Gungrave (2003) is a science fiction gangster drama following the story of two orphans, Brandon Heat and Harry MacDowell. After three of their gang buddies die, we see the two friends join the major mafia organization Millennion. While Harry begins to spiral into insanity as he tries to garner power at any cost, Brandon has conflicting loyalties. On one hand he’s developed a strong father/son relationship with the leader of the family, Big Daddy, the best friend of his former girl-friend’s adoptive father. And on the other is Harry, bent on taking over the organization by any means necessary including using dark experimental technology to create an army of monstrosities.
Though this story is based off of a Playstation 2 first person shooter of the same name, it has a lot of depth. The focus is on the dynamics of friendship of multiple people throughout as well as the nature of family. Though this is essentially a tragic gangster drama with lots of monster slaying, betrayal and death, it is the strength of these relationships that gives meaning to the madness. The pathway to this insanity is a long and twisted one indeed, though the style may not appeal to some viewers because there is no immediate gratification. As an existing fan of the gangster genre, I found that this story did it justice, whilst also appealing to gamers and the drama-appreciating science fiction fan.