» Review: Gravitation DVD Vol. 1

The following is my report on the Gravitation DVD Volume 1, titled "Fateful First Encounter." I realize that Gravitation fans, myself included, cannot very well review Gravitation DVDs without being biased. So, I've attempted to make this report as unbiased as I can be. I report facts, and tried to keep some of my opinions out of it. Enjoy. ^_^

Creativity - 5/5
I have to hand it to RightStuf, they have been very very creative with the first Gravitation DVD. Some of the backdrop they have are very cute and inventive. Allow me to name a few instances. From the FBI warning (first thing you see), it's accompanied by K with a gun, which I found very fitting. The main menu features Yuki and Shuichi, with a lively backdrop and lights gleaming pleasantly in the background. The background music is about 50 seconds of the beginning of Sleepless Beauty, on repeat. From the main menu you may select "Play," "Episodes," "Exclusive," and "Setup."

The Episodes section lets you pick certain scenes to start off of, pretty standard with any DVD. The backdrop of this section is probably what I find the most creative. It features a wall of TVs from the scene in a later episode, where The Rage Beat is playing on all the TVs in a store. There are people standing by the windows, looking at the show. The scene selections are available on 4 of the center TVs. The background music is the beginning 40 seconds of Super Drive.

See Extras below.

The backdrop here features the inside of a recording studio. Here you can choose between Japanese audio with english subtitles, or English audio with onscreen text (for song lyrics). Interestingly enough, the default is Japanese audio, which makes many rabid fans happy. :P

Overall, I found it all very entertaining. I can't find much wrong in the creative aspect at all. Everything is clear-cut, good quality, no glitches. The translations are mostly accurate. The only times they stray from accuracy is for the sake of lip-synching. There were only a couple of differences, which I will cover in another section below.

Voices: 4/5
Ok, yes, everyone wonders the most about this part, and zero in on this part the most. But I do have to say, don't blow it out of proportion, because it's not nearly as bad. On the contrary, this may be the best dubbed anime I've ever owned or heard. But lets not delay anymore, shall we?

I will start by saying that basically every single character's voice in here is lower than the original. This is to be expected though.

While a couple notches lower than the original, his voice was fine. It's also not as sinister at times.

I was anticipating him the most, since his voice has got to be one of the hardest to do in Gravi. It turned out alright. Soft, mellow, and firm at times. Although also a few notches lower than the original, I think his voice actor did a fantastic job.

Another one of the hardest voices to do. His voice resembled the original the most only when he was depressed or sad. His genki voice could not be achieved, but you can give him credit for trying. While he does not have as much variation in emotional outbursts as Seki Tomokazu, he can be very cute at times. Overall, he did a good job.

Without a doubt, his voice is the BEST in the entire cast. I was simply amazed and stunned at his performance. Sakano most closely resembles his original voice, whether he was overly emotional or not. I love his "What the hell are you doing!!!" line. :) Honestly, I give an A+ for this voice actor. Brilliantly done!

He probably comes in 2nd at closely resembling the original voice. I have no complaints with him. Hiro's voice is pretty mellow most of the time anyway. :P

Also very close in resembling his original voice. However, some may complain that he's a bit too monotone. Yuki's voice actor doesn't do as much variation in his snappy insults. If you'll notice the japanese version, Yuki's sentence can start monotone and end in a clenching-teeth growl that'll stop you in your tracks. The dubbed voice actor sort of fails in that aspect.

~_~. Well, again pushing bias aside, his voice was several notches lower than the adorable voice of Yamaguchi Kappei. This in turn makes him several times less cute. He more or less pulls it off at the airport, but overall I wasn't pleased with his performance.

Erk. Again, several notches lower and failing to achieve the original K's somewhat sly, hint-sarcastic voice. He sounds a bit monotone as well. Overall, he didn't speak much. Hopefully he'll do better in the upcoming DVDs.

Low but still managing to sound young. He can be a bit too mellow at times, sounding less excited than he should be. Otherwise, he's ok as well.

Mika's voice was fine, although the bartender pronounced her name wrong in the 2nd episode. A few differences I also noticed were: Shuichi was humming Super Drive in the very beginning, whereas in the Japanese version, he was humming Glaring Dream. "La li ho" was changed to "Hiya!," and everybody pronounced Ryuichi with too much emphasis on the "ichi" part. I found that a bit strange, since they pronounced Shuichi's name right. Ryuichi is exactly the same, except the 'Shu' is now a 'Ryu.' That shouldn't have changed the pronounciation of the latter part. ~_~ I hope this is fixed in the later DVDs.

Extras: 5/5
The Exclusive section contains "Behind the Scenes - art gallery," "Hot New Release Picks," "See the US Debut Video," "Meet Bad Luck," and "The Inside Track." The backdrop is one where Yuki is reading a magazine with Shuichi on the cover, along with these sections. Sleepless Beauty serves as the background music once again, except this time it's about 20 seconds of the middle part. "Behind the Scenes - art gallery" features black and white sketches only, some from the TV Artbook, some never before seen images of Hiro's motorcycle and Yuki's car. "Hot New Release Picks" features 6 previews of other anime, with excerpts of Sleepless Beauty Snake Bite Mix as the background music. "See the US Debut Video" is very cute, starting off slow and building up to The Rage Beat. Music makes all the difference. ^_^ "Meet Bad Luck" features a simulation backdrop of the inside of a magazine. The background music of choice this time, is a variation of Super Drive Pure Silence Mix. This section contains 1 page regarding each member of Bad Luck. I just found it a bit odd that they kept on referring to Suguru by his last name, Fujisaki. Though, now that I think about it, the japanese version doesn't use his first name often either. Finally, "The Inside Track - Liner Notes," featuring some background information on Gravitation. This section is by far the most interesting section in Exclusives, at least to me. ^_^ You will receive info on ASK's names, the folktale of "Urashima-taro," which Shuichi references to when he tells Hiro he "saved a turtle being bullied by kids." You also receive information about Zepp Tokyo, why Kumagoro was changed to "Mr.Bear," etc. etc. Overall, very informative. There's even a short clip after episode 3, featuring the Sumo Wrestlers scene around episode 12 (where Shu lost his voice). RightStuf had used this clip to credit the DVD producers and managers behind the making of this DVD. I loved this scene as well, simply marvelous and very creative.

Overall: 14/15
Gravitation is an amazing anime, and probably one of the harder ones to dub because of all the crazy characters. The voices had to have a wide range of emotions, the right amount of genki and hype. I give credit to all the voice actors for trying their hardest to make the DVD sound as close to the original as possible without switching to female voice actresses. It's understandable that most voices were so low, since half of the Gravi seiyuu are females. I found this volume to be worth every penny I bought it for. RightStuf has definitely done their job well. I am satisfied. ^^

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