Title: Speed Grapher
Genre: action, fantasy, sci-fi, drama
Released date: 7 April 2005 – 29 September 2005
Director: Kunihisa Sugishima
Animated by: GONZO Studio
Comment: Tatsumi Saiga, a goofy but reliable man who is haunted by dark and depressing past and Kagura Tennouzu, an innocent girl who possesses mysterious ability and is hunted by giant evil organization. Kagura’s power is granting other people superhuman powers according to their fetishes through her body fluid. She is imprisoned in her house by her mother who is the leader of Tennouzu Group, the largest financial organization in Japan. When she met Saika in the secret club, she saves him and with his help, struggles to be free from her captors.
Although the main storyline and the two protagonists sound not very innovative, the anime has a very interesting concept about greed, money and revenge hidden all over. Suitengu, the main antagonist of the series, has been planning to take revenge on the prime minister and bankrupt the country because he believes that money and greed destroyed his family and his childhood. While Kagura, daughter of the richest woman in the country, suffers from imprisonment and starvation. The anime also tries to explore human secret desires and sins through the strange powers of the Euphorics. Another good quality of Speed Grapher is that it was action-packed enough to keep most viewers interested. And for the disappointing part, the animation quality falls far behind current standard of anime. It looks cheap and disturbingly jerky and sometimes it is completely static. The characters are badly drawn in numerous scenes that their faces look changed. Certain monsters look funny and are incompatible with the overall dark tone of the anime. I would have been devastated if I had watched Speed Grapher after finishing other more beautifully drawn anime such as Last Exile or Samurai 7. All these flaws makes me wonder if the studio ran out of budget during production.
Speed Grapher has good ideas, script and characters. It could have achieved greatness if someone had paid more attention to how the anime looks on screen. I have seen many animes that looks great but are hollow from the inside but in Speed Grapher’s case, it is vice versa. Conclusion: The sooner you can get over with the bad animation, the sooner you will enjoy the show.