Imagine yourself waking up in a medieval town filled with people you do not know. As you gaze around, you are also surrounded by what seems to be a fantasy land filled with goblins, kobloids, and various monsters that lurk the area. You question where you are and how you arrived in this mysterious land. Unknowingly, you have just set foot in a world that will take more than raw strength alone to survive. Welcome to Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash.
Story & Characters
Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash is a fantasy series that takes a different direction compared to any other fantasy series I have seen thus far. Actually, when going into this series, I wasn’t expecting too much from it. Since DanMachi was the last fantasy I watch, which left a bad impression on me, I wasn’t expecting much. But Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash turned out to be a good series.
When it comes to both the story and characters, Grimgar excels. It does so by giving an overarching plot while focusing on the characters at the same time. Without going into spoiler territory, the premise of Grimgar is based on surviving in a fantasy world. We see this happen when characters get stronger, earn money, and work together. This may seem cut and dry at first, but it is how the series goes into the survival aspect that caught my attention. Grimgar makes sure to focus in on the fine details of how the characters are getting stronger and surviving, which is a great way to show the theme of survival. My gripe with the story is that it is a slow start, but that is only due to the series taking its time with getting to know the cast. It reminds me of Rising of the Shield Hero in terms of pacing, so if you are not fond of anime that starts off slow, then that could throw you off.
On the other hand, the characters are the important aspect of this series and is what makes this show progress. Grimgar focuses on the handful of characters we get introduced to, which include: Haruhiro the strategic thief, Yume the energetic huntress, Shihoru the shy magician, and more. Each character has their own colorful personality that adds to the story by showing how they interact with each other, grow, react to situations, and more importantly, survive. Grimgar‘s highlight, without spoiling, is the death of a certain character, which adds an important twist to the series for the better. It is after the death of that certain character when we see the cast develop even further; this is especially true for the main character, Haruhiro. We get to see how the characters deal with the death by seeing them cry, becoming stronger, and moving on. Even with the addition of Mary to the cast, Grimgar does not stop focusing on the characters.
Art & Animation
If I had to describe the art in just two words, I would use beyond gorgeous. From the character designs to the backgrounds, plants, water, and even the landscape, it all looks fantastic. It appears as if it was painted by hand instead of drawn and the coloring adds a nice shine to it. The art is so good, I even questioned if I was watching a Studio Ghibli film at one point. The amount of detail that went into it was eye-catching and added to my overall enjoyment of Grimgar. I will even go as far as to say it is the best-looking fantasy series I have seen in a long time. The character designs themselves are also memorable and give off that vibe of fantasy. If there are any gripes I have with the character designs, it would be the fan service. Showcasing Yume’s butt, Shihoru’s boobs, and even Mary’s legs can be distracting, but despite that, it is not the tasteless fanservice that is shown so often in this day and age.
The animation, although weaker compared to the art, is not bad either. Animations are fluid in moments when scenes of action are taking place, but it is best in moments where characters are interacting with each other. This is proven when movements such as eye contact, body language, and facial expressions are taking place, making the characters and interactions feel real.
Final Thoughts & Score
Overall, Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash is a very good series and I highly recommend it. It uses fantasy in a realistic way and adds depth to its characters and story. With the art and music in mind, it not only looks great but sounds pleasant as well. I feel this anime could very well be the best fantasy series of 2016 as I have not seen anything so appealing since Yuki Yuna is a Hero or Cardcaptor Sakura. Again, since Grimgar has a slow start, it may take a while to get into it, but once you do, you are in for a ride!
- Amazing Art
- Music Is Pleasant
- Handles Character Development Well
- Story Is a Slow Start
- Fan Service Scenes Are Distracting
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