Hai to Gensou no Grimgar – 08

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Hai to Gensou no Grimgar is a little counter-intuitive. You’d think that its penchant for building slow, careful, gradual atmosphere meant it would need all twelve (or more) episodes to properly tell its story. And yet, despite taking things slow and easy and letting its characters breathe and exist in the world it created, this eighth episode could have been the finale, with four episodes to spare.

This was the culmination of nearly everything the seven episodes had cultivated, including my emotional investment. It achieved a tremendous amount without abandoning or compromising the style it’s stuck with all along. In fact, in the end it actually doubled down on the long quiet, contemplative, emotion-rich scene of rest.

I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a show so patient and diligent and deliberate that at the same time was able to move so fleetly and efficiently. It kind of had its cake and ate it too.

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Things start simply: a pre-game huddle in which Mary–the priest who let her party die who joined the party that let their priest die–adds her hand to the pile and promises to protect everyone. Then everyone gets into position, waits for the right time, and the most ambitious and dangerous battle yet fought commences.

The breathless, bloody action is set to upbeat (rather than desperate) music, reflecting everyone’s positive attitude and determination entering the fight. No longer is there any doubt that they will have each other’s backs. The goblins are initially surprised by their ambush, but quickly regroup and exhibit that they’re just as capable of learning about their enemy and adapting to their tactics.

At times, things get a little dicey, but just when you think one party member is in trouble, another one bails them out. When Yume and Moguzo get wounded, Mary quickly heals them, and it’s not a waste of magic because without numbers, they can’t afford the pace of the battle to wane due to injuries.

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After infiltrating the goblin stronghold and clearing the lower levels of all enemies, they reach the top, where the leader is sitting, apparently bleeding out and close to death. It’s here, so close to victory, where the party lets its guard down, just as it did when they took down their very first goblin but didn’t cut deep enough. Despite being indoors, they neglected the fact the roof was open, and a goblin snipers puts an arrow in Mary’s back.

Dear God, not again raced through my head as I held my breath, and as the others tended to Mary, Haruhiro (who Mary is now calling “Haru”, like me, or “Hal”, depending on your translator!), goes after the sniper, who happens to have his old dagger. After a vicious struggle, he uses that dagger to deliver the killing blow, Yume slides down the roof to meet him, and the battle is over.

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I was a little worried for a second that Mary died, but part of me assumed this time she had enough magic to heal herself, and so she did. After that battle, Haru and the others acquire their badges and finally become volunteer soliders. Their first stop after this achievement is the grave of their former leader, Manato, not just to show him that they did it, but to give him his own badge as well.

During this extended scene, which I liked very much, Haru thinks a lot about what to say. He notes how he and the others didn’t actually know Manato that long; how he didn’t get to see all the sides of him, how he may have well hid many of his flaws in that time. Haru wished he could have gotten to know Manato better, as did the others, but they can take solace in the fact they were still able to become a good party without him, channeling the pain of his loss to motivate their steady improvement.

As Haru talks about how far they’ve come Ranta says something nasty out of turn and gets admonished by Yume, Shihoru cries, and Mary keeps a respectful distance, though grows closer and closer as the scene continues. It also begins to snow, covering the scenery in white, indicating this is the end of one chapter and the beginning of a fresh new one.

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After the ceremony, Haru walks Mary home (I was wrong last week about her moving in with the party right away). They lament that magic can heal wounds, but not mend clothes or hearts or erase the pain of loss. As they enter the town, he admits he knows about three friends she lost, but she’s okay with him knowing, just as he’s okay with her having a name for him–Haru–that only she uses.

Their last exchange here is infused with a fair share of romantic undertones, but more than anything its just nice to see how far these two have come since Mary first arrived on the scene. Haru has become a good leader of a good party, and Mary has found new friends and a new purpose.

I imagine the party is in store for a time of rest after gaining their badges. I also wonder if the show will ever address everyone’s past lives or the mechanism that brought them to Grimgar; not that any of that is necessary. This was Hai’s best episode, considering the careful work needed to make this such a powerful, cathartic arc conclusion.

I don’t see how it will be topped with only four left (unless a second season is forthcoming), butthat’s okay; the show could have ended right here and I would have been content. This show has already far exceeded my expectations going in; everything that’s to follow is a bonus I’ll graciously accept.

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Author: magicalchurlsukui

Preston Yamazuka is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

7 thoughts on “Hai to Gensou no Grimgar – 08”

  1. It sure was something to see how far the party grew. Mary’s improved relationship with the party was nice to see as well. I do wonder, isn’t she supposed to be calling Haruhiro Haru, not Hal? It seems like a translation error to me, but oh well.

    One thing that surprised me was how they drove home that Goblins were intelligent creatures. It really makes me wonder about the ethics of killing them like that. I mean, wasn’t it Haru’s party that started serial murdering sleeping goblins to steal their belongings? It’s one thing if Goblins were a naturally aggressive species that raided the human settlements, but that hasn’t been shown yet.

    The goblins did use some clever tactics though. I knew it was suspicious for the blue general goblin to just admit defeat like that. It was all part of last desperate plan to turn the tables.

    1. My subs said “Hal”, but she’s clearly saying “Haru”, so I’ll go with that.

      The end of the previews always mention the “Goblin’s Story” omake that are online, but I haven’t had the chance to check them out. Presumably they form some kind of sidestory form the Goblins’ POV, which only helps the show’s position as treating the goblins as far more complex than just evil monsters to be defeated by our gallant heroes.

      Then again, typically only evil people play chess in anime, AMIRITE? ;)

      1. I know right? Like that evil dastard Lelouch played Chess haha. I noticed the Goblin side story thing too, but as I can’t read moonrunes I haven’t bothered to check it out.

      2. Your blog is absolutely my go to barometer on all things good and bad with anime. But i just cant get on board %100 with this show. I could not get emotionally invested no matter how hard I tried. I couldn’t get beyond the just-a-bit-more-than 2D characters spouting empty platitudes about friendship and comradery with empty gestures about what human grief and loss is (ie, Stylized water-colour vignettes of prepubescent girls embracing each other while weeping openly to highlight the earth shattering loss of a main character we knew all of 4 episodes). I wanted to go there with them, but no go.


  2. The humanization of the goblins was a nice little touch. The three henchmen goblins playing cards, the hobgoblin taking a nap, the crossbowman playing around with the patrolling goblin, and of course the chess game. And, of course, the image of the armored goblin playing around with animals with an oddly solemn expression.

    This marks the end of Volume 1; eight episodes for a single light novel volume is honestly pretty unprecedented and the results of taking things slowly really show with how atmospheric this show has been. I’m expecting the last four episodes to adapt Volume 2; it would be feasible to adapt it all in four episodes with few cuts, as it’s shorter and much more fast paced, or to only partly adapt it.

    I can think of a few cliffhangers they could use.

    With the amount of investment there seems to be in the show, including all the insert songs, I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a second season on the way, especially since at most this cour will only adapt two volumes out of seven out.

    As far as details on the goblins, while Goblin’s Story remains untranslated, the light novel naturally has some exposition.

    “Long ago, Damroww was the Aravakia Kingdom’s second largest city, larger than Altana by far. However, when the Deathless King and his confederation took it in an attack, it became a city of the undead. Now, it was different. After the passing of the Deathless King, his former goblin slaves rebelled and drove the undead out of the city before claiming it for themselves. Damroww was now primarily goblin territory.”

    In essence, it was a human city before it was goblin territory, and their races have been actively hostile against each other for a while, so the party is arguably morally neutral in fighting against the goblins.

    “It seemed that there was a large social gap between the goblins who lived in the new part of Damroww and those who loitered around Old Town. In the fights for supremacy that occurred between the upper class goblins, those who lost were no longer considered part of the group, and were banished. In other words, Old Town was where the exile goblins lurked.”

    Furthermore, the goblins in Old Town, the area the party operates in, are scattered exiles, which is why there are no retaliatory counter attacks or an organized assault against the party. The blue armored goblin is an anomaly, taking on multiple exiled goblins under his wing and giving them home, shelter, and organization. You could call him a very good guy in that sense, but an organized party of goblins is also a threat to humanity, so… well… yeah…

    Morally murky indeed, this war between monsters and men.

    This show is also really good at handling character death and reflecting on grief.

    1. At the very least I’m glad to hear there is more source material to draw from. If it’s anywhere close to as good as the first 8 episodes I am fully on board with a second season; I’m not quite ready to leave this world yet, and still have a lot of questions about where it’s all going.

      Perhaps, since 8 episodes covered one novel, the 4 remaining could cover half of the second one, concluding in the first 4 of a second season, leaving another 8 for a third. That would be nice and neat, though I realize sometimes adapting works isn’t like Tetris :)

  3. Slow… but no padding? The slow pace reduced the archetypical nature of each character (especially Renta and the Goblins). It also grounded the world in a mundane way.

    I am concerned about the final 4. The length of pause post battle in this episode was fine but, if next week is devoted to the calm of winter and rest, it risks over playing that pause and could over burden the final 3 eps to carry some sort of narrative climax. Really, 4 episodes to set up and climax again in and of itself is concerning for any show.

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