Anime Discovery 2016: GRIMGAR of Fantasy and ASH – #151

So, I hear that the past winter season (2016 Winter BTW) that people praise three shows at Anime of the Season. Those 3 choices are either Erased, Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash, and some other show…..aaahhhh…..Showa Rangiku…Zangrief something…..Oh…Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu……yeah, that one’s not that important to me.

So, yea, I’m going to talk about one of these today and I’m sure you know which one I’m talking about since you can see the title of the show.

Yup, this is another video game anime that takes place in…..oh, wait!! An RPG- No, A JRPG!!! Oh, and it’s based on a light novel, too!! OH, WHAT— OK, I’m going to stop bullshitting and get on with the plot.

Fear, survival, instinct. Thrown into a foreign land with nothing but hazy memories and the knowledge of their name, they can feel only these three emotions resonating deep within their souls. A group of strangers is given no other choice than to accept the only paying job in this game-like world—the role of a soldier in the Reserve Army—and eliminate anything that threatens the peace in their new world, Grimgar. When all of the stronger candidates join together, those left behind must create a party together to survive: Manato, a charismatic leader and priest; Haruhiro, a nervous thief; Yume, a cheerful hunter; Shihoru, a shy mage; Mogzo, a kind warrior; and Ranta, a rowdy dark knight. Despite its resemblance to one, this is no game—there are no redos or respawns; it is killed or be killed. 

It is now up to this ragtag group of unlikely fighters to survive together in a world where life and death are separated only by a fine line.

OK, at first, a lot of people thought this was going to be some trite, forgettable anime with a genre that has mostly one or two good shows and the rest full of shit-tier titles and by the end of it, everybody was praising the hell out of this show, saying it’s one of the best and everyone should watch it.

Well, guess what? I’m not one of those people.

Yeah, this show doesn’t have of a plot to begin with. It’s just a party of warriors doing the most mundane things in a RPG game or the usual things like fighting goblins, hunt for food, dealing with merchants. You know, the stuff you do in between most of the action and drama within a game and yet it feels like this was done better before……mainly because IT HAS!!!

Log Horizon, anyone? You know, a show that has done that in a BETTER and ENTERTAINING way!?

The world of Grimgar leaves a lot to be desired as we don’t know much about this world if this is an actual RPG game world, the ‘trapped in a videogame’ world minus the death or with it. I get it’s supposed to be the mystery of the world and whatnot but we never did find out about it or any clue or snippet of it nor we do of our characters’ past memories since that is brought up a few times into the show. I know amnesia was the case of this but it didn’t help the show at all, just made it more monotonous to get invested in and I know some of you are saying that it’s a slow pace type of story and I don’t appreciate it, 2 things:

  1. Slow pace does not always equal better storytelling.
  2. The impact doesn’t leave me wanting to binge most of it or want to continue it any further. (Of course I did anyway because I have to finish this.)

And speaking of too monotonous to get invested in, these characters are not interesting in the slightest. They all play their archetypes and while I wasn’t expecting grand development, I expected a bit of enjoyment from them but I didn’t. Haruhiro is the “MC” because of….reasons and I don’t honestly care; Ranta is the asshole of the group and he’s my least favorite character of this show – he comes off as somebody you want to punch a hundred times in the throat and a pure unlikable asshole. Manato is the overly perfect guy and…..I don’t care and I forgot his name in the first few episodes. Let’s get this out of the way…..Yume and Shihoru are only there but teenage boys need something to fap to, whether it be the faux tough hunter girl or the big-boobed easily shy and scared mage, which both have non-existent personalities and just exist to be fan service or have very petty stupid fights with Ranta…..OK, mostly Yume with him and Shihoru……..yeah, I stand by my point. Mogzo…….I forgot about him and like Manato, I simply don’t give a shit.
Oh, and Mary…….she might have some character development through the near end although it was predictable because it practically gives us “well, our old crew died and she’s the way she is and blah blah blah. I stopped caring halfway into the series.”

Yet other characters like Barbara, Brittney (a guy by the way) and other characters in other teams seem more interesting and compelling than our leads. Why can’t we have most of the focus on them instead of…..Total Melodrama Island? And yes, a character dies here. I’m not saying who but I certainly don’t give a damn. I felt worse for the goblins than our leads since they didn’t do much shit to warrant killing them. In fact, I’m rooting for the goblins.

Now I didn’t want to compare them to…..that other popular video game and people have said that Grimgar does that show right but it doesn’t. It does most of the same shit in here……WAIT!!! Not the completely heinous shit that show pulled but the droning moments that happened in-between the action (or what action the show got). Oh, and since I’ve said they have some things in common, guess what else? A-1 PICTURES!!

Yep, they are the ones that animated this show and to be fair, they got the aesthetic down with the watercolor look and the nice backgrounds that made it seem so serene and bright and vibrant. Too bad the action was about as compelling as staring into a toilet…..OK, that’s too harsh. More like a toilet at a Lowe’s or something. What I’m saying is the action is mostly limited to either a few scenes or so and the rest being slice-of-life scenes like cooking, cleaning, shopping. Clearly people appreciate the little “not-giving-a-shit” elements of anime rather than some pivotal moments that are worth a damn……Oh wait, they do. They’re called KyoAni. Then again, I remember A-1 was doing this, Erased and that other video game anime GATE so I guess they got A-1’s B-Team on this…..hopefully not the same ones as Ace Attorney.

Music is not so bad albeit it has the typical light epic score of a JRPG that you’ll hear a lot but instantly forgets about it after you watch it and the same goes to both the opening and ending themes to the series and both are sung by [K]NoW_NAME. In other words, you can skip them both.

Oh, and I forgot to mention this show has a Broadcast Dub brought to you by FUNimation and of course, it’s directed by everyone’s favorite ADR director from that company, Mike McFarland and his assistant ADR director Felecia Angelle and to tell you the truth, they do a good job handling this show and I think if you watch that, you might have a better time with that since it has quality higher than this show. Voice acting from the cast were fine with not that many known voice actors in roles like Ricco Fajardo, Jeannie Tirado & Sarah Wiedenheft.

FINAL VERDICT: From what I said in this review, it looks like I actually hate the show. Well, I don’t. It didn’t make me angry but this show is BORING!!!!!!!!
Granted it’s not as bad as shows with the similar genre as No Game No Life, Overlord and of course Sword Art Online but this show on its own is a dull watch. (i.e., those other shows are like Coke, Pepsi, and Mountain Dew. Grimgar is the diet version of those drinks.)
It’s full of monotonous happenings of nothing, bland characters I barely give a damn about and answers nothing about this world. I know people call Dimension W a letdown in the Winter season but this is the true letdown of that season: a videogame anime that continues to be tired and hackneyed like its others despite it not sucking as much.

In other words, Grimgar fails at most levels of entertainment, it gets….

5/10 – VANILLA

GRIMGAR OF FANTASY AND ASH has not been solicited for home video release as of yet but it is licensed by FUNimation Entertainment. You can stream the show on Funimation’s EVS service for both sub and dub and on Hulu (sub only).

So I’m MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid and I’m probably going to get some shit for this.

GRIMGAR OF FANTASY AND ASH – animation by A-1 Pictures / licensed by FUNIMATION ENTERTAINMENT

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