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GRAVITATION: FATEFUL FIRST ENCOUNTER
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Based on the popular manga by Maki Murakami, Gravitation (1999) exemplifies the yaoi genre: gay-themed romances created by women for primarily female audiences. Mercurial high school senior Shuichi Shindou dreams that his garage band Bad Luck will propel him and his best friend Hiroshi Nakano to stardom. When temperamental novelist Eiri Yuki dismisses Shuichi's lyrics as trash, the teenage rocker is crushed. He's also smitten with Eiri, even though both characters have heretofore been exclusively heterosexual. Shuichi's pursuit of Eiri provides a counterpoint to the behind-the-scenes story of Bad Luck being groomed by a top music-industry executive. Although Eiri and Shuichi never go beyond a kiss on screen, their romance may scandalize conservative viewers. But the audience in America for yaoi is growing rapidly, and Gravitation has been popular as a "fan sub" on the Web and on disc for years. (Not rated, suitable for ages 14 and older: sexuality) --Charles Solomon
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