Grisaia no Kajitsu – 01

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Protagonist Yuuji Kazami is transferring to a new school. An ordinary school. Something he’s always wanted. Unfortunately, the defense ministry has sent him to Mihama Academy, which doesn’t seem ordinary at all. Not even on the surface.

Grilled by local security for not allowing his bag to be screened, nearly killed by air-head school principal Chizuru Tachibana along their drive, and ringed by a school wall dotted with ever watching cameras, its all rather puzzling the Chizuru keeps up the charade. It doesn’t seem to be fooling anyone.

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Upon arrival, Yuuji sets out to make proper introductions to his fellow students. The first of the 6 VIPs who reside in his dorm — who make up the entire student body — is Sachi Komine, who’s dressed as a maid for rather odd reasons.

Grisaia no Kajitsu really shines in the spacial effects department. Many shots have great depth of field, subtle shifts of focus, relative plainer rotation and dynamic scaling. it’s actually masterful work. However, Grisaia no Kajitsu also uses simplistic 3D generation for many of its hallway walking shots (and the driving scene) which isn’t bad, just strange. Noticeable.

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The following morning, Yuuji encounters Amane Suou, a buxom and easy going bombshell, and Makina, who is a crybaby. Again, Yuuji introduces himself through some clever banter but Amane appears to be the one controlling the scene. Also: lots of fanservice.

Throughout this and the previous scenes, ‘unease’ permeates everything but what truly jacks up the tension here is a happy, generic, shopping mall-esque music looping in the background. I never realized typical anime BG music could amp such a creep factor…

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Finally, Yuuji encounters Michiru Matsushima, who appears to be practicing her introductions and other social interactions in the classroom. Of all the initial encounters, this was the quirkiest and most amusing. In no small part because the characters (and their banter) click so well.

Michiru is fantastically awkward… but you also get the sense that every introduction has been staged for Yuuji. It’s subtle, but the feeling of his discovering each girl seems fake. I wonder what they’re up to?

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Which brings us to Yumiko Sakaki, a girl who only comes to class at night to read and doesn’t socialize. Fortunately, Yuuji is skilled enough and strong enough and wary enough to prevent her from slashing his throat.

And until the credits roll, and we see what some of the girls are up to in their rooms, bomb making and such, I still had no real idea what this show was going to be about. Following the credits, I’m a little hesitant but hopeful. I’ve seen plenty of bad assassin high school dramas in the past, but the masterful art and weirdness of this show may well carry it far above those dull expectations.

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Grisaia no Kajitsu’s bizarre nature is difficult to capture through description, so I’m excerpting my favorite thread from Yuuji’s constant internal monologue as an example:

  • “I’m sure they’re all in their rooms, doing homework or something. No, Wait. We didn’t get homework today, which means the theory that they’re in the rooms doing homework doesn’t hold.”
  • “So what are they doing? The only other things students do while secluded in their rooms is…”
  • “They’re masturbating?”
  • “Well, whatever they’re getting off to in their rooms, I’ll just pretend I haven’t noticed.”

2 thoughts on “Grisaia no Kajitsu – 01”

  1. Judging merely from the screenshots and art style, 9 seems really high. I guess need to watch this when I have time to see where that 9 is coming from…

    1. To be fair, this show’s style is to be creepily understated. Also, impossible to screen cap properly. There are a few low speed character rotations that are really well done, if not pervy. Also fore-ground blurring to extend depth of field. It actually looks really good in motion, even if it’s somewhat simple in design and framing.

      Regardless, the 9 comes from the story, storytelling, and characters. This episode didn’t spell things out, not through verbal exposition anyway. Nor did it tip its hand till the end, and even then, the agenda is not entirely clear.

      Lastly, Michiru is a fairly original take on weird character behavior. There’s something bizarrely robotic about how she works as a person that got me laughing and made me curious to see more.

      This is def worth a a review, even if it nose dives and fizzles mid season!

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