Anime Review: Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash (Winter 2016)

Ranta, Yume, Moguzo, Haruhiro, Shihoru, Manato
Hai to Gensou no Grimgar (Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash)
Episodes 12
Aired: Jan 11, 2016 to Mar 28, 2016
Studios: A-1 Pictures
Producers: Toho Company
My anime list - here
24min per ep. 

I recently watch this series and I must say, so far, is one of my favourite animes. Well I didn't watch that many but I really like it.

This anime, follows a group of people as they arrive from somewhere. It is hinted that maybe they are not from this world and they came from some videogame. The are a lot of movies that deal with this. Log Horizon, Overlord (I've watch the first season, don't know if they are getting a second) or Sword Art Online.

I can only speak for Ovelord and in that anime, it's very focus on action and our main protagonist is almost a god. In this one it's quite the opposite. They have no recollection of memories apart from some words that they don't even understand what they mean...
First battle... They are not fighting material from the start... 6 vs 1 goblin 

So, this big group divides and six of them remain and form a team. Manato, Haruhiro, Ranta, Yume, Mogzo, and Shihoru. In the first few episodes we saw them fight some goblins and barely staying alive and as they defeated them they learn new techniques and such (Imagine a RPG of some sorts). One other interesting thing is that each of them chose a proficient. Haruhiro became a thief,  Yume becomes a hunter (Ranger?), Mogzo becomes a fight, Shihoru a mage and Ranta becomes a dark knight. In the end Manato becomes a priest to heal them.

The 12 episodes focus on the characters. Everything is characterization centered. They all evolve in some way, but mainly Haruhiro and Ranta and Mary (Merry?) that joins the part around 5/6 episode. Of them all the only one I don't see any change was Mogzo. He barely speaks. Shihoru changes but mainly in combat.

About the plot...

The purpose is as they killed and earn money they will be granted a badge of being a soldier.  They start hunting lonely goblins and then two and three. After they learn some more skills they go to a abandoned city full of goblins. There, in episode 4 Manato, their leader & priest die. Most of that episode and the later are fill with memories and their cooping with it. Mary joins the party as a priest (albeit as cold as a ice cube).
Everyone fights...

Later episodes deal with Mary and the reason why she keeps herself at distance from the rest of the party. Later they revenge Manato, some beatiful fighting scenes and move to the mines to fight the kobolds. There Mary must confront a beast that killed most her party.

In the last couple of ep's we see something change in Ranta and most of all of Haruhiro that had become the new leader but didn't had the confidence.
The story ends when Haruhiro, being apart from the rest of the party kills Death Spots (a gigantic kobold) that had killed Mary party.
Mary & Haruhiro

This series weren't made for twelve ep's. I think this series should had 24 at least (a second season). I read a review that adviced that this animes should be seen on ep every week or 3 or 4 days. I did it and I know that if I had seen it in one or two times the series wouldn't have that much impact. No episode ends with a cliffhanger but every episode gives you some adrenaline or at least a almost physical drain. I think I am alergic to it because some of this episodes made my eyes watery... A couple of episodes, for several minutes a piece, there is only music (beautiful music) and some fantastic watercolour images. Visually every episode is an work of art.

About the characters....
As I said before our main protagonist is Haruhiro. Most of the episodes have some monologue of him. His class is Thief. He has some interesting connections with Yume (which we all think of some love interest), Manato who he looks up to, Ranta which he is probably the only one who can talk to him and afterwards Mary who he starts to develop a possible love. After Manato dies he becomes the leader and he has some interesting dialogues with the deceased because he doesn't know what to do or how to behave. Eventually he tries to make Mary part of the group and at the same time he start paying more attention to his companions. The two last episodes he realizes that everyone looks up to him and trust him as a leader.
Manato dies...

Then, you've got Yume. A interesting girl that from the start has some friendship with Haruhiro. At some point it's hinted that maybe Haruhiro and her feel something more but later on when Mary arrives that love interest dissapaer and mainly she gets upset to Ranta.

Shihoru is a Mage and a shy personality. She mainly talks to Yume and later on, right before he dies, to Manato. She was the one who suffered more with her dead. Yume try to make her talk with the group. In battles she is protected by Mary. In the last two episodes she becomes a powerful mage.

Ranta is Dark Knight. He is brash and the first to attack everything that moves. He is a bit perverted and has calls Yume flat-chested but there is a love-hate relantionship there.. (seen in the last episode when he goes missing). He is arrogant but in the last two episodes, after arguing every episode with Haruhiro, becomes a little more relaxed and acknoledges Haruhiro leadership. In one episode when they rest he goes fishing (quite the opposite of always-action-Ranta.

Moguzo is a warrior and has a sword bigger than the other characters. They all upgrade their armor and weapons after Moguzo because he is tank of the team. He is the cook of the team and makes some wooden figurines. He is soft, probably more than Shihoru but in the battle he is a devil screaming "Thank You" before killing some beast.

Manato became a priest and leader of the party. He read the rest of the group like noone and become a good strategist. He died in a town infested by goblins after receiving a arrow in the back. Haruhiro says in several episodes that he misses him and because he could be a defensive and offensive tank.

Mary (Merri?)
Joining shortly after Manato's death because every party need a priest to heal wounds. But she had a different approach from Manato. She doesn't heal light wounds saying that she needs to more complicated wounds and she stays in the back protecting Shihoru. There are a lot of friction between her and the rest of the party. After learning what happened to her the party was able to integrate her (well, she lets herself being integrated). Mary and Haruhiro has some close relantionship. We don't see anything romantic BUT....

About ART/OST and Episode...
This anime's art is amazing. Beautiful watercolours/pastel, slow pace - this anime is slow but never dull. At times, in some episodes a music entered with full minutes of nothing happening. Basically do gives us time to think things over - to built up the drama. This series needed a second season...
Haruhiro and Mary... KISSS DAMN YOU!

Some negative points...
- Moguzo dies... I really enjoy him
- It was rush ending that make me think what were they thinking about it. In hollywood before a season one is completed the news of a second season arrives. Here is not that simple. They must do the full season and then if the sales are there a new season is given - which means that every series must end like a possible final end.
- Some repetitive moments...
- From where they came was never explained (the anime ends with the all the bar screaming "Australia".

Good points...
- Besides Mary every single character is clumsy damsel (in the beginning - they later improve and become powerful) In contrast of other animes they have already all the powers the rule.
- It has some interesting slow building pace
- It focus on the characters development 
- It felt a videogame but not as much as Overlord
- Haruhiro develops
- Beautiful crafted art (pastel like)
- Original use of OST
- Interesting fighting scenes
- The girls have breasts but are not OVER breasted :P
- Some of episodes deal with rest (when did you last heard of it?), bought armour and weapons, sleep, baking and most episodes end with them in the inn talking.
This is the most naked you're going to see here... (Haruhiro Teacher) 

12 Named Episodes
1) "Whisper, Chant, Prayer, Awaken"
2) "Long Day of the Trainee Volunteer Soldier"
3) "Are Goblin Pouches Filled with our Dreams?"
4) "Sky Dancing with Ash"
5) "Crying Doesn't Mean You're Weak. Enduring Doesn't Mean You're Strong."
6) "Her Circumstances"
7) "They Were Called Goblin Slayers"
8) "In My Memories with You"
9) "How to Rest"
10) "I'm Not Fit to Be a Leader"
11) "Between Life and Death" 
12) "See You Tomorrow..."

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