Gungrave vol 1 - Beyond the Grave

UK Distributor:  MVM (DVD Only)

BBFC Certificate:  15

Suggested Retail Price (SRP):  £19.99

Episodes:  1-4 (of 26)

Audio Options:  Japanese DTS, English 5.1, Japanese 2.0

Subtitles:  English

Reviewer:  Tom (Webmaster)


Before I begin I begin this review I will be honest - my expectations for Gungrave are high.  Having enjoyed Trigun (Gungrave's design work is by the creator) and playing the fun and action-packed PS2 game, I am expecting a lot.  I thought it would be best to mention this as I know it may prove unfair on this series but I am afraid it cannot be helped - Gungrave has a lot to live up to and I find it unlikely it will live up to them.  My expectations are of Phantom Menace standards after all.  Anyway, I shall now watch it and will be back straight after with the review. 

* watches Gungrave *

Well that was not what I was expecting.  Not that it was bad but just different to what I was expecting for more reasons then you may expect.  Firstly it was far more focused on past events and flashbacks then I expected and this caused me to take an instant dislike to Gungrave as I have always found flashback tiresome but thankfully I did not find this with the flashbacks in Gungrave as they were presented as a vital part of the story as opposed to the usual drop-in plot that they are.  Secondly the series is far more plot driven then the PS2 game or the write-up would suggest.  Even though the series would never contain as much action as the game as they are very different media, I was still expecting the plot to focus around fights rather then talking.  On reflection this is for the best though as I realise that with just fights going on Gungrave would be too similar to the post-apocalyptic travesty that is Fist Of The Star.  So no bad thing that Gungrave is plot driven then and it is certainly a good plot, one which I was never certain exactly how it would develop as it has many twists and turns which ensure that it is not just your run-of-mill dramatic actioner but something much more.  Gungrave contains some real edge of your seat moments (particularly episode three) which had me hooked and eager for the next volume. 

Character-wise Gungrave delivers by incorporating an interesting cast which I felt I never quite had the measure of as they are not just the usual blend of generic action characters but complex individuals who could easily be good or bad.  Gungrave exceeded my expectations once again as I was expecting a brainless hero who was fighting for the usual reasons, along with the usual useless sidekicks (considering some of the rubbish 80's sounding names like Brandon Heat) but this was not the case.  Every character has a role to play in this promising start to what could be a surprise hit after it has lived up to my expectations, albeit much differently to how I originally expected it to. 

Bottom line is that you should buy this as it is different to all the other dramatic actioners out there and makes a good alternative to Stand Alone Complex if you want action with a bit of depth but no sci-fi. 


Back To Reviews Archive