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The Picture Perfect ROSSMAN

If you were a big shot Hollywood exec and I was a lowly script-monkey, and you demanded that I brought you the "next big thing by Monday" or you would chop my balls off and then fire me, and then I brought you the following pitch, what would you think? Here's the pitch: "Okay, see, the mood is really dark and menacing and there's this guy, and he likes taking pictures, see, but the thing he likes most is taking pictures of people dying. So he's always going to war zones, see, but one time while back in Japan after a war he comes across this secret society where everybody wears Carnivale-themed masks, see, and the society is based around this scantily clad high school girl who kisses new members, see, and if the new members are lucky then they get these magical powers from the kiss, see, and then they go on to help rule Japan from the shadows. But the photographer accidentally ruins someone's initiation, see, and HE gets kissed, and then HE finds out that he got some magical power... The power to make things die by taking their picture! Huh? Huh? So, what do ya think?"

Would you think I was A). Crazy, B). Desperate, C). A genius, or D). Stark raving mad? Oh, I forgot to throw in the fact that there should be an exorbitant amount of disturbing violence and sex peppered throughout the series too that would make Quentin Tarrantino and Jenna Jameson blush. I think that last bit would raise me from being "crazy" to an almost "godlike genius" myself. Especially after seeing the final result in action. That final result being, of course, the anime series Speed Grapher. Thank goodness the Japanese aren't as short sighted as the average starch-shirted, anal retentive, mongoloid, Hollywood big shot, who would have stopped this project with a bullet to the brain of the guy who proposed it. Fuck you, Hollywood. And bless you, horny and disturbed Japan.

Beyond the quick synopsis I've given above I've left out a lot of subdetails regarding the plot. Let's back up, storyline wise. At the beginning of the show, the world is recovering from a terrible war. The outcome of which was that the rich now rule everything, and the poor just exist... Even more so than today. The rich though become even greedier and stupider than they are now. All they care about is more. More wealth, more carnal desire, more sick and twisted entertainment. Enter Suitengu, the man with the plan. Suitengu starts up the secret society that ALL the richies want to be a part of. At each elaborate underground (literally underground) meeting the rich have their every desire catered too... Some even get the special kiss from the maiden that I talked about above. This isn't a kinky kiss (there's tons of whores and shit for the richies to get kinky with, and this girl's too valuable for that), but it is one exchange of bodily fluids that bears massive repercussions. Due to some biological-chemical-physical-mutation (eh, it's made clear in the show, I'm just too busy to look it up) the receiver of the special kiss gets their "dream" made true... Well, sort of. See, these are mostly rich, stupid and greedy fucks getting their wishes made reality, and since they can buy pretty much anything they want already, what they usually get are physical mutations that allow them to either become something that they desire (like the stupid rich bitch who loves diamonds, so she becomes a living diamond-person, or the gay dancer who wants to be able to move like rubber, and so he finds he can... etc.), or they get mutations that allow them to hurt or kill others (apparently all rich people are sadists to the highest degree). Goddamn richies!

So Suitengu starts up this society, then the photographer guy, Saiga, crashes the party, gets kissed by the girl with the power-giving powers, Kagura, gets his powers to kill/explode things through his camera lens, and then kidnaps the girl and kills a bunch of richies as he makes his break for freedom. Then the chase begins. This is a multi-angled chase too. Suitengu's boys are after Saiga and Kagara; Saiga and Kagara are after relics of both their pasts; and Saiga's domineering S&M fuck buddy, police detective Ginza, is after her boytoy in order to keep him all to herself. Then the show becomes a bit like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon in that it becomes "He's got the sword.. Now the other guy has the sword.... Now he's got it back again... No, wait, now somebody else has the sword!" Only instead of "sword" I mean "weak-willed, rich, little, persecuted, teenage girl named Kagara." It doesn't get tedious, and quite frankly it does advance the plot; it just seems like they could have done something more interesting. Whatever. It's just, wow, really strange to make this show seem somewhat normal in this review. Because it is as bizarro a show as one could imagine. Strange. Very strange. Imagine watching Terry Gilliam's Brazil or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas for the first time when you're 3 years old, and that's kind of like what this show is like to an adult with the mind of a child (i.e. me and people like me).

Anyway, it is very interesting (and sometimes outright cool) to see some of the trappings and blessings that Saiga's new abilities of "shoot to kill" give to him. The writers were very creative in giving him villains that seemed to be immune to his powers, and then even more creative in finding ways for him to overcome his initial shortcomings. Saiga isn't an idiot. He's pretty fucking smart. He's like James Bond mixed with Scott Summers. He's smart, he can outthink his pretty intelligent foes, and he can blow shit up just by pointing and clicking. Beyond the cool mutant abilities, the other thing this show has going for it is that it is even dirtier than Ikkitousen... Yeah, I know what that means, but it's true. It's really filthy, both in violence and in sex. And you're just left sitting there thinking "holy fuck! Did they just show that?.... I don't know if I'm disgusted or in awe..." It'd be like fucking a really hot chick, doing every position listed in the Kama Sutra, and then having some bad ass ninja flip down from the ceiling and slice her head off while she was doing you in the reverse cowgirl style (she was a total bitch, so don't feel bad for her). You're all like "HOLY GODDAMN!!! Ahhhh!!! Disgusting!... But oh man that ninja was fucking smooooooth!" It's hard to get your thoughts straight.

Here's a list of other cool things in this show that I've just jumbled together because if I talked about each of them individually this review would go on for days: The opening song and animation (well, up till halfway through the series the opening animation is just recycled shit from the show, but from the middle of the series till the end it is the coolest originally animated opening EVER) are so damn sweet; The music is Duran Duran's Girls on Film, and the animation is so well timed to it and so smooth it will just make you rewind and watch it several times before each episode; The strangeness of the whole plot is so bizarre (yet fresh) you just can't stop watching, even if you can't figure out just what the fuck is going on; Suigetsu's reasons for doing what he's doing, and his well-laid-out master plan are just perfect -- at one point you actually start rooting for him; Detective Ginza and Saiga's doctor friend were some of the coolest sub-characters ever; and finally the ending is exactly what it needed to be. It's big and powerful, and it doesn't cop out on the viewer in the least. It's world changingly huge, and it doesn't pretend that everything that happened previously was a dream or unnecessary in the least. And I just love the use of the US of A in the end of the entire story. Rock on.

What did I think of Speed Grapher? Cut-ass rugged. Wicked awesome. The kick to the pants that the Japanese animation industry needed. A cool retelling of the Count of Monte Cristo's revenge tale, where the Count is not the main character. I give it 10 out of 10 spurts of bodily fluid. The only thing that kind of sucked about the show was the animation budget. The character designs are likeable enough, but it's choppy and sometimes there are minutes where there is no movement at all. Amazing what they were able to do though with such a small budget, and it's not really all that majorly distracting... But it is noticeable.


The Graphing JAIME

So I guess money IS everything. Almost all of the people in this show were bought off by the rich people. That was kind of sad to me. Is that where we're going as a society? In the future will we be able to buy people off if they have a legitimate complaint about our aristocracy or a certain person or corporation? I mean, why can't we have that NOW? Lord knows I could use the cash. I have expenses that my secretarial job just can't handle, you know. Like, I NEED my daily masseuse.. And my weekly manicure.... And my $400 a month stylist... And my dog needs those things too. Scruffy's a man's dog, no doubt, but he's got a lot of stress in his life. If only I could see something that I shouldn't, something illegal done by a rich snob, you know, and then confront the person who did it and get paid off with diamonds and pearls and cold hard cash! Ka-Ching!

This was a really strange animation, but it wasn't bad. I give it a thumb up.


The Speedy CHI-CHI

Seriously.... What the FUCK?! This was the most bizarre and confusing thing since the Rossman signed me up for Oprah's mailing list and then convinced me that I did it because I was really a woman. What was going on in this show? So that guy with the camera always had those powers since he was in that war with the long-haired man? But what about all those other people who got powers? It's obvious that they were not in the war too... So, like what the fuck? Oh, and don't get me started with all the politics and monetary shit that was going on at the end there? Just how did all that stuff work out like that again? Did the US really blow it all up? (Note From the Rossman: If Chi-Chi thought THIS was confusing, I better keep him away from the Ghost in the Shell SAC series one and two.... Dude'll have an aneurysm trying to sort all that crap out)

Okay, I DID in fact like all the sex and stuff, but what was up with making that magic girl an underager? That was kind of creepy. Is that what the "grapher" in Speed Grapher stands for? PornoGRAPHER? I don't know. Unless the Rossman promises that the next thing I get to review is a Vietnamese whore, I think I'm out of the biz.

I have to give this show a thumb down. It just made me feel all strange and retarded there. So fucked up.