I’d gone on record stating that Grimgar could have ended at eight episodes and I would have been perfectly content, and whatever Grimgar did in its final four weeks, it wasn’t going to mar from that first eight. I likened it to having four “bonus” episodes.
How gratifying, then, that the Cyrene Mine arc, while necessarily more rushed than the Goblin arc, turned out to be pretty damn good anyway, both by expanding on what the first eight had established and showing us a few new sides of our six party members.
When we left off last week, Haru made the sensible decision not to squander Ranta’s staying behind by attempting to rescue them in their current state. Ranta, for his part, doesn’t expect anyone to come, and ends up making some surprising allies in the livestock he mocked before.
He also summons a demon, Zodiark, who isn’t so much an ally as something annoying enough to ground him in the task at hand; the demon is constantly telling him to die-die-die, and Ranta isn’t about to accommodate it.
Meanwhile, there’s well, not dissension in the ranks, as Haru wants to go back to save Ranta, merely an argument for why to go back, from the person he least expected: Yume. Mind you, we’ve known for some time Yume and Ranta have been a bit of an item—more “charm-irritate” than “love-hate”, but to see Yume break down when she thinks about how scared she’d be in Ranta’s position, it’s more than enough to convince everyone to make a U-turn.
This isn’t bad leadership by Haru, who is determined to keep everyone alive; it’s merely good fellowship by everyone. They don’t think it’s suicide to try to save him.
Of course, while Ranta does pretty well for himself all alone, it is good his comrades return to him, because he can’t stay a step ahead of the kobolds forever. I like how not two minutes after lamenting how he never groped Yume’s boobs (guys still a piece of work!) that girl, who’d surely come to miss being called a flat-chest by him, is the one who puts an arrow in Death Spots’ eye for Ranta’s sake.
It’s also nice to be shown yet again how strong a unit everyone has become, with Mary doing some offensive work, Moguzo being his usual steamroller, and Shihoru laying epic waste with her magic, even twirling her staff and flashing a dark look. Haru’s also as quick and precise as ever, killing two kobolds with a minimum of wasted movement.
Once Ranta is safe and the party is away, they take a breather for Mary to heal Ranta, who in his elation at being saved and reunited, lets slip that he wanted to see everyone again.
He partially mentions feeling something in his chest, which Yume picks up and runs with, leaving Ranta no choice but to unleash a few more “flat-chest” remarks, spurring a bickering fest between the two until Mary (to whom Ranta’s always been submissive) lays down the law.
Both Mary and Shihoru are low on magic (I’m glad MP isn’t unlimited in this show), but Death Spots doesn’t care what condition they’re in, he’s going to keep coming.
Haru knows this, and even if they run, he could catch them, so he makes an executive decision to take the big guy on himself, giving the others time to escape, putting Ranta in charge.
When he successfully spiders the kobold king off a cliff, a panicked Mary starts to climb down in a rush to help him, but Ranta stops her (though Mary reallydoesn’t want to be stopped), then warning Haru he’d better not die.
What follows is an encapsulation of the show and the overall struggle of Haru and the others. Grimgar, like his duel with Spots, is a battle of life and death.
As long as he’s still alive, victory is in sight, so he won’t give up on trying to stay alive until he’s dead. I know, that all seems kind of obvious, but whatever!
Time slows to a crawl for Haru, who follows a stream of light with his dagger until it finds Spots’ weak spot: his other eye.
After beating Spots, Haru blacks out and collapses, but he does not die with him. Instead, he wakes up to an upbeat Mary humming to herself, then leaning in close when welcoming him back.
Everyone else is in good spirits, with Moguzo making lunch, Ranta counting the cash they made for beating the giant kobold, and planning to take his sword to a blacksmith to forge it into something more useful than a trophy.
Later, Mary puts Haru’s repaired dog tags back on him, and the weight of them make him feel like at home, which is where he now knows he is. “About time,” says Mary.
While celebrating at the tavern, Renji approaches Haru once more—to apologize. Instead, Haru, who is grateful for Renji giving him the nudge he needed, thanks him. He and Renji exchange looks of mutual respect before Ranta orders a round for the house.
Afterwards Haru visits Manato’s grave (another hauntingly beautiful, quiet scene, to ask him if being a leader was hard. Manato throws the question back at Haru, then tells him he’s grown.
He’s not the Haruhiro from the beginning of the show…but then again no one is who they were at the beginning. For one thing, they’re to a person, far more badass now. They’re also a family now.
Notably absent is any kind of explanation for how any of the party members arrived in Grimgar, nor any exploration of the lives they led or the shadows of memories from that other world they still carry. And let me be clear: I was totally okay with this.
I felt there was a possibility those things would be addressed in the finale, even if it wasn’t very likely, but I’m glad they weren’t (seeing the world almost “pause” when Haru faced Spots was a close call though). Frankly, I like the mystery; not all questions need to be answered. Not for us, and not for Haru and his comrades, either.
As the days go on and he keeps living and surviving and creating new memories with his friends, his family, he feels more and more comfortable in the world and life he’s in, and less and less concerned with the one he’s originally from.
Whatever he forgot, from that life isn’t as important as the fact he’s in this life now, with these people, in this world, and he doesn’t want to forget any of it.
A lovely ending to a visually and emotionally beautiful show with a deft touch. It marched to its own beat and demonstrated that there were still many promising veins to explore in the “Lost in a Fantasy RPG” mine.