How I came across it?
I've been into anime and manga since I was a child. In my teenage years, my manga passion exploded, and Gravitation was the first manga series that I really read and got into. Also one of the first I completed and read across all twelve volumes. Around the time I got into it in the early 2000s, Eiri and Shuichi were one of the most iconic couples at the time. It mixes dark character backstories with slapstick humour. It was the first media I consumed that honestly had LGBTQ+ characters and I was very hooked in the series.
It's about Shuichi Shindou who wants to become a Rockstar. He bumps into Eiri Yuki who slams his lyrics. Crazy things happen, and then bam, the two of them fall in love. On top of that, Shuichi's band, Bad Luck, becomes famous and Shuichi's idol ends up becoming both a close friend and his biggest rival.
Where did I get it?
I remember buying the first two volumes in my local bookstore and the rest of them, I purchased on Amazon. I bought them all a long time ago, and I remember getting them at ridiculously low prices. When I last looked on Amazon to see what the costs there are, they've appeared to have gone up since I last bought them. I think there will be someone out there who's got them for a reasonable price though.
What I liked about it?
I really appreciate how overtime Murakami's art improves. When you put the first volume and the final volume together, they both feel so different in both style and texture. The art in the later albums is polished while the earlier works are softer. From the covers alone, you can see both character and artistic development.
I also think the series has some fantastic characters. I love Hiro, Shuichi's best friend. I think he's so precious. He's such a good friend, and he was one of the few characters that respect Ayaka. He stands by Shuichi even when he's a spoilt brat. I love Hiro's friendship with Suguru because it felt authentic.
What I didn't like about it?
Eiri and Shuichi's relationship is gripping and is full of emotional baggage. Still, I do think it has a lot of toxic traits. Back as a teenager, I didn't see them, but now it's obvious. I think the series would have aged a lot better if the romance didn't overshadow everything else.
There should have been a lot more Hiro and Suguru. I think they should have played a more prominent role in the story since they're members of Shuichi's band. I would have to see more of the music balancing out the romance.
There's a lot of focus on Shuichi and Eiri's relationship throughout all the twelve volumes. I would have liked there to have been more emphasis on Shuichi's band, Bad Luck. Rereading the series later has made me see this story with different eyes. As a boy x boy love series, I don't expect it to be the best with female representation. Still, I think Ayaka's character could have been handled a lot better.
There's a lot of content here that may trigger readers now. There are rape and sexual assault which I think could have been handled better. I didn't like how Shuichi managed to get over it so quickly. And I know this is slapstick comedy and manga and it's not always taken seriously. I think it would have been nice if we saw Eiri and Shuichi's characters outside of their stereotypical tropes. They both seem really tight in their roles.
How it made me feel?
This series has given me a lot of emotions. It has made me laugh, cry, hurl the books at the wall and tug it up close to my heart. Gravitation has inspired my love for reading as much as the Harry Potter series did. Even though I am sure that Gravitation won't fly by today, I appreciate and love it still for the nostalgic memories and the inspiration it's given to others.
Would I recommend it?
If you can forgive the questionable content, I think you can still enjoy the series. The wacky content and hilarious scenes mixed in with love always has a special place in my heart.