Grimgar feels personal. I’ve written about 4 or 5 introductions at this point explaining the background of this show, why Light Novels are assumed to be bad nowadays, how surprising this show was to everyone, but none of them really feel like they do this show as much justice as this sentence. No, “it feels personal” really doesn’t say much at all, but it’s the wording that fits my thoughts on the show the best and in a way, trying to put these odd feelings I can’t explain properly into words is the point of this blog anyway, so here’s my try to explain my love for Hai to Gensou no Grimgar.
I’ve always had a weakness for slowly moving character driven shows. Glasslip has long been a show I’m very fond of, despite all the flak it tends to get. Relaxing shows like Non Non Biyori often manage to put a smile on my face just through it’s incredibly calming atmosphere and Soundtrack. Grimgar is very different from those two, but the effect it has on me in places can be very similar. It’s calm and somber acoustic guitar or it’s slow piano pieces it uses coupled with it’s gorgeous visuals to accompany casual talk within the group, the lack of any music at all in some scenes, completely relying on the sounds of nature, all of it contributes to a certain sense of atmosphere the show gives off and in a way, makes it extremely calming.
Of course the atmosphere alone can’t carry the show to the point it’s at right now. A major strength of Grimgar lies in it’s dialogue. It manages to convey it’s lines with a sense of realism, not only in it’s superb voice acting, but especially in it’s writing. It’s exposition is easy on the ears and doesn’t bore the viewer in the slightest. It always stays convincing and except for certain moments revolving around the words “Ranta” and “fanservice”, it’s always relevant, adding more to the characters, advancing the relationship between the party members or even just showing us how they feel. It’s never too over the top, never to cliche, but simply believable.
In fact “believable” is how I’d describe most of our main cast as well. I say most, as there are still several characters, that I feel like need much more attention. That said, the others make more than up for it. This may surprise a little, but as a character I feel like Ranta, at the very least in parts, is fantastic. Whenever he isn’t busy being the worst thing about Grimgar, he actually does display much more character than I expected him to. His reactions to killing a Goblin, his outburst against Haru in episode 5, all show that there’s a lot more behind him than the annoying goofball he seems to be. In a way he’s my biggest complain with the show, but at the same time, I can’t help but like him as a character.
And then there’s of course the two I have to talk about. When I say I believe the characters in Grimgar to be believable, Yume and Haruhiro are the two standing out from the rest. Besides Yume being one of my favorite things to have come out of Anime these past few seasons and one of the most generally fun characters to be around, her relationship specifically to Haru is special. The show goes out of it’s way to build up a friendship between these two specifically from the very start. They are the ones first talking about the peeping incident, they are the ones initiating talk about all kinds of topics in the group and they are the ones sharing the most intimate and emotional moment in the entire series thus far. The chemistry in how the two talk to another is simply brilliant and absolute bliss to follow.
The other relationship within the series that works similarly well is the one between Manato and Haruhiro. Their nightly talks are some of my personal highlights of each episode. They feature some of the most interesting dialogue, let us learn a lot about the two as characters and have some of the best use of the atmosphere I was talking about at the start of this post. They are a huge part of what made the drama later on as impactful as it has been.
These relationships are a big part of what I mean when I call the characters “believable”. They feel natural in how they talk to each other, their interactions don’t seem to be happening for the sake of advancing the story, but simply because it was how a real conversation between these people would unfold. I can’t say this for every one of the characters sadly, but at least for some of them and their interactions, the cast of Grimgar just simply feels real or rather “personal” and that is one of the biggest parts as what made me fall in love with it in the first place.
Grimgar isn’t what anyone expected it to be. It’s not the crappy Light Novel adaptation people were thinking of when it was first announced. It’s not an action heavy fantasy series, but a slow, character focused and considerate piece about a group of people trying to get through the hardships of life and survive in a world completely foreign to them. It’s atmospheric, it’s calming and yet can be incredibly emotional. Admittedly It’s not perfect and there are a few parts I wish didn’t exist, but that in no way to me discredits the parts Grimgar shines in, as where the show shines, it shines very brightly.