Gravitation OVA: Lyrics of Love -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Nozomi Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 60
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Gravitation

Gravitation OVA: Lyrics of Love

By Chris Beveridge     September 07, 2005
Release Date: September 13, 2005

Gravitation OVA: Lyrics of Love
© Nozomi Entertainment

What They Say
ased on the best-selling graphic novel series by Maki Murakami, the Gravitation anime has been Rated one of the best romantic anime TITLES of all time (Anime Insider, 2003). As an all new story of the America's favorite shonen-ai couple from 2004's smash hit Gravitation TV Anime Series, this OVA series is eagerly awaited by fans throughout the anime community. Gravitation: Lyrics of Love will be flying off the shelves this summer!

America's favorite shonen-ai couple returns in an all new story!

Bad Luck's lead singer and lyricist, Shuichi Shindo, is a total wreck. With deadlines for the band's next album looming, the pressure is on, but the normally energetic Shuichi has become listless and fallen into a writing slump. It's all because Yuki – the great love of his life – has suddenly become cold and distant.

Depressed and anxious, Shuichi doesn't want to think about lyrics – he just wants to know how to get Yuki to talk to him!

Now, thanks to Shuichi's big mouth bragging to the press about how talented he is, the band can't even hire someone else to write the lyrics for them. If they don't manage to break Shuichi out of his slump soon, it could mean the end of Bad Luck for good!

Contains the entire OVA series!

PLUS! This disc includes a special Soundtrack-Only audio channel with a lyrics track!

The Review!
Before the TV series came out, a two-part love letter to the fans was made in the form of this OVA release.

For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. The stereo for it is pretty straightforward with a fair amount of directionality across the forward soundstage due to the weird antics of the characters and the way they are seemingly all over the place at times. The track does go back to a rather full sounding mix when it comes to the opening and ending sequences as well as the in-show songs and there isn't a lot of directionality there really but they sound good. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Originally released to video in 1999, the transfer for this two part OVA release is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. With this being one of those last shows that was done before digital techniques really started sweeping everything away, it has a bit of an older feel to it and a bit more rough around the edges. It's not a high class OVA series but rather the kind that was used to see if the show could fly in animated form at all. It does retain much of the look and feel of the manga though and is very enjoyable to look at, especially since I still feel like there's a certain kind of life that you can only get from things animated this way. Colors look good without much in the way of noticeable blocking, colors aren't overly vibrant but match the show nicely and overall this is a good looking print with only a few minor nicks and scratches here and there.

The cover illustration is really nice looking with both Shuichi and Yuki close together against a dark background while both of them are wearing simply button down shirts with thin ties. The way they're illustrated plays up their relationship just right while letting them look like attractive guys who know they've got it going. It's pure bishie here though so it's definitely marketed just right. The back cover has a few pieces of character artwork around the edges while the bulk of it is made up of a sheath of papers that has the summary of the shows premise and lists the discs features. The technical grid lists the details nicely and in an easy to read manner while the insert replicates the front cover artwork on one side and has an advertisement for all the Gravitation merchandise on the other. Matching the TV series releases, the cover has a reverse side to it that you can see through the clear plastic keepcase that has on one side artwork from a Bad Luck record that went triple platinum.

The menu layout is very simple as it takes the cover artwork and zooms out from it to provide more of the illustration of the two guys while having the concert as the background to it with green stage lights streaming out behind them. It's a good looking if simple menu but it works nicely and with the brief loop of vocal music it gets you into the swing of things pretty quickly. Access times are nice and fast and the layout very easy to navigate. The disc did not read our players language presets though and played in English with secondary subtitles.

The release has a good selection of extras to it. The first is a brief art gallery that has the original covers and some cute sketches and other bits to it. A pair of sneak previews for the episodes is included and they're both dubbed and subtitled. There's also a textless opening sequence and an alternate textless closing sequence. The liner notes cover some of the basics of the cultural bits or random oddities that show up in these episodes and there's also a very useful multi-page section on the differences between the anime OVA, TV and the manga. A producer's commentary was originally solicited to be on this release but there isn't one. An extra audio track is included though not in the extras section for the music with lyrics only.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Watching this OVA was a bit odd in a way because it's the "came first" part of the anime world, not that they're truly connected in a real sense. With the manga series popular and growing since its introduction in the mid 90's, Sony tested the waters according to the liner notes here with some audio dramas that went well. They then decided to make a two part OVA series that is "for the fans" in 1999 which is what we have here. That went over well enough for the TV series that followed in 2000 and interest is still riding high out there as I believe new audio works were produced in 2004 for it.

So having seen the TV series first and then this, it's interesting to see that other than a few things the OVAs really do feel like they could be a follow-up instead of a self-contained short story for the leads. Once you know the distinctions between the two it becomes much more evident but if you're a casual fan and just enjoy the show then it'll have that feel. The liner notes do a great job of listing the differences between the three formats and it's interesting to see what's kept in one, minimized in another or eliminated entirely elsewhere. What's definitely true though in my opinion is that the OVA series is much closer to the manga in style and humor and that it is going on the assumption that you are familiar with the cast as there are no real introductions here. This really is just made for the fans.

The storyline is fairly straightforward as we're in the midst of watching Shuichi hit his latest songwriting slump and he's just completely out of it. Yuki has been treating him coldly lately and it's affecting him all over like always. Never one to do things small, Shuichi's depressions and mood swings are highly dramatic. When he's like this, nothing gets done so everyone is in a panic since they're getting closer and closer to needing to put out the new record. With the knowledge that it's Yuki as the root cause, they try a couple of different things but for the most part Yuki just keeps his distance and is working on whatever his mystery project is.

As it turns out, he's writing a song for Nittle Grasper for their live appearance at the 99 World Music Festival in Tokyo as requested by Seguchi. When Shuichi learns of this it just sends him even further into a spiral since he can't believe the guy he loves would do that without writing something for him as well. It goes back and forth like this for a bit as everyone gets involved and tries to cheer up Shuichi and get him on the right path to writing again. The fun with the show is that it revolves around the frantic nature of getting things done at the last moment with people who are so "of the moment" themselves that nothing ever goes according to plan. But it's also these kinds of people that can pull off some of the most amazing things on the spot which makes it just as exhilarating and that's what we get here.

The fun isn't so much in the story but in the characters and for fans of the manga it just feels like they really just animated Maki's pages at times and just went with it. It's a lot more manic, a lot more wild but about the same level in the boys-love arena. There are a lot of wild takes and character deformations and fun that works well with the characters and their already over the top nature. Some of the best fun is watching Sakuma play around like he always does, from the Kumagoro's that are useful at the most inopportune times to the way he hopped around in a giant speaker. The show has it's corny moments as well which are mostly made up of the English language sections at the beginning and end of the story that was in the original and some of the moments between Yuki and Shuichi are comical, but that's part of the appeal of their relationship in that it's incredibly high maintenance for both of them.

In Summary:
I loved the manga and I really enjoyed the TV series so it's little surprise that this comes in right in between the two of them. It truly is a love letter to fans of the manga but it works out in that fans worldwide can get into it since the TV series has come out before it and that makes this OVA far more accessible than it would have been otherwise. Even though it came first, it works best as coming out last right now and serves as a great little send-off and reminder of just how much fun this property really is. As Seguchi says at the end, it's all about Gravitation.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles, Liner Notes, Art Gallery,Anime vs. Manga Comparison, Gravitation "Sneak Peeks" 1 & 2, Textless Opening, Textless Closing for Episode 1

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Zenith DVB-318 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player via DVI, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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