Anime Recommendation: Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash

June 06, 2016

It's rare that I usually find anime that is slow in it's pacing yet has that captivating substance the moment I hit the first episode. When done wrong, some of the slow paced animes especially when it comes to the adventure genre or those involving lots of action, tend to come out as boring to the eyes of the watcher. That's why making slow paced action anime tend to be a risky move to a mangaka and to those production companies who turn these into animes. 

That's what Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash or in it's Japanese title, Hai to Gensou no Grimgar, proved wrong, for me at least and to countless others who believed in it too..

Instead, this anime used it's slow pacing and made it as one of it's strong points.

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash:
Characters (from left to right to right) on top - Ranta, Moguzo, Shihoru & Manato.
Bottom Row - Yume & Haruhiro

Hai to Gensou no Grimgar, or simply known as Grimgar, is a Winter 2016 anime adaptation based on a light novel of the same name. Grimgar tells a story about a group of young people who woke up in an unknown place, named Grimgar, full of unfamiliar people and inhabited by strange creatures. These people don't know anything about what they were in their past life and don't remember anything except what they were the moment they wake up. Sounds like a typical fantasy story plot? Some people might think so too. I didn't mind. The thing that got me hooked up to click and watch the first episode was it's theme - an RPG story.

I've always liked RPG games, and I especially loved those games that revolve around choosing different classes and leveling up as you earn game money and as soon as I saw Grimgar's promotional poster and saw the character's designs, I became interested!

I started watching Grimgar sometime during the middle of April, a few months since it first aired and I didn't knew anything about it before I started watching it, so I wasn't expecting anything. But I can assure you that I was excited! This is my first time watching an RPG-like anime.

We were greeted instantly with a fight scene! Great! Time to showcase what these young people can do. You can say I was so stoked to see everyone's individual abilities. And yes, it was shown to us... only to discover that these young people aren't dealing much to the enemy. Everyone was struggling to fight a single goblin. It was crafted perfectly to see how much the group exerts effort to accomplish what is known in their world as "a simple thing to do". Through this way, we got to know the group's weak start. Everything was given a thorough consideration to make up that one fight scene well put together: the little-to-no experience the characters had to their weapons and to the way their individual characteristics and personalities are. It tackled realism so well it made me feel the pain, the struggle and the accomplishments they felt.

The anime was put well together. It wasn't rushed - it took it's time well using it's slow paced nature to good use. It didn't display the usual zero to hero character status in an instant which is good as it was so refreshing for me to see. I've seen reviews on it that stated it wasn't right to label it an "adventure/action + fantasy". Rather it was more applicable to call it the "slice of life + fantasy" type for it's genre. I really agree with that statement. There is literally this one episode from it that basically shows it that way wherein for the duration of the whole episode, it only showed the gang taking a break, having fun & relaxing together with the frequent calming shots of the world of Grimgar,

My dear, dear Manato.
Another important thing I can say that I was so impressed to see was the character development! Again, it wasn't rushed. Everyone took their own time and pace to develop which was a beautiful sight to see being a fan of this show, now. It makes them much more real and more easy to connect with to your heart. Character influence and adaption to new surroundings as plot devices for character development were properly used realistically to produce authentic and raw character growth quality.

I can say that because of this impressive character development, I actually felt teary-eyed like I was a proud daddy to them after I watched the last episode of it. These people changed from what they were when I first saw and fell head-over-heels for them *cough* except for Ranta *cough* just kidding.

Aww Ranta, don't get sad.
I must say though that during the first few episodes, Ranta wasn't at all my type of character. If you want to know who's my favorite, that ought to be Manato. But during the 2nd half near the point of the series' ending, I actually became quite impressed at him! There was something during the last few episodes that got me goosebumps! But I won't spoil anything so you better watch the show!

The anime's OST was also awesome if I do say so myself. The opening theme is bright and colorful. The visuals were creatively put together to get a sense of movement added with high tempo music that got me pumped up for the episode ahead. The ending theme is more simple and calming. The opening notes for the ending theme gives you a sense of thoughtfulness, a small opening for you think back on the episode you just watched. "(K)now Name", the creator of Grimgar's OSTs provided awesome songs for it. Both the opening & ending themes are catchy so I do recommend it for you all to listen to it.

*Update: For some reason the video doesn't play when it's embedded in other blogs so if you want to hear it, you may only do so by going to the source by clicking the link in the caption*

One of the things I find that most people aren't happy about when it comes to the show is the tendency for it to have "unnecessary" fanservice content. Some people find it annoying. I've seen this one comment about it that says that he thinks that fanservice is there mainly to add up to the realism of the show. He says that it's purpose is to show that these teenagers can act like how they usually are and how they are portrayed - which are teens still currently trying to find out themselves and who they are. Anyone can have different opinions on it. For me? To be honest, I don't really tend to over think about the ridiculous amounts of fanservice in there simply because I was captivated enough by the whole plot, story and the whole anime itself that I ignore these as they go by. It gets lesser and lesser as the story progresses and gets better and better though!

I really recommend for you all my readers to try out Grimgar if you have the spare time. It might not be perfect nor be the best of all the animes, it's still a solid, awesome series full of adventure and fun. My advice is you watch this at night when it's calm AND do not binge watch it in one day. Probably once every 3-4 days or so. It might increase the feels AS it IS a slow paced anime and watching it as fast as you could is quite weird for it. It's just a suggestion though.

My precious people.
P.S: D'ya guys know I'm planning on cosplaying Manato? If not, now you know.

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Greetings, I am Jefferson and welcome to my anime blog. This anime blog is where I'll be housing all of my reviews and recommendations for anime shows.

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