“Are Goblin Pouches Filled with our Dreams?”
Part One – The Little Details of Everyday Life:
I think I’ve pretty much figured what Grimgar is all about. Going by these first three episodes, there is a pattern emerging, with the first part to the equation being the details of living in the fantasy world. As I’ve said before, I love a show that focuses on the little things and gives life to the world that the characters inhabit. While the actual characters aren’t the most original, the world of Grimgar feels vivid and striking. The gorgeous watercolour backgrounds do help, but being able to see the merchants at work, the characters marking their map as they go further into their quest, the little animals that wander the streets, the quest for new underwear, or the meticulous efforts that go into making breakfast – it all makes this world feel lived in. Some people may not appreciate the slow, careful pacing, but for what we’re getting in return I don’t have that much to complain about. I just hope that skeptics will not apply the 3 episode rule here, when we’re still in the beginning stages of the story.
Part Two – Perverse Tendencies:
I’ve been fairly positive with everything Grimgar, but I must bring up my one major gripe with the show, which just so happens to be second part to its formula: the prevision of teenage boys. We got a five minute conversation in the first episode that felt like it was pandering more than anything else; the second episode had the bath peeping scene, which we never actually saw occur; but this third episode dragged it out more than I would have liked. While I’m usually a fan of the simple, easygoing conversations that the characters have with one another, I found it very difficult to care about the peeing being brought up again and again. In the end, all of this is because of Ranta, who I imagine is everyone’s least favourite character at this point. Whether it’s intentional or not, his perverse tendencies are becoming tiring, especially when there’s so much more worth focusing on. Less of that, please.
One thing I do appreciate (though not that much) is how the fanservice is portrayed through Haruhiro’s eyes. There may be a few exemptions to the rule, but it struck me that all the boob and ass shots up until now have been because that is what Haruhiro is looking at. He’s not as outwardly skeevy as Ranta, but the camera does linger on certain shots for longer than I would prefer. It’s a smarter way of incorporating those scenes – rather than just shoving boobs in of a generic, limp harem protagonist – but I would much prefer if we spent less time ogling the girls’ arses and instead got to know them more as characters.
Part Three – Killing for a Living:
The final – and best – part to the Grimgar formula is murder. This isn’t your typical shonen action where fighting is cool and has us in awe. Here, violence is frowned upon. It’s a necessity to live in this world, and the characters have accepted that, but I love that their killings are framed as murder. So far they’ve only been able to take on goblins (the weakest creeps in Grimgar), and once again we saw them pounce on a defenceless goblin who was just minding his own business, sleeping in the shade of a ruined city. It’s painful to see them killed, because they clearly want to live just as much as our ‘heroes‘. It’s horrible to watch, but that’s intentional, and something that’s very rare in not just anime, but in any storytelling medium. War and violence and action is often framed as being awesome or inspiring, but once in while we get to see it for what it is, and Grimgar is capturing that perfectly.
Overview – What’s Next?:
Although I like this episode quite a bit, it was probably my least favourite of the three. We didn’t learn anything new, but rather confirmed what sort of series Grimgar is going to be. Ranta’s contributions to the series don’t have me thrilled, but there’s more than enough to keep me intrigued. By the looks of it, we’re going to meet some new characters next week, which will hopefully provide more variety than this episode offered. We can only see innocent goblins getting killed for so long…