Gungrave – Throwback Thursday

Gungrave – Throwback Thursday

Oh boy are you in for a treat today’s Throwback Thursday posting. For those of you that have never heard of Gungrave, it’s a wild anime that came out back in 2003 and follows the life of Brandon Heat and his best friend Harry MacDowel, and while those may sound like porn star aliases, they are in fact members of the organized crime syndicate, Millennion. Taking place in the crime ridden city of Billion, with the first 3/4ths of the show 13 years before the last segment, we truly see the evolution of our main characters as they ascend the ranks from simple street thugs to leading the massive organization.

Gungrave Banner.jpg

The show starts off with a quick vision of a horrible future, and a beautiful young woman named Mika Asagi being hunted by monstrous zombie like creatures referred to as orgmen. After awakening, a massive, one-eyed man that appears as a mix between Vash the Stampede and Alucard from Hellsing begins opening fire upon these creatures, obliterating them. Shattering them in the stone we find that this man’s name is Brandon Heat and we are treated to a pseudeo-jazzy OP much like a chill version of the OP for Cowboy Bebop. We then find out that Brandon is now referred to as Beyond The Grave, and has undergone a process to become a Necro-Rise, somewhere between a zombie and Captain America’s super soldier process.

Gungrave Grave.jpg

We then jump back many years in the past where Brandon and Harry were part of a small four man crew based out of a cafe run by their friend Jolice. The city of Billion is a terrible place to live, filled with corruption and gang violence, the guys are just trying to enjoy their life as best they can. Things of course can’t go well and the group beat the local gang leader, bringing unwanted heat upon them. Things are all laughs until the mafia enforcer, Deed goes and kills Jolice and the other three members of Brandon and Harry’s crew. They are saved by the Millennion sweeper, Bear Walken, and take their retribution upon the gang leader who ruined their ideal life. Thus ends the innocent chapter of these young men’s lives and thrusts them into a life of crime and suffering.

Gungrave BFFs.jpg

Brandon and Harry become more and more ingrained in Millennion, starting out working for low level but eventually branching out based on their abilities and specializations. Brandon collects debts for bookies while Harry rises through the ranks, seeking to become a member of “the Family” which is the inner circle of Millennion. Eventually Brandon too gains renown by taking a bullet to the chest to save Big Daddy, the charismatic older head of Millennion.

Gungrave Brandon Pre-Death.jpg
Not gonna lie, he’s pretty damn sexy

After 5 years, Brandon has become a top sweeper, with Harry also climbing the ranks to the point a bounty is placed on his head, with the capable assassin Bunji Kugashira being stopped and agreeing to joining Millennion after Brandon defeats him. Around this time, Harry finds out about a project that turns the dead into super soldiers. After Bear Walken’s elite squad of Overkills fight off the super soldier, Brandon delivers the final blow and we move on another 3 years into the future. At this point, Brandon hasn’t seen Maria in all this time and Bear bequeathed his daughter Sherry to Harry, who had become infamous for performing purges to expose traitors to Millennion that violated the “Code of Iron,” that stipulated that anyone who betrays the organization bust be put to death. Harry is then overlooked for succession from Big Daddy and after tearfully revisiting their old friend’s graves, recommends to Brandon that he kill Big Daddy, so Brandon can have Maria and he could take the organization. Brandon takes offense to the notion and strikes his best friend who snaps at his perceived betrayal. He then shoots Brandon in the left eye and multiple times in the chest until his body falls from an elevator.

Gungrave Still BFFs.jpg

Jump 13 years into the future and Harry has now ascended to the position of head of Millennion, ruling with an iron fist and obtaining the nickname “Bloody” Harry. Bunji has taken mentor’s True Grave team and renamed it the Kugashira Group while Harry’s lieutenants have all become high ranking individuals as well. Gunning through these lieutenants including Bunji and Bear, Grave finds himself finding Harry in the ruins of Jolice’s old cafe. Fighting back to back against a splinter faction of Millennion who are using the violence to overthrow Harry the two erst while friends fight off the opponents taking numerous fatal wounds. Finally the two agree to shoot each other and the show ends with honestly one of the most touching and tragic scenes in anime.

Gungrave Future.jpg

All things considered, from this era we had such amazing shows as Outlaw Star, Cowboy Bebop, and Trigun with all of the above and Gungrave having a very similar feel but being unique enough worlds that you could enjoy them all independently. The art is a bit dated by this time and the voice work is also kind of mediocre, but overall even re-watching the show I still find it entertaining and enjoyable. If you enjoy those above shows, feel free to try this out and let me know what you think!

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