Review of Speed Grapher (2005)

Moving picture, 11 hours

A disillusioned journalist and assorted friends array themselves against a massive conglomerate with ties to the rotten heart of a near-future libertarian Japan. At a decadent party for the elite, our hero catches a virus that warps the thing he does best: Instead of taking pictures, he now causes explosions wherever his camera is focused when the shutter opens. Many of his new enemies are similarly cursed, but they enjoy it more.

Dark formulaic superhero action and horror, with political sentiment and some unusual tricks. The fate of the adorable ballerina in episode 1 is unfortunately not a good indication of the general level of transgression ahead, though the diamond lady comes pretty close. Similarly, a massive weakening of Japan—apparently in favour of Europe—and the permanent blinding of the hero come too late to pass as major plot elements, which is a shame since the current ending could have been moved forward if some boring throwaway baddies in mid-series hadn’t happened. Very repetitive BGM, pretty bad animation, and odd choices of initial music to the credits: a Duran Duran classic to the opening and a Yukawa Shione number that sounds a lot like Kaku Wakako to the first half’s ending.

moving picture animation Japanese production fiction series