「甘い食生活」 (Amai Shokuseikatsu)
Just when I was thinking that the autumn anime season has been fairly tame in the ecchi department, in jumps Grisaia no Kajitsu to fill that niche with gusto. From the outright scandalous to innocently explicit innuendo and everything in between, it’s like someone on the production staff decided it was about time they earned their R rating. High school setting aside, we’ve gotten very adult very quickly and if any of you were still considering doing family bonding with your kids over anime then…well, I guess Le Fruit de la Grisaia isn’t the show for that. Have I made myself clear yet? While there exists a sanitised, PS Vita version of the visual novel, this anime is not it. There will be sex! Drugs! Rock ‘n roll! Oh, the humanity! Won’t someone think of the children?
Crude comedy aside, the rest of this episode jumped all over the place, seemingly in a hurry to get through the common route. While last episode focused on Yumiko with a side helping of Makina, this week the focus turns on the other three girls, so that everybody gets a turn. I suppose Yumiko is finally on nominally cordial speaking terms with Yuuji and Makina has been converted into a loyal grunt, so the first part of their development is nominally done. Of the three remaining haremettes it is Amane who gets the most focus, and not just because of her rampaging hormones. Like in the visual novel, she guns very hard for Yuuji (or perhaps just his pants) right out the gate, and manages a confession this episode. All just to get some guy to call you Onee-chan. That’s some progress, I guess. Congratulations! Marzipan!
For Michiru and Sachi, they get their screen time mostly through comedy skits. Michiru is still silly, but now she’s silly with a cat, and if the internet has proven anything it’s that people never get sick of cats. She’s also uncannily sharp and even helpful sometimes, but of course she’s not doing it for your sake, baka. I did enjoy Yuuji actually needing help; it’s refreshing seeing the unflappable Yuuji just doing goof once in a while. Sagara Sousuke was definitely funniest as the butt of jokes. No character can just be allowed to go around being flawless for too long. Make them suffer! Get pie in their faces! Keep them mortal. That said, I don’t actually see what Yuuji’s problem was; Sachi is an arts-and-crafts savant. You’ve got to admit: sharks are definitely the cutest epipelagic, man eating, non-mammal apex predators in the sea. At the very least, they’re cute by association. Remember: you can’t spell Selachii without Sachi.
Peeking outside the garden – looking holistically
Since this is episode three already, it’s time to pass some judgments. So far, Le Fruit de la Grisaia has, in my opinion, been done solidly enough. Visually, the series may not have been animated with the same technical prowess as some other studios (I swear, ufotable is just showing off sometimes) but there’s evidently some money in the budget, which compensates. There’s some art inconsistencies here and there (especially in far shots) but nothing’s anatomically grotesque, and a few shortcuts are necessary and forgivable. What may divide the audience the most, though, is the level of fanservice, ramped up to Naughty Titillation levels this episode. On my part, it feels like Le Fruit de la Grisaia is selling itself a bit too hard to the lowest common denominator here. Sure, the original VN was also very risque—being an eroge and all—but that stuff always felt rather distracting. If you can port your entire game to the Vita and remove all the sex then it just goes to show, it wasn’t really all that necessary in the first place. To lean on it again shows a lack of self-confidence, perhaps. Or maybe they just want a very faithful adaptation. The lowbrow humour has still been all in good fun, so you don’t have to mind it either way, but your mileage is going to vary on this one.
As for our progress through the plot, believe it or not the entire first aid scene with Amane occurs relatively early on in the common route in the VN. So we’re about half-way through. On one hand I want to tell them not to rush it (this episode felt a bit rushed, to me) but on the other I understand that there’s a lot of material to get through. It’s a difficult balance; development is an intrinsically slow process, but Le Fruit de la Grisaia, as the first of a trilogy, is pretty much all about development. Having already read the VN I can’t really tell for sure when the anime has done enough, so I’ll need second opinions on that one. There’s still some fairly important things they need to cover before they should divert into a character route (assuming a linear progression), so I doubt we’ll dive into those just yet. They’ve managed to keep my attention so far, even in the common route. Let’s hope the staff has a good game plan to work with from here.
ED: 「あなたの愛した世界」 (Anata no Aishita Sekai) by 南條愛乃 (Nanjou Yoshino)