OP: 「楽園の翼」 (Rakuen no Tsubasa) by 黒崎真音 (Kurosaki Maon)
「スクールキラー由美子」 (Sukūru Kirā Yumiko)
“School Killer Yumiko”
In keeping with the original visual novel, this week’s episode of Grisaia no Kajitsu is devoted mostly to character development, primarily Yumiko and secondarily Makina. The other girls get some useful screen-time as well—notably Amane being a shameless flirt and Michiru being silly—but narrowing the focus onto only three characters (including Yuuji, of course) keeps us from being overloaded with too much information too quickly. We do get a new character introduction though: one Julia ‘JB’ Bardera (Narumi Erika), who’s so blonde that even her gaudy CGI car is yellow (and it’s her car that gets theme music, not her). JB offers some more hints into Yuuji’s background, which builds his image of being shadier than Mossad during an eclipse. Although that’s pretty obvious to us, it’s not to Yuuji’s classmates—Yumiko can only suspect after her own sources fail to dig up any dirt. What Yuuji actually is will probably be less interesting than the reactions of his peers if and when they find out.
On Irisu Makina
Yuuji bonds with Makina rather quickly—it’s only episode 02 and he’s already achieved ‘Onii-chan’ status. Makina was initially presented as an introvertedly shy type, but she evidently imprints quickly. So she’s childish, but I’m sure you didn’t need me to tell you that. I think Makina is used here to contrast with Yumiko—even hamster-girl Makina got used to Yuuji. Yumiko could not. That said, there’s certainly more to Makina, which we may see in the future.
With her initial development seen to, Makina moves to a comic relief role, showing no respect for the 4th wall as she does so. I do enjoy jokes like that, so I have no complaints. What I do have complaints about, though, is her apple. Will anyone ever make more than a dent into this eternally fresh apple? It’s a magic pudding. A gift that keeps on giving.
On Sakaki Yumiko
Speaking of comic relief, Yumiko also gets provide some. Well, aggravated assault, comic relief—they’re pretty much the same thing, right? You know what they say: it’s funny until somebody gets hurt—and then it’s hilarious! I was actually rooting for Yumiko to actually succeed in shanking Yuuji, even though I knew it wasn’t going to happen. It’d simply be more interesting, is all. Well, I guess Yumiko has other victories. For example, she finally gets her own panty shot! That’s everybody! Yay!
…Why, Japan, why?
In any case, Yumiko is actually surprisingly dull for a homicidal maniac. In a word, she’s insecure; she’s not a bad girl (by the way, watch them push that fruit motif), she simply has a very limited comfort zone. So I suppose being able to part ways with Yuuji and put the boxcutter away is already quite an achievement for her. Of course, a small comfort zone does not really justify being locked up in the lonesome Mihama Academy. I’m sure we’ll see more of Yumiko’s circumstances, considering her prominence in the OP.
Peeking outside the garden
Grisaia no Kajitsu has so far been rather faithful to its source, most notably in its aesthetics. It even uses the same chibi style as the original visual novel for certain comedy scenes. It’s more of a mood shift here in the anime since the VN is more visually limited, but I suppose it does mix things up a bit. Glasslip also swung into chibi-mode out of the blue now and then, and that anime ended up being a rather disjointed experience. I’ll have to see more of how Grisaia uses it to pass judgment.
While the aesthetics are sometimes eerily similar, the narrative seems to have had some changes. For examples, those scenes at the end about Yumiko, and about the other girls joining her at Mihama one by one. It’s the kind of heartwarming scene that may feel a bit early for episode 02, but it does reinforce the characters’ idiosyncrasies somewhat. I don’t remember anything exactly like it in the VN, but then again I don’t remember much of anything in general so I may need to check again. I won’t really mind either way, since adaptations should feel free to play around with its source. The best adaptations add to the experience instead of simply translating it. For example, the Grisaia anime has been able to add more detail to the Mihama grounds, and it was a lot fancier than I had given it credit for, so that’s a plus for me. A minus, however, would be distractingly voyeuristic camera. When the camera tries so hard to angle glimpses under girls’ skirts we start to think of it less as our point-of-view and more as something piloted by somebody. It draws attention to the man behind the curtain, so to speak. That breaks immersion in a bad way. It’s not a gross violation, but I do wish they’d ease it off a bit.
Otherwise, we still haven’t seen much of the adaptation strategy for Grisaia, as at episode 02 we’re still in the Common Route, and that’s mostly straightforward. The OP, though, does give some hints. Is Yumiko going to be the main girl? It wouldn’t be my choice—I don’t think Grisaia should necessarily have a main girl at this point—but it all comes down to execution in the end. We’ll probably need several more episodes until we can tell.
Full-length images: 06.
ED: 「Eden’s Song」 by はな (Hana)