.BRANDON. Introverted, violent yet kind. Extremely devoted to those he cares about.
.HARRY. Extroverted, egotistical, smooth talker that always strives to get what he wants when he wants. Selfish.
Gungrave is a subtle and complex series about loyalty, male comraderie, finding a goal or purpose in life and dutifully living it out. No matter what the cost. The two main characters: Harry and Brandon are the best of friends, having grown up with only each other to count on. They begin the series as two street punks committing petty crimes and scraping by with their punk friends. Living freely as Harry would call it. Early on they get into more trouble than they can handle and barely escape with their lives. Their friends are not so lucky and once again all they're left with is each other.
After only a few episodes, I get the impression that Brandon would do pretty much anything for Harry. After losing their friends, Harry decides the only way he may be able to live the way he wants is to join "Millenion," a major organized crime group in their town. Brandon has no concrete ambitions for his life so he simply follows Harry wherever he decides to go. Now that wouldn't be surprising if not for the supposed love of Brandon's life: Maria. At the time he believed joining Millenion with Harry would mean he'd never see her again. But he goes anyway without a whole lot of thought to Maria.
Working as a pair, Harry's whit and ambition, and Brandon's superior skills help them quickly climb the ladder in the Millenion organization. Brandon is a quintessential work-a-holic. He's a "sweeper" or hit man that "dispatches" anyone who betrays or stands in the way of Harry, the boss Bid Daddy and Millenion on the whole. He's exceedingly good and eager to do his job because without him, Harry would not have been able to progress as far as he had.
In a twist of luck, Maria is taken under the care of big Daddy after her uncle, a friend of Daddy's is killed. You'd think that this would be the best of both worlds for Brandon, to be near Harry and be able to see Maria. But he never spends ANY time with her, and seems to have more and more excuses not to see her even when Big Daddy tells him to. Finally after many years of the cold shoulder, Brandon is ordered to go see Maria for her birthday. Their short reunion is awkward and silent. Maria eventually pleads with Brandon to be more a part of her life and he basically shoots down all possibility of future involvement and tells her he's a hit man now and that's all there is to say. Frankly nothing ever seems as important to Brandon as helping Harry and executing his job flawlessly.
Half way through the series, Brandon and Harry's beautiful relationship becomes strained when Harry believes that Brandon's no longer in his corner. He'd believed of all the time Brandon and Big Daddy had spent together had drove a wedge between them. Harry has grown very accustomed to Brandon's company and unflinching loyalty, and to see him with Big Daddy and parroting his thoughts and ideals instead of his own was like a dagger in his heart. The ultimate betrayal. At this point, Harry temporarily loses his grip on his sanity.
Harry's ambition reaches all new heights when he conspires to steal the entire organization right form under Big Daddy then plans to kill him. He tells Brandon this as a test of his once iron clad loyalty. Harry knows trying to kill the boss is a betrayal punishable by death, and no one does that better than Brandon. Now the Brandon Harry had come to know would have been behind him 100% no questions asked. But Brandon had changed and in a very tense scene he actually pulled out his gun intending to kill Harry. But that was the one time he just couldn't do his job, this time the cost was just too high and he drops his gun. Unfortunately the fact that Brandon had even for a second considered killing him was too much for Harry to bear.
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Harry at first seems to take Brandon's death rather well, and had even concocted a cover up story claiming Brandon had betrayed the organization and had to pay. It isn't until a few episodes later when Harry happens upon the orphanage where he and Brandon grew up and kills the abusive head master there that he actually faces his terrible grief for the loss of his best friend by his own hand.
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Harry, beside himself with sorrow and jealousy projects his wrath onto Big Daddy directly. First by stealing the organization, humiliating/insulting him, then killing him in cold blood. But even that was not enough. At that point in the series, Big Daddy and Maria had begun an affair. Harry murders Maria as well, claiming he wanted to erase every trace of Big Daddy and anything connected to him. But really he seemed to want to be rid of anyone or thing that had competed with him for a place in Brandon's heart.
Many years pass and Harry successfully takes over. Millenion thrives under his direction and the new "necrolyzation" technology they now employ that re-animates the dead for brainless hired muscle. Of course by a twist of fate Brandon was necrolyzed shortly after being killed earlier in the series. As par the anime clich, a Brandon defeats the four major players of Millenion to finally get to Harry. Now, one would assume he'd come back after all that time and go through all that trouble to get revenge for his, Maria and Big Daddy's death. But when he has a chance to kill Harry once and for all he doesn't. When they finally meet again, not only do they not fight, curse or shoot each other, they laugh, go for a walk to their old hideout and drink
bourbon and chat. O.o
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Towards the end of the series, things fall apart for Harry and all of Millenion is out to kill him. Both he and Brandon are on the run from them now. But instead of taking some sort of revenge or at least leaving Harry to his bloody doom, Brandon saves him from death, again and again and again. Harry even after claiming several time that he would kill Brandon once and for all helps him several times when he would have been hurt or destroyed. All the murder, death, paranoia and feelings of betrayal can't get in the way of their almost irrational devotion to one another.
Watch 1st clip! | Watch 2nd clip!
At the very end of the series, Harry realizes just how wrong he was about Brandon's loyalty and devotion to him. Looking back Harry wonders how he'd made such a mess of things and lost sight of what was really important. Their chosen lifestyle of violence, organized crime and ambition ultimately destroy their happiness and nearly kill their beautiful 'friendship,' its then that Harry and Brandon decide to try to recapture what they've lost and 'go home.'
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Did I leave out anything?
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