Gravitation was one of my early queer “firsts” and it falls into the same vein as many of the pieces of media I worshiped as a baby queer. Like Queer as Folk and Interview with the Vampire, Gravitation was an incredibly problematic piece of media that, on some level, shaped how I viewed queerness. (Which kind of explains a lot of my earlier understanding of what it meant to be queer…)
Watching Gravitation now is… a little bit painful.
Twenty years after it first aired – and, at least fifteen years since I read the manga – there’s a lot about Gravitation that leaves me… lightly wondering how I managed to make it through that series as a teenager.
Mostly, to be fair… it’s the dreadful dub and dated animation.
But then there’s the fact that I seemed to have forgotten that I actually hated Yuki Eiri?
Every single criticism I wanted to make about Gravitation vanished in a wave of face-warming hatred of Yuki Eiri. Look, I get that he has complicated reasons for why he’s Like That, but he still makes me want to give him a swift kick in the soft parts for how he treats Shuichi on and off across the series.
Like recurring gags across series include Shuichi getting shouted at or pushed away because he’s “too affectionate” or he’s too loud. In fact, one of the really fucked up things in the anime – no idea if it’s in the manga because I know I won’t be rereading that any time soon – is that in episode six, part of how Shuichi ends up in a position to be assaulted because… Yuki kicks him out because he’s “too much”.
(Like the guy who goes after him would’ve done it at any point because he’s an asshole how to take Shuichi’s band Bad Luck down, but like… he couldn’t have had that access to Shuichi if Yuki hadn’t been a complete tool and kicked him out in the middle of the night.)
Shuichi was a character I… gravitated to as a teenager and so if he’s hurting, I’m ready to fight. One of the things about Gravitation is that it’s a classic trope-laden Boys Love series. It does a lot that just straight up didn’t age well – and like… the manga more so than the anime in some cases – and that makes me frustrated to rewatch it.
I had to pause at episode six, not just because I was seconds away from reaching into my TV and throttling like half the people onscreen at any single point, but because… being faced with how poorly something you clicked with as a teenager has aged is wild as hell.
And weirdly… sad? Because I don’t have the relationship with Gravitation that I used to.
Other manga or anime series have stuck with me – I am still entirely Too Here For Petshop of Horrors and Weiss Kreuz – but trying to rewatch Gravitation… I think it’s something I’ll have to do a tipsy livetweet for in the near future because that’ll probably be better!
(Note: to this day I can’t tell you how old Shuichi is supposed to be so that’s like… another issue I have with the series?? Wild.)