It’s difficult to explain why Grisaia is so good concisely. On the surface, this show is just a harem bit with a string of crotch shots held together by an ex-assassin’s inner monologues, as he goes about his day as a high-schooler.
It’s widescreen and it’s spatial effects raise it above other harems visually, but it relies on many of the same joke telling conventions, unending shots of panties, and the who will he eventually ‘bang’ of creepy harem fanishness.
But the, when was the last time you saw a character full on masturbate onto someone’s bed while someone watched that wasn’t hentai?
Perhaps that’s a weird example to justify a show as “good”, but Grisaia is doing a solid job pushing past my expectations — past my comfort zone — and that gains it a lot of credit.
Even more, since this episode was so lighthearted and harem-genre otherwise, it’s difficult to forget that more than one student here is batshit crazy (and armed to the teeth) and that, at any minute, Grisaia’s genre could change, with camera-soaking violence.
On to the summary!
This week start’s off with Yuuji catching Amane picking his room’s lock and slipping in. He’s not sure what her motives are, even when he witnesses her sniffing his clothing and writhing on his bed masturbating, because it’s pretty clear that her skill level is very high and she could have staged the whole weird scene when she noticed he’d caught her.
We’re not even sure, as are seeing the show from his perspective, but it is disturbing!
Then Yuuji encourages Makina to jog through the pain by teaching her the “Amane Suou is a Bitch in Heat Song” and we are again catapulted past our expectation zone. It’s jarring but also funny and charming. More importantly, it disarms us with it’s silliness and makes us forget the twisted side that’s creeping below Grisaia’s surface.
More twisted than a girl who is so boy-crazy she’s going to finger herself in his bed, at least.
The rest of the episode also aims to distract us. We see all the girls accepting Yuuji more, from sharing meals with him, to making fanny-packs for him. It’s all very genre appropriate and smile-making but those vacant eyes can’t lie.
Or maybe they can and that’s the point: we have no idea what everyone is thinking. That’s gotta be disturbing to a master assassin who’s going to a walled school ringed with cameras.
Grisaia has solid comedic timing, decent animation and effects, and fanservice that is actually more aggressively sexual than normal fanservice, which gives it extra punch. If you have room in your Fall ’14 viewing schedule, you owe it to yourself to give this one a look.
Just be warned that, nipples or not, censor ‘clouds’ or not, this show is toeing the line for how adult it can get.