episode 1 - Gravitation
The episode opens with shots of a boy running through Tokyo and humming, but quickly cuts to an interview between a reporter and a band called ASK, who are discussing their new album. The reporter then comments to the band's apparent producer, introduced as Seguchi Tohma, that they seem good, and asks about their upcoming concert, and the support band, Bad Luck. The scene then shifts to two men who are evidently standing around waiting for someone - one of the men appears to be Sakano, Tohma's subordinate in charge of Bad Luck. The boy who we have seen earlier runs up and greets them enthusiastically, and the other man reproaches him for being late. Sakano is 'upset' (to put it mildly!) that Shuichi has not finished the lyrics for the song they were meant to be showing to the company president, though Shuichi seems unconcerned. Later, the other man, now introduced as Hiro and another member of Bad Luck, and Shuichi sit in a cafe, and it emerges that Shuichi is having problems finishing the lyrics. Hiro recommends Shuichi finding a temporary girlfriend so he can relax, and then urges him not to worry about the problem. Shuichi, however, is worried that his hard work and commitment may not be enough to make them a success.
Later that evening, Shuichi is walking through a park when the wind blows a copy of the unfinished lyrics into the hands of a strange and handsome man. Who reads them, promptly proceeds to verbally rip them to shreds, saying Shuichi has zero talent and should give up, before walking off.
The next day, Sakano attempts to commit ritual suicide out of a ground floor window, because the lyrics are still unfinished. Shuichi tells Hiro and Sakano that he's depressed because of what the strange man said about the lyrics - at which both Sakano and Hiro wonder why he should care. Shuichi is worried that, like the man said, he has no talent, and also doesn't like the fact that the other man seemed to have taken an intense dislike to him at first sight. Hiro advises him to forget it, but Shuichi says he can't - because the man was so handsome...
Walking home in the rain that evening, Shuichi sees a foreign car and recognises the driver as the man from the previous night. He practically throws himself in front of the car, forcing the man to stop and getting himself soaked in the process, and the man is forced to take him back to his apartment to dry off. He does so with a very bad grace, and says that he doesn't remember Shuichi at all - although he eventually admits he does, since he could never forget such a bad poem.
Presumably the next day, and the President is in conference with Bad Luck's producer. Tohma refuses to give Bad Luck any more support, saying that ASK is a more profitable proposition. However, at this point Shuichi bursts into the office (literally, making a huge hole in the door) and announces that he has finished the lyrics. Sakano, Hiro and Shuichi go to listen to the new song, and while Sakano struggles with the MD player, Hiro and Shuichi talk. Shuichi says that he only finished the lyrics because he wanted to prove a point to the stranger, and Hiro asks the identity of the mysterious man - and is shocked when Shuichi admits he doesn't even know. Hiro asks Shuichi whether he 'likes' the stranger, since all he does is talk about him, and although Shuichi blusters about it, Hiro assures him that it's all right - and that he ought to try to find him. Meanwhile Sakano, still struggling with the technology, stumbles across a channel that is showing an interview with the mysterious man - who is revealed as the romance author Yuki Eiri. As Sakano finally gets 'The Rage Beat' to play for the first time, Shuichi runs to Eiri's apartment.
At the apartment, Shuichi is discovered by Eiri as he comes out, just as a pretty woman walks out after him. Eiri drapes himself over Shuichi, explains coldly to the woman that he is spending the day with the boy, and whispers even more coldly to Shuichi that he'll kil him unless he plays along. The woman walks off looking hurt, at which point Eiri lets go of Shuichi and walks off, commenting that Shuichi should be happy - after all, doesn't he 'like' him? Shuichi challenges Eiri to come to Bad Luck's concert and hear the song, but Eiri says coldly that he doesn't have a thing for boys, and walks inside. Shuichi follows him, and eventually catches up with him in the lift. He proceeds to harangue the older man, asking why he behaves so horribly. Eventually Eiri turns round to him, backs him into a corner and asks what Shuichi wants from him - before giving the shocked Shuichi a full-on kiss.
Well, since it's the first episode, I probably should say something about the titles - namely that I absolutely adore them. Cute shots of all the main cast, interspersed with real world shots, and with the great Gravi theme music behind. Really sets the scene well for the show.
I can't be quite so enthusiastic about the opening - what's with all the live action pictures? I suppose they're meant to show that Gravi is a 'real world' show, grounded in reality - though I think that's rather a fallacy considering how damn weird a lot of it is. Still, these shots only appear here, so I don't fault it too much. Something I missed first time round is that Shuichi is humming the end title music 'Glaring Dream' over this scene - the song he's currently engaged in writing the lyrics for, despite the fact that most of this ep seems to focus on 'The Rage Beat'.
As you've probably noticed, I used Eiri rather than Yuki throughout this summary, although Shuichi consistantly calls him Yuki. People who've seen the later episodes will understand the reasons for this. And speaking of Eiri - *sigh* It's really a shame he's so unutterably cool and gorgeous, because he really is a *total* bastard. I don't think he says a single nice thing for the whole of at least the first three episodes. He snubs Mika, he victimises Shuichi - if he wasn't the hero he'd make quite a marvellous villain.
Pretty much all the characters fall almost immediately straight into the roles they will fill in the rest of the series. We have Shuichi, sweet, a little naive, enthusiastic and out-going. We have Hiro, the occasionally teasing but always kind and supportive best friend, the voice of sense and pragmetism in Bad Luck. We have Sakano, who is neurotic (and perhaps slightly psychotic?) but also sensitive and kind. A lot of people find Sakano very irritating, and I can see a certain amount of where they're coming from - he spends more time SD and in tears than any other character apart from Shuichi, and tries to commit ritual suicide in his second appearance - but I also rather sympathise with him. I know for a fact that if Shuichi hadn't got the lyrics done and I was the producer I'd be the first to panic. We get a couple of nice cameo shots of Tohma too, which illustrate especially well the two sides of his personality - while he's often very sweet and his external appearance makes him look about twelve, he's also a decisive and effective businessman. More on the two sides of Tohma below...
All in all, it's a nice episode, and a good introduction to the series. Though I am a little confused about the changes of song in this ep - the lyrics Shuichi is carrying in the park seem to be for 'Glaring Dream', the end title song, yet the one he triumphantly announces he finished because of Eiri is 'The Rage Beat'. Whoops, black mark against the continuity people I think...
Favourite lines and scenes
For the insight into Tohma, I like the brief scene with Sakano towards the end. At the opening of the scene, he's speaking in a kindly manner with Ryuichi on the phone, but the minute he turns to Sakano, he goes into full business mode:
SAKANO: Boss -
TOHMA: I will not approve it.
TOHMA: I will keep my concentration on ASK. That is the most productive way.
SAKANO: I know that but still -
TOHMA: (harshly) Sakano-san! (pause.) (Tohma smiles beautifully) I'm sorry.
*shivers* That scene just gives me chills. So very Tohma.
I've also got to comment on Hiro's classic use of pocky in a mildly suggestive manner, and the hilariously shoujo scene with him and Shuichi and the pastel coloured blobs. *sniggers*
And I should also admit that when I first saw the scene in the lift at the end I squeaked like the pathetic yaoi fangirl I am. Yes, so I'm shallow, sue me.