“Crying Doesn’t Mean You’re Weak. Enduring Doesn’t Mean You’re Strong.”
Aftermath – Tears, Cuddles, and Alcohol:
This week on Grimgar we focus on the three things needed to grieve after losing a loved one: tears, cuddles, and alcohol. Last week’s episode provided the much needed shake up to keep things fresh, and as expected, this week was about the rest of the party dealing with the aftermath of losing their priest and their leader. Manato was the glue that held everyone together, and without him our trainees are right back to level 1 all over again – they couldn’t even kill a single goblin this time around. It’s pathetic to watch, but I love it! As much as I enjoy a badass action show from time to time, I’m sick and tired of focusing on elites, prodigies, or destined heroes; Haruhiro and his gang are pure fodder, and seeing them struggle and fail is more satisfying than bearing witness to convenient power-ups and plot armour.
As this episode focused almost entirely on the characters reacting to Manato’s loss, not that much actually happened. This may allow for people to once again complain about the pacing, but that’s another quality I appreciate. The only down side is that this is a 1-cour show, so we’re likely to end just when the juicy stuff begins. It happens all too often, but perhaps not as often as LN adaptations that blitz through multiple volumes to the point where the already weak prose and characterisation feels ever more stilted and condensed. Here, there’s breathing room for our characters to go the local tavern and mope around. In fact, the most action packed sequence this week was probably Haruhiro and Ranta’s argument that resulted in Mogzo’s rage. Now they know not to anger the gentle giant.
The best parts of the episode has to be the moments shared between Haruhiro and Yume. They’ve not interacted all that much (as was pointed out in this episode), but watching them both shout in each other’s faces and break down into tears was pretty powerful. It took Haruhiro all this time to finally shed tears over losing Manato – perhaps this was the moment when he realised he was truly gone and there wasn’t a quick fix to this problem. Better yet, they shared an innocent hug that felt completely natural and devoid of dodgy intentions; for once in anime, a boy and a girl hugged each other out of kindness and grief. Of course, Shihoru had to take a peak at them and freak out over it, but prior to that it was just a simple embrace that both of them needed. But in saying that, I also ship them now. I kind of did before, but now I definitely do.
The New Priest – Mary:
Perhaps the most important development in this episode is the introduction of Mary (Anzai Chika) – the replacement priest who isn’t going down too well. She’s the emotionless sort, delivering deadpan lines that don’t sit well with the rest of the party (at least she’s intimidating enough to make Ranta squirm and apologise for his behaviour). I’ve heard that she’s one of the most popular characters among LN readers, and first impressions are pretty solid. If anything, she seems way smarter than the others. They consider her refusal to play the vanguard and heal minor wounds as her being rude and incompetent, when in fact she’s right – priests are a priority target and should be away from the action, only healing when needed. It’s those mistakes that caused Manato’s downfall, but they don’t see that just yet. I’m sure the moment will come when Mary will save the team when it matters most, but for the time being she’s clearly the odd one out.
Overview – What’s Next?:
A simpler, slower, and more sombre episode than last week’s game changer. I knew we’d be getting introduced to our new healer and expected to spend most of the episode dealing with the aftermath of Manato’s death, so there was no major surprises. That being said, it’s painful to know that the cost of one’s life in the world of Grimgar is but a silver piece. Speaking of coinage, I do wish Haruhiro would have swallowed his pride and accepted Renji’s gold coin; perhaps that’s just because I’m not the sort to refuse the generosity of others (Renji appeared genuine in his intent), but I suppose it would have been too easy to take the gold and earn their badges the quick way. After all, if they’re going to survive in this world then they’re going to have to get over Manato’s death and improve, else they’ll be stuck fighting goblins for the rest of their sorry lives.