“Between Life and Death”
Mary and her Encounter with the Undead:
I distinctively remember the undead being brought up – either in the first episode, the episode when Manato died, or both – and thinking it would end up being relevant to the story. And that’s exactly what happened. The three-day rule took effect with Mary’s old friends, and in a turn of events that I wasn’t expecting, she had to ‘cleanse‘ them out of this world. I thought this episode was going to focus entirely on their battle with the kobolds, but this was much better, allowing Mary’s arc to reach a natural ending as she gets to do what she’s wanted to all along.
We got a brief glimpse of her easygoing life with her old party, which had somewhat similar dynamics to her current one. It was a sweet start to the episode, yet by the end of it I couldn’t help but wish these characters were still alive so we could see more of their adventures together. Instead, we see Mary take them on one by one, embrace them in a hug, and giving them all a final farewell. Considering we know next to nothing about these characters, it’s impressive that I got a little emotional over Mary’s scenes with them – I wasn’t quite balling my eyes up, but I felt for her in that moment and was glad she was able to remain strong and get the job done. I’m sure them being undead has weakened them considerably, but the fact that everyone could hold them off while Mary did what she had to do goes to show how much they’ve improved over these 11 episodes. It may have been a slow journey, but it was definitely a deserved and fulfilling one.
Surprising Developments – Ranta Left Behind:
And suddenly, Moria! The second half of the episode was what I expected the whole thing would be, yet it also managed to surprise me. I’ve got to be honest and say I didn’t expect a chase scene through the inner parts of the Kobold Mine to have a distinct Lord of the Rings flavour to it. Perhaps that was director Nakamura Ryousuke’s inspiration? If not, talk about coincidences. The good thing about this is LOTR is awesome (The Hobbit not so much – though I adore the book!) and that translated here. While the art wasn’t as impressive as it could have been – a quick look at the staff list shows an abundance of animation directors, which indicates things were probably crazy behind the scenes; imagine Musashino Animation at their most chaotic – the tension was high and there was a real sense of danger, as Grimgar has successfully maintained throughout its run.
Perhaps most shocking was how Ranta wasn’t a complete asshole this week. In fact, I quite liked his scenes. It almost seems like Haru’s worries were a red herring, though I still think Ranta has a lot to work on. But he was fine here, co-operating with his team and sacrificing himself in order to save Haru. I joked that perhaps someone would die Manato style, but do we really think this is the end of Ranta? I’d say no, and not only because he shows up in the preview, but because I think we’re going to go for a happy ending here, and Ranta dying like that, while heroic, wouldn’t be for the best. As annoying as he can be, this hints to him getting proper development in future. Whether or not we’ll actually see those developments in a second season is unknown – though Grimgar is one of the better selling titles of this Winter season, so there may be hope.
Overview – What’s Next?:
I had my expectations going into this episode, but nothing that I thought would happen actually happened. We got a few surprises: completing Mary’s character arc, and hinting at Ranta’s developments. The team is still unpolished when it comes to combat, but seeing them flee the with desperation made for the most thrilling episode since Manato’s death. Let’s see what next week brings. It only feels like a few weeks ago that I started blogging this…