Speed Grapher (short for photographer in case you were wondering) is a bit of an odd mish-mash of an anime.
Part horror, part monster-of-the-week, part super hero tale, it follows the adventures of a war-photographer struggling to make it in peacetime. Saiga now fills the tabloids with the sort of sleazy shots The Sun would proudly display on page 1, until a series of events throws him into an underground den of inequity reserved for the richest and most priveledged members of society, who while away the time living out their most perverted fantasies at the expense of the underclass.
Hidden deep within this sect is "The Goddess", a beautiful young girl whose kiss can grant one lucky volunteer their own personal heaven... or death! Unfortunately Saiga interrupts one such ceremony and recieves both a kiss, and a change of lifestyle that sees him battling superhuman beings by using his camera as a weapon - one (snap)shot, and you're dead!
It all sounds far-fetched, but is shot with such verve that you can easily suspend disbelief and allow the dazzling visuals to immerse you in the storyline. Certainly the villains are a diverse group, and since we all know that the villains make any series, those in Speed Grapher are admiriably superior and begging for a good slap.
The series is nothing if not stylish, and whilst it's too early to tell if it's backed up by substance, the four episodes on offer here are fast, frantic and suitably well-paced. The first two episodes are playful with the timeline, both ending at the same spot, with differing viewpoints leading up to a pivotal moment. If the direction can stay as inventive throughout the series, this could be something genuinely entertaining.
There's something of an 80's feel to both the palette (subdued and gritty) and the theme - the whole "greed leads to corruption" message of Wall Street shines through, and even the opening theme, with it's heavy synths, is enough to convince you Timmy Mallett might be on Saturday morning TV...
This should be well worth anyone's attention, with a mix of excellent action, a sound premise and some good characters, you could do much worse than watch Saiga do his thing.