Hai to Gensou no Grimgar Episode 1 Spoiler Warning
Hai to Gensou no Grimgar, or simply Grimgar, as I’ll be calling it through the rest of this post, is a Winter 2016 A-1 Pictures show, about people waking up in a fantasy world, and their struggles surviving there. This is in some measure a reply to this blog post, but is also something that I’ve been reiterating since the first episode of Grimgar aired.
I was quite exited about watching Grimgar before it aired. It is a rehash of old ideas, but the artstyle captivated me from minute one. I have only seen one episode of Grimgar, but I feel as if it told me enough about the show, that I have no desire to watch anymore of it.
As stated, the artstyle is brilliant. Its very relaxing, and not many shows have this sort of watercolor artstyle.
The idea of being stuck in a RPG situation, but being oblivious to the fact that you have moved worlds, or in other words, not knowing what a game is, is quite intruiging. Its something that hasn’t been explored much, and presents some intresting situations that characters could be thrown into.
Cons – Theme/Aspect Analysis
Though there is only one fight scene in this episode, it bears to mention, just because of how disorganized it is. The episode starts off with this fight scene, and shows the main group of characters fighting a goblin. There is no flow in the shots. It just seems like action for actions sake. The animation is pretty nice, but theres no build up or impactful scenes, its just like the director threw a bunch of scenes together and called it a day. This could either be attributed to simply, bad directing, the nature of A-1 Pictures, the theme of reality, which I’ll get to later, or an aggregate of the three.
Pacing through Artstlye/Aesthetic
The overall feel of the show, either feels too much like I’m looking at a painting, or too much like I’m reading a book. There are moments where the show stops, and just shows a beatufilly contstructed watercolor shots, which are wonderful on their own. Then there are moments where we have almost 5 straight minutes of exposition through dialogue…. with no music playing. Grimgar is paced very slow, while in the grand scheme of things may work in its favor, at the moment, I’m not intrested in this show, I’m not intrested in this world, so giving me a bunch of exposition doesn’t sit well with me.
Theres almost no dialgoue in Episode 1 that feels meaningful to me.
Its either them talking about what they’re planning on doing, have done, or are doing at the time. There is very minimal development for characters through dialogue, as most of it just describes their situation. The timeskip through their training in the first episode, could have been easily used as some character development, but wasn’t.
Fanservice and Mood
Fanservice doesn’t automatically make a show bad; In some cases it can actually enchance aspects of shows. Its just that in Grimgars case — it doesn’t.
Grimgar sets itself up as being something very serious, people fighing for their death and barely surviving, but then it goes and throws in lines like:
There are ways to mix this type of story with fanservice, but in Grimgars case, it should have just strayed away from it.
A-1 Pictures as a Studio
I couldn’t possibly claim that this show is bad, simply because A-1 pictures is adapting it, but A-1 as a studio, has a record of being very hit/miss. One prime example of something that came with this being A-1, is the VA’s voices not matching the voice movements. In the first scene, Haruhiro’s VA is yelling, but the animation looks like he’s talking. Sure, these are small things, but they break the immersion of the story. Background interaction is also something that doesn’t happen a lot; characters seem like they’re disconnected from the backgrounds. A-1’s nature of taking on many projects (probably) leads to this kind of rushed product, which as a whole, isn’t up to regular adaption standards.
Conclusion – Theme of Reality
Despite the setting itself being a fantasy world, Grimgar tries to base its characters as much in our reality as possible.
Characters act as close to as how we would in a fight with a goblin with no prior experience, they’re somewhat naïve, they’re somewhat perverted, and their dialogue doesn’t really develop them as characters, but is more of a psychological view on what they’re thinking, and what they plan to do.
Basing its characters in reality while being in a fantasy world is not a bad thing… – if it worked.
At least in my experience, as all of those ideas came together in the first episode, it didn’t depict the harsh, yet relatable reality that it was trying to acheive, it just bored me.
I may end up watching this after it finishes airing, but unless I hear great stuff about it, its going to be pretty low on my priority list.