Just finished Gungrave, probably the only exception I've ever seen to simultaneously the videogame adaptions suck rule and the source material is always better rule. Through and through the anime managed to nail whatever emotion/atmosphere it tried for while delivering some of the greatest characters and development I've seen in anime. It starts off as a mafia story, rife with themes from the genre done extremely well. Throughout which you're introduced to an organization and a pair of street punks whose journey through the ranks and the hardships they face along the way is the focus. As I've only seen done a few times before it expresses the iron code of loyalty and honor of the mob in a way that doesn't leave you questioning why everyone allows themselves to be bound by such rules, but sympathizing with them over an understanding of the rules existence. It's a beautifully tragic backstory that most certainly could've stood on its own without the rest of the anime. Ironically however, the anime is then held back from perfection by it's own concept, since as an adaptation of an action shooty game it needs to eventually get to adapting the game material. This is where the anime starts to go a bit off the rails into a paranormal/sci-fi slugfest that at times starts to wear you down with what I think to be somewhat tedious battles with uninteresting monster creatures, which aren't particularly the best in the animation department.
My favorite aspect of the anime was most likely how the characters aren't portrayed as caricatures, they're all humans with their own motivations and logic. Instead of forcing contrived moral quandaries on the viewer it allows you to develop an understanding of each character so when they act, their actions fall in line with what makes sense for them. The anime is aware of this and so after it comes time to actually adapt the video game, the action spectacle is mostly supplanted by character drama that which uses the former half of the anime to make the fights all the more impactful. Although the tone and theme changes for the worse in this half, I'd still say that the strengths of the anime like drama and character are still present throughout this arc, only hampered by the fact it has to somewhat follow the game. My only real issue with a character was Mika at first since she annoyed me a bit, but eventually I came along to accepting her as a protagonist.
And that's it, perfect first-half and still good second hPost too long. Click here to view the full text.