「セカイ樹の種I」 (Sekaiju no Tane I)
“The Seed of the World Tree I”
Welcome to Makina route, or should I say, the Grisaia no Kajitsu Adopt a Classmate Foundation. It’s great! There’s a streamlined process where you receive a generous sponsorship, pick up the little girl of your choice, and are then free to engage in that completely appropriate parent/child relationship you always wanted.
And remember, all characters portrayed are over the age of 18. Of course.
Makina: twice as many episodes for your route
As I noted last week, Makina’s route is probably two episodes because they also take the opportunity to develop Yuuji’s background as well. Even in the original visual novel, The Seed of the World Tree was the one where we see most of Yuuji’s shady organisation and the sordid work he does there. This episode of the anime, Makina route though it may be, devotes a fair chunk of time to developing Yuuji, even if it just mostly narrated exposition set to a montage of Yuuji and Makina jacking Amane’s bike and going on a road trip. Most notably we see Yuuji show sentimentality for a figure of his past, the one he calls ‘master’. We don’t learn a lot (because we need to save something for the sequel), but we do learn that: she took him in, they were close, she is dead. There must be more tragedy behind that but for now it’s enough that we get some exposure to Yuuji’s relationship with his master. Considering that Makina’s story is very much about parent figures it’s important that we at least know something of Yuuji’s own.
Of course, we can’t have Makina’s route if it’s just Yuuji, and fans of her character would be pleased that we had plenty of Makina just being Makina as well. We have Makina getting being silly, Makina wielding a gun bigger than she is, Makina growing an apple tree. That last one may not seem very interesting, but this is a story called The Seed of the World Tree in an anime titled Le Fruit de le Grisaia. This stuff is obligatory. The good thing about having two episodes instead of just one is that we can have fit all that in and still have time for explosions. Yeah, people and property blow up a lot in this anime. Going by Hollywood, I guess that’s a plus.
Two episodes, however, isn’t enough to solve all of Grisaia’s troubles, even if it goes a lot of the way. It had fairly heavy narration, when it would certainly have been more interesting to be shown things like Yuuji living with his master, or Makina’s kidnapping incident. And the narrative had a reliance on convenient exposition machines like Chiziru and Yumiko to deliver knowledge into the hands of the protagonist (I do wonder though: where does Yumiko get her ‘pocket money’ these days? She’s supposed to be dead). The budget also seems to be straining a bit, especially in far shots.
Overall, though, I did ask for more episode time per route, and that’s what we’re getting, and it is a good thing. We got a lot more space to set things up before the big twist. It’s a pretty good hook too. What’s the deal with Makina’s sister, their mother, and the bombing? Why does anyone want Makina dead? What’s Yuuji going to do? I’m interested in seeing how everything’s going to be played out in the next episode. Even though I already know what’s going to happen! I can actually honestly say that I’m looking forward to next week’s episode, even if just out of curiosity, and Grisaia can chalk that up as a success for the team.
(This week, The Seed of the World Tree I. This week, Etrian Odyssey V is announced. Coincidence? I think not.)