Speed Grapher, short for Speed Photographer, is an anime revolving around the story of a former war photographer, Saiga Tatsumi. His ability to frame amazing scenes with his camera is under no question. During one of the opening scenes, we see him take aim with his camera and "shoot" an enemy soldier many times; as his backup comes to save him from imminent death, he manages to catch many photographs of the enemy being actively killed.

However, the anime does not focus on these developing years of Saiga, and moves quickly to the present day. The war that he photographed turns out to be one that completely polarizes the economy into rich or poor, with the rich constantly gaining more wealth and the poor drifting further into poverty. Saiga is in a foreign land without a passport; this fact is exploited by female detective Hibari Ginza in order to get the best pictures and, it seems, to get him to do a significant portion of the risky pieces of investigation.

Following the murders of prominent government officials, Saiga is assigned to investigate the Roppongi Club, and specifically, a man named Suitengu. This extremely exclusive club caters to the cream of the crop in terms of political figures, celebrities, and the like, purporting that any desire can be fulfilled. What will Saiga discover about the world around him? Will his curiosity and drive for the best pictures win out over the sordid desires and evil plottings of the Roppongi Club? And what's the deal with him and that 14 year old "Goddess"?

Even though the animation sometimes appears rather sub-par, the storyline and extremely unique character design keeps me going through this anime. (Saiga's enemies are so bizarre, it sometimes almost feels like you're sitting in a Metal Gear Solid story.) This is certainly no Azumanga Daioh or Bleach, as you'll definitely want to keep the kids away from this one. Adult themes and partial nudity abound in this series; disturbing imagery is also featured quite prominently.

Now you're all wondering how to watch this particular piece of anime, I'm assuming? Well, if you live in Japan, you can watch it on TV Asahi, but otherwise, you're going to have to get a fansub of it. It appears that if you're more into reading manga, you can pick up Gao Magazine (also in Japan) and check it out; scanlations have not appeared yet, however.

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