Sunday, October 14, 2012

Speed Grapher

I’m starting to watch some new series which are beginning this month so hopefully soon I’ll have some newer series to blog about.  In the mean time I thought I’d post about Speed Grapher.

Speed Grapher is another one of those series with a unique plot that I just couldn’t resist following, mainly I think because I have a hard time quitting a series that I don’t know what’s going on.  The story follows two main characters, an ex-war-photographer named Saiga Tatsumi and a poor little rich girl named Tennouzu Kagura.  Kagura is abused both mentally and physically by her mother, who is the head of the very rich and powerful Tennozu Group.  Kagura's Mom cannot stand that her daughter is more beautiful than she is, so Mom starves Kagura and basically makes her life as miserable as possible.  On top of that Kagura is plagued by weird nightmares.
Saiga enters the story following a trail of money and corruption to a secret pleasure club where the rich and famous play both erotic and brutal games and where lives and careers are made and broken.   In this club, Kagura is a demi-god-like figure, and the night Saiga infiltrates it, she is there.  Saiga is caught and they try to kill him, but not before Kagura has kissed him which not only allows him to heal almost instantaneously but also gives him a power that makes things explode when he takes a picture of them.  He grabs Kagura and runs.

Kagura has no conscious memory of the time she spends at the secret club (thus the nightmares) and when she regains consciousness she asks Saiga to take her away from everything so she can be free.  Saiga agrees, and the two spend most of the rest of the series avoiding the Tennouzu minions and searching for the answer to their weird physical capabilities.  Leading the Tennouzu minions is a bad man named Suitengu Choji, who has been manipulating Kagura’s life and who has one ultimate goal, to own the world and then use money to destroy it.  He runs near the top of my ‘evil guys’ list, but when you find out his back story, you’re more sympathetic towards him.

Plot bottom line:  Kagura is the product of advanced genetic manipulation and her body produces a substance that reacts with a genetically created virus in other people and causes their DNA to mutate in any way they want it to.  A person has to be infected with the virus to begin with, but then if they come into contact with the substance from Kagura, they heal almost instantly, and they can mutate their bodies into essentially whatever form they wish.  Suitengu has been hypnotizing Kagura and using her kiss in the secret club as a way of bestowing favors on people who then owe him allegiance and use their powers for him.   Unfortunately, Kagura is dying from her genetic manipulation, and that will accelerate if she goes through puberty.  Suitengu-tachi have been suppressing her hormones, a fact which is unknown to Kagura and Saiga.  Also, once activated the mutational ability of the virus is finite.  Saiga will eventually go blind if he keeps using his ability.  

The story line is interesting enough that it kept me watching.  It’s not until late in the series that you find out Suitengu’s background, and also figure out why and how Saiga was infected with the virus to begin with.  There turn out to be a number of twists to the story line, which is one of the resons I enjoyed it.  I also enjoyed it because Kagura and Saiga end up surviving, with a happily ever after ending – or as happily ever after as can be expected.   I also liked the OP very well which was Duran Duran’s Girls on Film.  Unfortunately, for whatever reason the American release of the series does not use that OP.  They make up some instrumental version of some of the background music.  I’m assuming they couldn’t get permission to use Girls on Film or weren’t willing to pay the royalties.  Too bad really.   Other than that it’s a good series and I recommend it, especially if you like plot twists.   

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