Hai to Gensou no Grimars’ First Episode

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.

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 6.31.32 PM.png

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

Fight Scenes

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.

Character Development/Dialogue

Theres almost no dialgoue in Episode 1 that feels meaningful to me.

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 6.31.11 PM.pngIts 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.

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 6.30.49 PM.png

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:

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 6.32.16 PM

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 6.32.43 PM

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.


Author: purplepinapples


5 thoughts on “Hai to Gensou no Grimars’ First Episode”

  1. I’m gonna go through your arguments in the order you brought them up so yeah

    Fight Scenes:
    I actually agree with you on parts of this! The direction isn’t the best and it certainly could be better. It’s somewhat messy and never feels fully connected, but I definitely don’t think it’s action for action’s sake. I think the fights in general aren’t necessarily the climaxes of whatever is happening, but more of a build-up in itself. Grimgar doesn’t intend to be a show about fighting monsters or any of that. The fight you mentioned in the first episode to me is more a set up of what is to come! It’s for once of course a good way to grab the viewers and on the other hand, it introduces us to one of the main ideas of the show, that being them being extremely weak. During the fight they’re trying to take down a goblin, the weakest enemy in the world and don’t manage to do so, something that will follow them over the entire rest of the series.

    Pacing through directing (or artstyle as you called it):
    In my original blogpost I said that what I see as one of Grimgar’s greatest strengths is the way it builds atmosphere and pacing plays a huge role in that. You mentioned the gorgeous shots of scenery etc. I feel like these especially together with the soundtrack and the characters help the show build a certain melancholic atmosphere. Grimgar knows how to give itself room to breathe and to let what just happened sink in and I feel like that’s where the still shots of landscape shine a whole lot.
    That said the info-dumping in certain scenes was quite heavy and it wasn’t exactly brilliantly handled.

    Dialogue amd Character Development:
    Episode 1 is the worst episode of Grimgar in a lot of ways and I think it’s Dialogue is the biggest one. It has it’s usual strong dialogue at points as well, but no to the point and not nearly as often as in the following episodes. That said I definitely disagree that nothing of what was said was of importance. There’s a lot of character building and showing off how characters usually act within the episode. Dialogue doesn’t necessarily need to be connected to the story to be important, but more than often actually is just about their current situation, about the world or just about how they feel. And more than often even if it’s none of these, it can still contribute to giving depth to a character. The picture you linked is a scene that I believe does have a point actually. It for once of course builds character and tells us how these people would react to certain things, somewhat about what they like and quite a bit about the world.
    As for the timeskip being used as a means of character development, I disagree with this quite a bit. I don’t really think character development this early on in the series is something you should go for. We barely know the characters at all, so what point is there in developing them already? Character development is something that comes in very slowly over the following few episodes. People don’t change suddenly, but very slowly over time and Grimgar nails this! There’s no big twist that suddenly makes everyone a different person, but slow development over the span of it’s 7 episodes and I think that works incredibly well.

    Okay there is absolutely no way to defend this. Grigmar’s fanservice is usually stupid, out of place and doesn’t bring anything to the show.

    A-1 Pictures as a Studio:
    I’m not entirely sure if you’ve seen this already, but I’m simply going to link a video by “TheCanipaEffect” here as I don’t really like blaming A-1 Pictures and he explains it extremely well

    So yeah I hope that helped shed some light on my opinion on the show and what I meant when I wrote my original post^^


    1. I’ve seen the video, and I understand why, but something like that (issues with matching the dub) is just a sure sign of a rushed show. I’m not saying that its bad because of it, it just “breaks the immersion”, as I said before.

      As for character development, though I agree that Grimgar had some world building, and building the atmosphere that Grimgar (tried to, imo) built in its first episode, that doesn’t mean that it should be void of character development. Maybe I should have used characterization instead of development in that sense, since I’m only talking about the first episode. They spent almost half of the episode describing the world, when that is much better done through exploration and not exposition, while they could have been fleshing out what the characters are like. As for now, they’re not even defined by tropes.

      I will end up watching it after it airs (I think), just because of your praise of the pacing/later episodes.


      1. hm….I think the characterization is something, that is actually very well done overall, not for all characters as I said in my original post, but for several of them definitely! It might be that I’m saying this as someone that’s caught up to it and just assumes it was all there from the beginning as I haven’t rewatched the first episode, but I do definitely think it gets there over time! There are a lot of smaller scenes between some of the characters where the dialogue makes for very strong characterization especially in some of the following episodes.
        Also tell me what you thought of it whenever you get around to watching the show^^


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s