Hai to Gensou no Grimgar – 01 (First Impressions)

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This is a tale of six young people who suddenly find themselves in an RPG fantasy world with no other memories other than their own names. It’s a gorgeous, painterly RPG fantasy world, by the way, rougher in texture but just as lush as Norn9’s setting.

The show quickly separates itself from both SAO and OverLord by maintaining the mystery of what exactly the world of Grimgar is and how everyone got there. It could be an elaborate game or a world as real as the one everyone presumably came from, judging from their normal clothes at the outset.

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There were actually twelve “new entrants” to this world in the beginning, as protagonist (and our guide to what’s going on) Haruhiro harkens back to a couple days ago. Once they learned the rules—join the Volunteer Soldier Squad for Ortana’s Borderland Brigade, and basically root out baddies for cash—the strongest of them, Renji, took the next-five strongest and went their own way, leaving the six least-strongest.

But while the focus is on the “misfit” party, the show doesn’t cartoonishly overplay their incompetence as anything that wouldn’t be natural for any group of kids in their situation. They’re not that good, but they’ve only been at it a few days; they just need to get their bearings.

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The party consists of Haruhiro, who has chosen the role of thief; Ranta, a dark knight who, appropriately, goes on the most rants and is a bit of a self-involved jerk; Yume, an athletic hunter; Moguzo, a big brawny warrior with a gentle, polite personality; Shihoru, a warm but shy mage with a negative body image; and the priest/white mage Manato, who seems the oldest and most mature of the six and their de facto leader.

While it’s a party of clashing personalities (with much of the clashing being done by Ranta) the show is also very delicate and understated (again, aside from Ranta) in how it portrays the little interpersonal conflicts they have. Their mutual amnesia, shared plight and need to work together to maximize resource income, serves as an equalizer.

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Despite each character’s well-worn archetype, the character interaction is this show’s quieter secret weapon, as is its overall restraint. Nobody is too good too fast at what they’re supposed to do, but nor do things get too dangerous too fast. The goblins that are supposedly the weakest enemies to hunt aren’t hunting them.

No one is utterly overwhelmed by the weight of their situation. Everyone tries to keep a cool head and make the best of a very odd but unavoidable situation. The show also uses music and silence effectively. It’s definitely a less-is-more treatment to this kind of show (aside, perhaps from ample fanservice), which serves it well in terms of gently guiding its viewers into its milieu. I’m in, and I like what I see!

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Author: magicalchurlsukui

Preston Yamazuka is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

11 thoughts on “Hai to Gensou no Grimgar – 01 (First Impressions)”

  1. I read the first volume of the light novel so I have a slightly better grasp of what is going on. I like the show but I just feel like the story has yet to materialize. Lets hope for the next episode!

  2. I hope Ranta gets torn apart by goblins very soon. VERY soon. His self important and overbearing rants became tedious very fast. By the time we got to his gratuitous exposition on boobs, I was about done. I’ll give it one more episode and if it doesn’t improve I’ll be logging out and wishing the fate of the Moonlit Black Cats upon the hapless crew. Rating: 3 Jar Jar Binks.

    1. Lol, yeah, his considerations about boobs also especially came out of left field, and forced us to listen to 5 minutes of conversation that made little to no sense. Why couldn’t Hunter girl just answer “listen you fuckwit my boob size has nothing to do with how many arrows to the throat you can take before you drown in your own blood” is beyond me. That would have settled the matter nicely (also why the hell did she go on to embarrass the mage girl MORE by going all cuddly on her? Beyond the obvious answer I mean).

      1. One redeeming feature of Ranta is that he’s voiced by Yoshino Hiroyuki, who has voiced his share of lovable rogues.

        Hopefully Ranta’s harsh edges and bombast are his means of coping with the situation, and they’ll get softened as the party shares more experiences with each other.

        I actually found Yume’s reaction to Ranta’s ranting refreshing.

        It would have been easy to turn Yume, the more energetic of the two female party members, into the “Anti-Ranta” by entering a cycle of yelling and physical brawling.

        Instead, she stays calm and playfully nocks her bow at him, as if to defend Shihoru from his barbs. No slapstick head bumps or blood fountains.

        Finally, those final moments of the episode, with the gentle contemplative guitar playing as the camera lingering on the gorgeous landscape…very lovely work. More of this, please!

      2. I think these kind of reactions are somewhat unfair. Sometimes the reasons character A doesn’t flip out on character B is because it’s not in their character. PLENTY of people in the real world have difficulty telling someone off in a public setting when they’re being a dick, is it so hard to believe that believable fictional characters might avoid overt conflict the same way real people do?

        Also, they seem to be going out of their way to establish that these characters are somewhat bland even in their own mind due to their lack of memories. As though they’re discovering these things about themselves as they go.

        As for Ranta as a whole, he actually makes me curious. It is not required that everyone becomes nice and friendly and develops in a positive manner. Maybe Ranta is a jerk and he will develop as a semi-antagonist.

        That’s really my thing as a whole. The characters in the first episode were very broad strokes, and no one really stood out (except maybe Ranta, but not in a good way) but they’re all done in a way where I could SEE myself liking them with some time and development, so I’m on board for now.

      3. It’s just that this thing seems to go only in one direction. One character is exceptionally rude and pulls the topic “boobs” completely out of his ass in a piece of conversation that’s as unrealistic as they come, but that’s okay. Then when no one really musters an appropriate response, no that’s realism. It seems to me the whole point of that scene was spending five minutes talking about boobs and making the Witch Girl look moe by how shy/embarrassed she is, and that’s it. Of course this is also influenced by me knowing all too well what anime usually does, but honestly, do we really think they just randomly picked that topic of conversation? Which regularly pops up in EVERY ANIME EVER? This is just the writers ticking the boxes in the Fanservice Bingo.

      4. Anime can be a rigid business, and those who try new things or leave out expected things aren’t always rewarded; it’s just the name of the game. I can’t speak for the intent of the writers, but that box-checking, be it conscious or reflexive, is a part of anime and producers shun it at their peril.

        I weather perceived attempts at pandering to particular elements of the viewership by remembering that an anime doesn’t know who I am, can’t tell me how to think of it, or tell me what I like. It can only throw things out there, and it’s up to me as the viewer to find value in what I’m watching beyond the tropes, or, in some cases, in the unique application of those tropes, so over the years I’ve learned to not hung up on their omnipresence.

        If an anime doesn’t offer me anything other than the usual tricks, then I’ll usually just drop it (we rarely indulge in hate-reviewing here), but Grimgar clearly offers more than that, as I described in my review, and it shows potential, so I’m sticking with it for now, warts and all.

      5. Well, I’d say I pretty much apply the same criterion, and also enjoy *some* of the tropes. The problem is also in quality of execution of course. Even something that is potentially interesting can be burdened by such abysmally annoying executions of said tropes that I simply give up. I was annoyed by some similar discussions in Overlord, for example, but there I stayed because at least they had enough levity to make the whole thing feel like a silly joke, not an act of bullying like it was here. After all, this show is competing for my time, and in a season already featuring Boku Dake and Showa Rakugo, it’s not like I am looking desperately for more stuff to watch.

  3. I take a similar view. particularly at a start of a season, I’m looking around trying to work out what new shows to pick up and watch and which not to. In that regard, the first couple of episodes are critical. If I can’t engage with an show early, its probably lost me for the season. We all only have so much time to watch anime each week, so i guess most try to use our time judiciously. We all have different criteria for our decision on what to watch, what we like , and I don’t expect others to agree with mine necessarily. That’s all good, anime is a multi-faceted industry and we all bring different things to it and take different things from it too.

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