RogerBW's Blog

Hai to Gensou no Grimgar 31 May 2017

2016 fantasy, light novel adaptation in 12½ episodes: AniDB. Six people find themselves in a monster-bashing fantasy world, without memories or resources. vt Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash.

Yes, in a way this is another "thrown into an RPG" story: but as with 2015's DanMachi, that's just the way the world works, and it's not explored at all. As a new arrival in the world, you get to become a Volunteer Soldier and fight monsters to earn a living; no other career is open to you. Dungeons come in levels because that's what dungeons do. None of our heroes makes any effort to get their memories back, apart from a vague wondering why it is they enjoy cooking or some other non-adventuring activity.

The story, though, is much more about the relationships between the characters, and the effects of constant combat and friends getting killed. Character X was the rock that held the group together, but nobody noticed until he died, and now character Y has to try to do his job. It's all pretty straightforward, but well-handled, and much more interesting than endless battle sequences would have been.

The show is visually distinctive in its backgrounds; they're done in a watercolour style, with ink outlines that don't quite match the coloured shapes. This is lovely to look at, even when it's being a backdrop for carnage. Characters are more standard in design, shuffling up the usual elements and pulling them out in recognisable patterns.

There's a surprising amount of fanservice, particularly with the second half's title sequence lingering on the female characters, and a bonus half-episode all about attempting to spy on the women while they bathe; it isn't at all a good fit with the tone of the rest of it, which is much more about creating working relationships and building trust than anything else.

The usual light novel conversion problems are apparent here: huge chunks of material are obviously missing, and plot threads are started and then go nowhere. At the same time the pace can be pretty slow; if you don't come to like the protagonists' personalities, there's not much else to encourage you to watch.

Not a great show, but enjoyable within its limitations. No sequel has been announced.

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