and by one of the band A.S.K's members and his hired thugs. Eiri also teeters from being nice to Shuichi, but whenever Tohma, his arranged fiance Ayaka, or his family get involved in the matter he treats him badly because they convince him that he will only be hurt. In the end he overcomes this and the pair find happiness in their own way.

Tohma Seguchi: The former keyboardist for the band Nittle Grasper, and now the head of NG Productions, the company that is producing Bad Luck's music. Tohma is a genius musician and a stern businessman. He is married to Eiri's older sister, Mika. Tohma cares greatly for his brother-in-law, Eiri, and feels an intense guilt for failing to protect him during his childhood. When he feels that Eiri's livelihood is threatened, he is prone to get involved.

Characters

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Bad Luck

Nittle Grasper

A.S.K

  • Aizawa Taki
  • Ma-kun
  • Ken-kun

N-G Production Staff

Uesugi Family

Kitazawa Family

XMR Records

Reiji a.k.a Rage

Others

  • Ayaka Usami
  • Maiko Shindou, Shuichi's sister.
  • Yuuji Nakano, Hiroshi's older brother.
  • Random fans.

Development

The precursor to the Gravitation manga was a dōjinshi series titled Help!, which followed a similar story line but cast the characters in slightly different roles.

Murakami went to New York to research for a storyline later in Gravitation where the characters visit the city.[1]

Murakami has created dojinshi based on Gravitation which she describes as "pretty hard-core, adult stuff. Remix is softcore and Megamix is much more hardcore." She created the dojinshi to explore tensions between the characters.[1]

Murakami penned a thirteen volume dōjinshi series called Gravitation Remix under the group Crocodile Ave. The Remix dōjinshi are much more sexually explicit than the anime and deviate heavily from the manga storyline. Fans have requested that Tokyopop license Gravitation Remix, but Tokyopop regards the depiction of some characters to be too young, also they are concerned about themes of incest, so Tokyopop has not licensed them.[2] They contain an element of parody.

In addition to the Remixes, Murakami created four highly sexually explicit "Megamix" dōjinshi, dubbed Mega-gra, Megamix: Panda, Megamix: Kumagorou, and Megamix: Capybara. These also deviate from the storyline as the Remixes do, with Panda including shota content. A new Megamix is currently in the works, entitled Megamix Zebra. Megamix Zebra will feature Shuichi, Ryuichi, and Eiri in a threesome, with Shuichi as the seme.

Media

Manga

Script error Tokyopop licensed the series for an English-language release in North America and published the twelve volumes from August 5, 2003 to July 12, 2005.[1][2] Tokyopop is also re-releasing the series with extras; three compilation volumes have published with the fourth planned to be released January 12, 2010.[1] Madman Entertainment distributes the series in New Zealand and Australia.[3]

A sequel to the series, Gravitation EX, is being serialized in the online magazine Genzo.[4] Tokyopop published the first volume in English on February 13, 2007.[1] Madman Entertainment also distribute the series in New Zealand and Australia.[5]

Drama CDs

Eight audio dramas were produced for Gravitation, featuring most of the seiyū of the TV and OVA series. Five retell events from the manga series, while the remaining three cover new story material. The drama CDs also contain musical tracks performed by the Japanese voice actors.

Novels

There are two novels. The 1st one follows the story line for the OVA's. A second novel of Gravitation called Gravitation: Voice of Temptation which is written by Jun Lennon starts out with a steamy scene between the couple. Later on, as Shuichi is on his nation wide tour with Bad Luck, he finds a note. The writer claims that she has Yuki. Shuichi now goes on a wild goose chase throughout Japan to find his kidnapped love.

Both were published in North America by Tokyopop. Gravitation was released on March 7, 2006 and Gravitation: Voice of Temptation was published on July 11, 2006.[1]

Themes

The opening and closing themes to the TV series were "SUPER DRIVE" and "Glaring Dream", performed respectively by Yosuke Sakanoue and Kinya Kotani and Mad Soldiers. The latter also performed both themes for the OVA: "Blind Game again" (opening) and "Smashing Blue" (closing). Most other music in the Gravitation franchise (except songs that appeared on later drama albums) was written, performed or produced by Daisuke Asakura. Guitarist Kenichi Ito also appears on many of the tracks as well as Kappei Yamaguchi.


Reception

Script error Almost half a million copies of the Gravitation manga have been sold from its release in 2003 to 2007,[1] and in 2005 it was the top manga on BookScan with BL themes.[2] Rachel Woods notes that even a milder shōnen-ai manga "relies on sexual innuendo, comic double entendres, and coded visual references in order to maintain an erotic undercurrent that is not sexually explicit in nature", and discusses a page from Gravitation which shows the characters kissing, but using "fragmented panels" which show Yuki's "wandering hand" to provide a "tantalizing and suggestive imagery" that encourages the reader's imagination.[3]

References

  1. 'Gravitation EX' Gets Simultaneous Release On Three Continents
  2. Valenti, Kristy L. (2005). "'Stop, My Butt Hurts!' - The Yaoi Invasion". The Comics Journal, issue 269.
  3. Wood, Andrea. (Spring 2006). "Straight" Women, Queer Texts: Boy-Love Manga and the Rise of a Global Counterpublic. WSQ: Women's Studies Quarterly, 34 (1/2), pp. 394-414.

Further reading

External links

hu:Gravitation nl:Gravitationno:Gravitation (manga) pl:Gravitationro:Gravitation ru:Притяжение (аниме и манга) sk:Gravitation fi:Gravitation sv:Gravitation (manga) tl:Gravitation (manga) zh:萬有引力 (漫畫)

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