» Track 12 Analysis

Although Gravitation is primarily characterized as a comedy and shounen-ai, it does have its ambiguity, and the majority of it appears in episodes 12 and 13. Episode 12 causes all sorts of grief for fans, as they are always confused about several different events that happen in the episode. Why does Ryuichi purposefully ignore Shuichi? Does that cause Shuichi to lose his voice? How did he get it back? Much of it I believe depends on the viewer's interpretation of it. Alas, I shall explain my view of it.

At the beginning of the series, Bad Luck's primary goal was to be as good as Nittle Grasper; you could think of it as "in NG's league," per se. Towards the end of the series, it becomes plain that the members of Bad Luck wishes to surpass Nittle Grasper. In episode 12, Suguru states that Nittle Grasper is within Bad Luck's reach, and Bad Luck should not lose the chance to surpass them. By this time, Shuichi had lost Yuki for good, as he had left all of his belongings, signifying that he had no need for them. He gives Shuichi the key to his apartment, which Shuichi interprets to mean that like his belongings, Yuki never thought of Shuichi as someone or something that he needs. This conclusion, along with the possibility of surpassing Nittle Grasper, and living up to everyone (K, Tohma, the fans)'s expectations, leaves Shuichi with immense pressure. Dispite this, Shuichi continues on with Bad Luck's production and realizes that he cannot rely on Yuki and Hiro everytime he needed help. By now, his goal is to surpass Sakuma Ryuichi, his biggest rival in the music industry to date. What drives Shuichi to be his best was to become as good as Ryuichi, now the drive comes solely from wanting to be better than Ryuichi.

Ryuichi becomes serious in the room watching Shuichi's performance, and proclaims that Bad Luck will not reach NG. This may be because he sees that Bad Luck has not yet reached its full potential. As a professional vocalist, Ryuichi recognizes when a fellow vocalist or band has reached their full potential, and Bad Luck hasn't yet. Ryuichi wants Shuichi to be his best. Yet he sees that Shuichi hasn't reached his best yet. So basically, as Ryuichi passes Shuichi and company, he refuses to speak to or even look at Shuichi because he's disappointed (shall we say even mad?) at him. For Shuichi, this is the breaking point. All this time, he had been pushing himself forward, without Yuki's presence, without Hiro's help. He has been managing it for a while and keeping up with the pace, but his inner stress and tension had been compiling up. Shuichi lost his voice not only signifies overwhelming stress, but it's also symbolic of Shuichi needing to find his true potential. The most important thing to a vocalist is his voice, and without his voice he is no longer a vocalist. The symbolism resides in that if Shuichi can't find his true potential as a vocalist, he has no reason to get his voice back. To Ryuichi, Shuichi, K, and NG Productions as a whole, there is no point in being a vocalist if one is not going to reach his best. To be in the competitive world of the music industry, a vocalist can't go half way, and NG does not support vocalists half-heartedly. Bad Luck is one of the only bands that Ryuichi and NG actually supports, meaning they definitely have potential. If Ryuichi wants them to succeed, he has his own ways of doing that. Whether or not the band gets his hints (he's very subtle at showing the hints) is up to them, and it's just like another test. Since it seemed that Shuichi had just lost Yuki for real this time, so he really needs to get back on his feet and get his act together. I suppose in a way Ryuichi was afraid that Shuichi wouldn't be able to pull himself together. Either way, he wants Shu to succeed, even if he has to be a bit manipulative and mysterious in his way of doing it. :P

As for the followup in Track 13, Ryuichi realizes that the reason for Shuichi's shine comes solely from Yuki. All of his love songs are aimed at his lover, therefore he cannot sing well without his lover's presence. Thus, the only way Shuichi could get his voice back is for him to go find his reason to shine: Yuki. As soon as Shuichi realizes this (and finishes Glaring Dream in the process), he has his voice back. Shu couldn't have done this without help from Ryuichi, for he was the one who drew Shuichi 'shining' and let him know that, to be able to reach his fullest potential, Shu must find his shine, and his shine is Yuki. Now that the solution is plain, Shuichi goes to New York, finds Yuki, reveal his feelings and return home in time for one last song. Shuichi has finally succeeded in his goal.


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