|“||There is one thing I know for certain. To protect is not to betray. Never betray. Never.||„|
|~ Brandon Heat|
Brandon Heat is the protagonist of the action third-person shooter video game series Gungrave. He was the human identity of Beyond the Grave. Once a member of a small time street gang, after meeting Bear Walken, he decides to join Millenion with his best friend Harry McDowell, becoming an expert sweeper and friends with the organization's leader Big Daddy.
In the anime he is voiced by Tomokazu Seki in Japanese and Kirk Thornton in English.
Brandon is a calm, kind, loyal man, despite being raised in the streets. He cares more for those around him than himself: he refused to leave his gang and find a job with Maria's uncle so that he could continue to fight for his friends, going as far killing Cid Gallarde for Bear Walken as part of the Code of Iron when the latter was unable to do so, and later willingly gave up Maria to Big Daddy to ensure her safety. This kindness also extends to as many people as he can help, or at least keep away from the crossfire: Brandon was adamant about isolating targets of Millennion from their families before performing the hit, a fact his subordinates brought up shortly before Bunji decided to slaughter a target and his family. Prior to this incident, when Bunji injured himself on a hit, Brandon silently berated Bunji's carelessness with a slap across the face, and then told him to get his injuries checked.
Brandon is also a person of very few words, instead letting his actions speak for themselves. This, in combination with his dedication to Big Daddy and his Family, has resulted in some labeling him as "a little awkward": Bear has chided Brandon for his systematic way of doing unpleasant jobs for others after Brandon killed Cid, and Brandon, admitting that he no longer knew what normal meant, agreed with regards to Bear's comment on his awkwardness. Shortly after Brandon sent Big Daddy a letter admitting that he knew of Harry's betrayal but wanted to look the other way in spite of the Code of Iron, Big Daddy cried at Brandon's awkwardness in handling the matter.
Brandon's dedication to Big Daddy and his work as a sweeper has inspired the admiration and loyalty of those under him, especially in his hit squad True Grave.
Brandon also has a habit of twitching his finger at whatever enemy he is facing, motioning them to make the first move. Bunji Kugashira, who looked up to Brandon as the embodiment of the Code of Iron, later adopted this gesture in his final match against Brandon.
Brandon's personality traits would transition in later on when he became Beyond the Grave.
The Early Days
Brandon was admitted into the same orphanage as Harry in his childhood. The day after he entered the orphanage, however, the owner beat both him and Harry for chasing after a white sheet and getting themselves dirty. Harry introduced himself to the newcomer, starting the friendship that would define their lives to come. At the age of 18, Brandon became a member of a small street gang, along with Harry McDowell, Jolice, Kenny, and Nathan. Early on in the story, Uncle Jester, a man who raised Brandon's love, Maria, comes under attack by an assassin called Mad Dog Ladd. Jester is killed, along with Kenny and Nathan; Jolice was killed earlier by Ladd as a warning of sorts to the others. Brandon and Harry are almost murdered also, but are saved by Bear Walken, who kills Ladd. After Jester's funeral, Maria meets Big Daddy, a friend of Jester and head of a mafia organisation. He wishes to keep this secret from Maria though, and becomes her new caretaker. Brandon decides to join the organization with Harry, hoping to "buy proper graves" for Jolice, Kenny and Nathan. Being at the lowest level of the lower ranks in the organization, Brandon worked in getting money from those who owe Millennion from loosing bets on the races. Harry makes 2 friends who he introduces to Brandon, Balladbird Lee and Bob Poundmax. Maria introduces Big Daddy to Brandon, who he befriends quickly, taking him on fishing trips and helping him decide on what to do in his life. One day, during a ball held by Daddy, an assassin came to try and kill Big Daddy but the boss is saved by Brandon, who shoots the assailant but takes a bullet as well. Big Daddy decides to enlist Brandon as a sweeper, an assassin and bodyguard in the Syndicate.
Brandon Heat, Sweeper
Having become a higher ranking official, Brandon began working with Harry in much higher cases, involving actual killings. He meets Bunji Kugashira, a rogue hit-man matching his skill. Bunji joins Millennion after Brandon beats him in hand-to-hand combat, becoming his loyal right-hand man, to the point of calling him "aniki" ("bro" in the English translation).
Brandon then creates True Grave, his own squad in Millennion, lead by him and Bunji. He starts drifting away from Maria, finding it harder to face her every time he kills, not wanting her to know of his work, having been convincing her he was a businessman working with Harry.
He and Bunji fight against Blood War and Cannon Vulcan, leaders of a smaller organization called Lightning, who have created prototypes of "Seed" through Dr. Tokioka and the first Orgmen. The Orgmen seem to be resistant to all arms, and all hope seems lost until it is discovered that these Orgmen can only last a week or so before turning to dust. Cannon is killed and War takes a sample of Seed, before being shot at by Bear Walken and his team, Overkill. Brandon finishes him with War's own customized revolver, but after this incident, realizes that he is "unable to hear Maria's voice anymore".
Three years later, set up to meet with Maria by Big Daddy, Brandon has no choice but to reveal his work as a sweeper to Maria, giving her to Big Daddy and leaving his love to keep her safe. Big Daddy falls in love with Maria and Maria gives birth to their daughter Mika.
After revealing himself to Maria, and revealing to Harry that Maria and Big Daddy were married, Brandon sat with Harry, talking to him about how much had happened in the past 10 or so years. The two visit Jolice, Kenny and Nathan's graves, Harry having forgotten them. Brandon reminds him, and Harry claims he'll buy them large graves, or even buy the entire cemetery. Brandon instead picks up some rocks around, preferring to build them larger himself.
The two later go on a lift to see Big Daddy, where Harry reveals a plan to kill him. Brandon is shocked, as Harry explains they could both run the organization - he would have power and Brandon would get Maria - both would win. An angered Brandon suddenly lashes out, punching Harry to the ground. He drew his pistol and aimed it clearly at Harry, showing very clearly he would never betray Big Daddy. However, Brandon drops his gun, unwilling to kill his friend, and looks away. Harry calls out to him, and he turns to meet Harry's own pistol. Brandon is shot at in the chest, hitting the lift window, and then suffers other gunshot wounds.
Harry runs up to him and sticks his gun on Brandon's glasses, breaking through the lens before firing through Brandon's left eye. The lift window breaks and he falls out of the window to his death.
However, that was not the end of the story. Sometime before this confrontation, Brandon went to visit Dr. Tokioka with an unusual request - that in the event of his death, the doctor was to use the necrolization process on him, mainly to prevent Harry from dragging Millennion further down. Tokioka at first had no intention of waking Brandon - whom he now named Beyond the Grave. However, when the prototype Orgmen that he and Laguna Glock produced broke out and went berserk, he awakened Grave to deal with them.
Relationships with other characters
- Mika Asagi (as Grave)
Harry was Brandon's best friend, stemming from their childhood in the orphanage, when the two chased after a white sheet and were severely beaten by the owner of the orphanage. The two would grow up to start a street gang based in Desolation Alley, Harry being the brains and Brandon being the primary brawler, along with three other boys, Jolice, Kenny, and Nathan.
The deaths of their three friends forces the two to rely on one another more than ever, as shortly after Harry kills Deed and the two beat up Scott the Snitch, Brandon and Harry are considered the two most dangerous men in Desolation Alley. Even when Harry enters the Organization under Randy and starts on a track completely different than Brandon, Harry still looks after his friend and gives him advice on how to move up the ladder and meet with Maria on a more even level. Eight years later, Harry still gives him advice on how to manage Bunji's need to personally finish jobs himself.
After Brandon becomes employed as a sweeper, he and Harry still regard each other as close friends, despite working on different tracks in the Organization; Brandon offers to fight with Bunji on Harry's behalf shortly after the three kill off the gang that had hired Bunji to kill Harry and Harry later arrives with Lee to aid Brandon and Bunji against the necrolyzed Blood War. When Big Daddy suggests to Brandon the remote possibility that Harry might be a traitor, Brandon is quick to dismiss Harry's betrayal.
In the anime, when Brandon violently punches Harry in reaction to Harry's proposal that they betray Big Daddy and holds him at gunpoint, Harry waits calmly for Brandon's shot to end his life before realizing that Brandon could not shoot him, and then seizing the opportunity to murder his friend. Some time later, when Harry murders the owner of a restaurant for beating a young boy, after seeing the boy break down and beg for the owner not to die, Harry himself breaks down and cries for his friend's death. Later, when Big Daddy confronts Harry with the knowledge that Brandon knew about his schemes, Harry violently and repeatedly shoots Big Daddy for taking Brandon away from him.
In the game, their friendship is explored in less detail, although it is implied that Harry had grown markedly more callous towards his friend when he shoots him after being punched.
Brandon's return as Grave marks a complete 180 in their relationship, as the two seek to kill each other: Harry for betraying Brandon and Big Daddy's Millennion and Brandon to ensure the security of his Millennion. Harry when meeting Mika even prefers to refer to the necrolyzed Brandon as "Grave", finding the name of his old friend to bring up nostalgic memories.
In the game, after the necrolyzed Big Daddy and Alien Head are destroyed by Brandon, Harry graciously allows Grave to kill him.
In the anime, after losing the last member of his Big Four, Harry leaves photos of their old friends on his desk after Grave arrives at the office, perhaps indicating that he wanted to return to their old friendship before he became the boss of Millennion. The two eventually touch on this subject when they meet again at Desolation Alley.
Maria has always been Brandon's first love, the two had a relationship and tried keeping it during his employment for Millenion. Eight years into Millennion's employ, although Brandon still cared for her, his job as a hitman forced him to dedicate himself to Millenion and remaining by his best friend Harry MacDowell, along with regularly performing dangerous tasks and killing people. Maria tried one more time to fight for their relationship but Brandon told her the truth of his work. Whether out of shock of how he told her or knowing he was leaving her, Maria broke down crying. Their feelings for one another are somewhat debatable after their "break-up"; Brandon showed no ill will or remorse knowing that Maria had married Big Daddy while Maria herself stated she was very happy with Big Daddy. After hearing of Brandon's death at Harry's hands, Maria goes to Millennion Tower herself to kill Harry out of revenge for Brandon, but is persuaded from doing so by Big Daddy.
After becoming Grave, Brandon has the tendency to mutter Maria's name and reminisce about her, hinting Brandon's loyalty to Maria. In the last episode, although he saw a young Maria waiting for him, she soon changed and Big Daddy was by her side and happily looked at her husband. Whatever was left between them, Brandon still showed immense loyalty to her as a friend.
- In episode 15, Brandon's tombstone indicates that he was born on year 19635 and died on 5th January 19662.