“See You Tomorrow…”

「また明日」 (Mataashita)

The Kobold Showdown:

All things considered, this is likely the best possible finale we could have hoped for. Ranta being left behind with the kobolds could have gone many ways, but I’m actually glad he didn’t die. In fact, he wasn’t in trouble for that long at all; I don’t know how exactly he got out of that predicament he was in, but it made for an enjoyable chase sequence and warm reunion – though the Ranta/Yume scenes were a hit or miss. I can’t quite tell whether these two hate or love each other, so I’ll leave that for the shippers to decide.

Haru being the one caught out is much more interesting. For one, Haru is more likeable than Ranta, and so it’s much easier to root for him, to hope that he makes it out of that dangerous spot. Also, his fighting style is pretty slick. If there was one good thing that came out of his scenes with his teacher, it would be making his ‘visions‘ (if you could call them that) seem like a pretty big deal. It could just be because of his class, but perhaps this hints to him having a greater power. Either way, it’s damn cool, and him taking out the Big Bad Kobold like that was incredibly satisfying.

However, if there is one low point in all of this, it would have to be the fact that the killing scene wasn’t animated at all. If there was ever an oppertunity for the production to collapse and just use the rough drafts instead of the final cuts, it was here – the lights were dim, the colours simple, and for a moment it almost seemed intentional. It’s too bad it wasn’t, but at least they picked the best possible moment to not animate something. Still, it was a nice scene that allowed Haru to prove his own strength rather than forever focus on him embracing a leadership role.

Happily Ever After:

I’m glad we got a happy ending: everyone survived, they got a ridiculous bounty, life is awesome, everyone is getting drunk at the tavern shouting, “Australia!” – it’s good fun and I couldn’t help but smile throughout the scenes (like how Mary now smiles after getting the closure she always desired). While another character dying would have been exciting, and perhaps believable given their situation, I don’t think we needed another Manato situation just yet. Ranta may be a bit of a dick, but he didn’t deserve to die, like some were predicting.

If I had to pick a favourite scene from this final episode, it’d have to be Mary by Haru’s bedside. This ship has well and truly sailed, and I love it. I was for Haru/Yume back when they shared that moment of grief and embraced in a non-sexual way, which made the scene all the more powerful. But it’s clear that Haru and Mary are the One True Pair of Grimgar. Their scenes have been consistently great, their parallel arcs balancing well, and their chemistry is through the roof. I said before that I don’t think we’d see any real romance from the cast, but I wouldn’t mind something like that between these two.

Overview – Final Impressions:

And just like that, Grimgar has reached its end. But with so much left to explore, I doubt it will be the last we see of it. A few weeks ago I wouldn’t have been so hopeful, but it seems like Grimgar has ended up one of the better selling titles this season (though almost everything sold really bad). The possibility still remains that we may never see a sequel, but I’m going to be hopeful, if only because the series deserves it. This feels like the beginning of a much greater story, and I want to see where these characters go from here. They’ve got a rough road ahead of them, but that sense of realistic violence and looming fear of death has been one of the major factors to Grimgar’s success.

It was initially assumed that Grimgar would be the next Sword Art Online, but after at least five minutes it became clear that Grimgar was a different sort of series. You could point to the fanservice as a weakness, and that Ranta was irritating for 90% of his scenes, but it seemed to me that Grimgar cared for its characters – it made them suffer, for sure, but that was all to prove how dangerous their newfound world truly was. The fight scenes were bloody and clumsy, making us feel sympathy for the (seemingly) innocent goblins caught off guard. I wouldn’t class this series as ‘action’, but very few action anime treat death with the ugliness it deserves, which was conveyed brilliantly here.

The final part to Grimgar’s charm would be the slice of life scenes. The insert songs were aplenty, and many did not care for them, but I didn’t mind them one bit. Perhaps fans of these sort of LN adaptations just aren’t used to this slow pacing and so much care being put into the finer details. Although we only saw a town, some forests, an abandoned city, and a kobold mine, this world felt like a real lived-in place. I’d go as far as to say Grimgar was the MMO-inspired anime that I’ve been waiting for all these years. I can only hope that there is more yet to come, as ending here is like logging out of your game just when you’ve reached level 12. There’s so much more to uncover, so hopefully this does not the true ‘THE END’.


    1. Thank you for reading and enjoying my posts! Grimgar isn’t perfect, but I’d say it’s perhaps the of its kind. It ended up a much better show than many thought it would be.

    1. When Barbara said “don’t get cocky, all thieves get those visions”, the way she warned him made it sound those were actually rare. Like “Yeah, I got those once or twice … in my lifetime”.

    2. Actually she said that every thief gets that vision so it’s not exactly something “special” but it’s something unpredictable and supposedly rarer than what Haru experiences.

      Then again if your thinking game mechanics, it’s likely a “mastery” thing and perhaps tied into the enemy you’re fighting so when you think about it the number of times Haru sees it is likely because they get stuck fighting the same type of monster over and over whereas other parties would likely move on long ago

    3. Did she? I’m not gonna lie, I probably wasn’t listening to whatever exposition she was dumping, but that sounds about right. I like that Haru isn’t The Chosen One, but it would still be neat if there were more to his powers than meets the eye.

    1. His demon is essentially a mean-spirited Navi. No wonder Ranta is such an arse so much of the time. Gotta work out that frustration with his own personal Navi after all.

    1. I always had a feeling that Mary is somehow older than the rest of them. Not that it matters but I would still ship her and Haru. I already had an intense desire to do so ever since that scene when the two were walking back together while it was snowing. It’s like the Grimgal god just said, “I PAIR THESE TWO. LET THERE BE BEAUTIFUL SNOW.” I totally agreed.

  1. Much better than I expected it to be. I would love a second season. Though I am afraid the story may become….how should I say it, just the same as it was before, with only deaths enticing the plot and keeping us interested. Because for as lovable the characters (Ranta is still debatable) and the setting are, the story didn’t have a clear destination. There is no “ultimate price”, “a way out of this cruel and dangerous world”, or just a light at the end of the tunnel. There is a goal for the characters (survival, even though it’s quite simple), but not for the story. And, to me personally, that is one type of story I have no hope for, no matter how great the other elements are. Just like The Walking Dead, where the only clear destination is death (because you know every hopeful utopia its characters find gets ruined). I want something more. Something that will give me hope for a more favorable outcome for the characters than just survive and live for another day. Don’t get me wrong, I love the characters, their struggles and their interactions. However, without a destination, perhaps even they will feel that they want more out of their world. I think that was evidenced by how Hal (I just love calling him that name. Thanks Mary 😉 ) said eventually they’d be bored of hunting in just one area. Or it could be just a purely character-driven story and I rambled needlessly here. Now I could be wrong, in which case anyone with knowledge of the LNs is welcome to enlighten me.

    But nonetheless, it sure was a pleasant ride. Everyone felt real (yes, even Ranta), developed so well and they made me want to root for them. However, when it comes down to just one character, I have to say my favorite is Mary. She was the one most affected by this world and its inhabitants, and it changed her personality from bright, to apathetic and calm and calculating, and back again to bright. I loved her interactions with everyone, even the negative ones when she was first introduced because they were understandable, and she didn’t let them get in the way of her work protecting and helping her teammates. It’s kinda strange how she could steal my heart even though she wasn’t introduced from the very first episode. And yes, HalxMary FTW!
    But, I have to give some words to Hal as well. It was so surprising, the amount of development he had as a result of everything that happened to them, particularly Manato’s death. And I admired all of it. He developed as an individual and as a leader. And just as a cool guy.

    So yeah, I would love a second season. The show was so satisfying to look at, listen to, and just plain enjoy. One of the highlights of the winter season.

    1. And yet Death Spots did not spout sarcasm? Missed opportunity there. I like to hear him remark about the piss poor Moguzo attacks, complain about the arrow in the eye and generally being disgruntled about the adventurers who keep invading his turf.

      1. I guess none of you watched Sore ga Seiyuu? A Voice Actor can voice a role other than the one they were billed for. Sugita was billed for Renji, and probably was around when they were making Death Spot’s scenes and he did too.

  2. Okay fine Grimgar, ship HaruxMary if you must. But good god, don’t force us to accept RantaxYume. DX

    I’d definitely love a second season of this… one with hopefully a higher budget, since this season’s clearly ran out right at the end. I’ll have to sit on this ending for a few days before I decide if I want to dip into the LNs or just hold out hope for more anime.

  3. For those interested in what happens next, here’s plot summaries of Grimgar Vols 3-8(8’s the latest). Spoilers plenty!

    The later volumes introduce important worldbuilding for Grimgar’s universe. Show Spoiler ▼

  4. Congrats Haruhiro, you graduated from ‘sure critical hit’ to ‘mystical eyes of death perception’. Because seriously, between killing the giant kobold, and cutting itsgient cleaver with your comparatively tiny dagger…

    On minor notes :
    – Ranta’s helmet – fail
    – Shihoru looking badass – HAWT!
    – Mary not just smiling but laughing – nngggg….

    weird d
  5. Ep 12 comments: I was wondering how Ranta would escape a tough predicament, and the answer is… “he just does”. Not the most satisfying resolution. However limited time to wrap things up so fine, I’ll play along. I did like how the early parts played out with Ranta trying to hide, and how the noise/battle from him being discovered alerted the rest of the party to his location because I was wondering how they would find him. Much better than “they just do”. The party’s battle with Death Spots was pretty good though it seemed to me that Yume and Shihoru got a bit of an unexpected power-up this fight (Shihoru in particular). Eh, close enough/not a big deal. I liked the retreat as well since it makes perfect sense with a battered and bruised party.

    I disagree with Samu regarding what followed. Haru vs. Death Spots (“DS”) for me was UNsatisfying. I commented previously that I hoped the anime would explain the “light paths of death” better. Unless I missed something, it didn’t. From an LN reader comment, evidently (if I understand correctly), they are just that. Follow the “paths” for a sure-fire kill (reminds me of the lines of death from Shingetsutan Tsukihime). My understanding is that every adventurer sees them off & on, but sure did seem to me that the anime (perhaps series) set out to make Haru a “special snowflake”. He alone and injured does what neither the party could do, Mary’s old party could do, or what I imagine other parties could do.

    Even the presentation was sub-par IMO. It was not animated well for one thing. It was also surprisingly over-the-top (OTT) shounen for a show which didn’t feature much (if any) of that. To me it went against what this series seems to be about – party success with “normal” people rather than an op/hax ML protagonist. They struggle, sometimes fail, get injured (even killed) and retreat. Instead Haru channels his inner Kirito (SAO) to dispatch DS in pure perfunctory fashion. Not only are we going mano a’ giant mutant death kobold, but the boss gets stronger when injured for a little extra OTT. Now let’s have Haru even more battered (incl. broken wrist/forearm simply bandaged).

    In the end, all of that means nothing. He just literally runs up Death Spots body (because I guess Haru’s got super-speed now), and stabs DS in the eye in a perfectly perfunctory manner. But for some reason that doesn’t kill DS (DS’s brain too small for Haru’s small dagger to reach?). IDK – not “dramatic”/OTT enough? At any rate, still following the “paths of light”, Haru somehow manages to break DS’s giant sword resulting in the top half conveniently, very conveniently, flying directly back into Death Spots with enough force to skewer and kill him/it. Kirito Haru finally falls unconscious, completely exhausted. Bleh.

    Worse, the show played the same bad (IMO) “Here we go again!” card it already used with Mary and the goblins. Back then it was “Oh no! The same exact thing is happening when Manato got killed… NOT!” Here it’s a very pointed throw back to what happened with Mary’s party. You’re not fooling anyone, show, especially the second time around. It reminds me of when Aldnoah Zero would “kill” the princess… like three times… and she never died. Not good storytelling IMO, but rather a cheap, increasingly ineffective way to create false tension. Look, there was already plenty of good, natural tension when the party faced Death Spots together. If we must make Haru a “special snowflake”, then fine, give him the death blow (just stab DS in the base of the skull or cut his jugular rather than this broken sword nonsense), but make it more of a team effort. I think that fits better with the show rather than falling back on OTT shounen styling.

    The rest was OK – very much in line with what the show has been like, including yet another visit by Manato’s ghost because he’s never going to RIP. Ever. *sigh* Lastly, right at the end we got “Oh yeah, I’m not from here. Probably want to remember that”. I guess that’s worth throwing in, but given how the whole warped to another world plot line was tabled for so long, it felt tacked on – just checking off some box.

    So all in all, IMO a mixed bag episode with some good, some bad and some OK. Not a bad ending episode, but I did expect better from this show. It’s been a pretty good one overall.

  6. Overall Series Impressions:

    There’s quite a bit to like here with the premise of “ordinary/normal” people, not their characters, go to RPG world. It’s different and arguably a more realistic take on that type of story. The characters start off as noobs – making noob mistakes, struggle, and get injured (one is even killed though IMO lucky more were not killed). It’s not all hack ‘n slash either as there’s considerable focus on their adjustment to the situation (though IMO the group was far too laid back/ nonchalant early on given their situation).

    So some good ideas here and overall fairly good execution, but not without issues. Certainly visually there was some very nice eye-candy backgrounds (sort of a “painted” look), but I do wonder if that came at the expense of actual animation. Too many stills with speed-lines for battles, and while they toned it down later, a couple less song-insert montages would have improved things. The fights were more good than bad – with the group often struggling to win, but not a fan of the “Oh, no! Here we go again!” ploy (see Ep 12 comment above). Furthermore, Haru’s non-stop inner dialog hurt both flow of battle and overall tension. In general, I found Haru’s inner dialog excessive. Yes, I got it the 241587th time – you are insecure, have doubts, etc. Frankly, I found the show repetitive at times, particularly in the first 7-8 episodes.

    I think faster pacing (6 episodes for each LN volume) would have worked out better. Speed up Haru’s character development (less repetition – including Manato post death stuff), and give more time for Ranta’s character development. Ranta goes from ass-hat, almost killing Haru and not caring one bit, to throwing himself on the proverbial hand grenade to save Haru and the party in one episode. Too jarring, and “but he’s tsun…” doesn’t cover something that extreme. Like him or not, IMO Ranta does have worth as a character. Some realism because not everyone is going to get along in a group of strangers forced together. As for Mary, I do think they got her character development paced properly. If there was any time remaining once Ranta’s part is fixed, some time beyond superficial SOL stuff for Shihoru, Mogzo, and Yume would have been nice. I’m sure each has their own LN volume/”arc”, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t give a little more depth to them now. At times they felt left out a bit too much and kind of thin for such a character driven show.

    Lastly, I wonder about the whole warped into RPG world with amnesia plot line. It does make things a bit easier/more simple early on in the story I suppose, but I think it got paid too little lip-service as it was – amnesia or not. They DO know they are not from this world. You’d think that would be a bit more disconcerting than how they acted.

    Overall, I found Grimgar one off the better shows I watched this season. Again, it definitely did more right than wrong – good enough to the point to where it got a bit frustrating that execution woes (IMO) held the show back from reaching a higher level. Second season? Yeah, I’m in.

      1. @Tyr: Not entirely sure how literally you mean that in terms of animation (i.e. literally animating those scenes). Usually, it’s action which gets the short end of the stick because it’s more expensive to animate. So, in a literal sense, animating the “daily gestures” here didn’t strike me as atypical. Besides, ideally you’d have good animation for all types of scenes.

        If you mean something in more general terms – i.e. they spent an “unusual” amount of time on the everyday stuff (i.e. not just hack ‘n slash”), then sure. As I mentioned, that’s a plus. However, the issue I have is one of degree/balance. Wasn’t horribly off, but at times too much focus IMO on the mundane given the situation. This isn’t some “RL” HS SOL coming of age story. They DID get warped into “life and death struggle” RPG world, and early on, IMO there was an unnatural lack of concern regarding what happened to them (i.e. too laid back). Focusing a lot on “everyday” mundane things just reinforced that impression. I’m NOT suggesting dumping all of the lighter “everyday” SOL moments, but I do think too much time was spent on some of that (along with unnecessary repetition) at the expense of other important things.

        I just read 4 chapters of the manga, and I while not the source (LN), I have to say it did a better job on a lot of the things I mentioned. I got a better understanding of Grimgar’s world, a MUCH better sense of why Haru holds Manato in such high regard vs. what IMO was indicated from the anime, and even a better sense of Shihoru’s crush on Manato. It also did a fine job of expressing Haru’s self-doubt, etc. without being unduly repetitive about it. All in FOUR chapters. To me, that just reinforces my impression that the anime didn’t use it’s time as efficiently as it could (and IMO should) have.

  7. Bamboo Blade Cat
  8. The only reason i can’t think of Haru as a wish fulfilment character is his personality and the tone of the anime. But the ending surely tried (did) to force that trope on him. I did not like that he defeated Death Spot alone, it kinda ruined the anime.

    1. You would have preferred the novel way staying true to your idea.
      Show Spoiler ▼

      1. If it’s any consolation in the source material Haru realizes that they have no chance against Death Spot so he hops onto its back to buy the rest of the team enough time to get away. Of course he basically gets beaten to a pulp by Death Spot but isn’t finished off, instead Death Spot turns to chase after the rest of the team and Haru realizes that he hasn’t bought enough time but since Death Spot’s back is turned to him the “line” activates and he manages to kill it

      2. Not really, it’s the same thing. Death Spots is way out of their league. We saw Mary’s companions get wrecked by it, and they were way more stronger than Haruhiko or anyone in his party. It’s SAO-tier bullshit. It’s really a shame, though. I really liked the rest of the show.

    2. For me I thought it was fitting, pushed to the edge, at the break of death. Odds of you landing one strike to do anything slim to none an knowing when you fall he going for your friends.

      It was in the spiral of emotions an accepting his fate, that he was able too transcend death an in that moment see a chance to kill the beast an to turn things around. He could not think, just act. so he did an with that his blade found it mark an he cheated death. while the arrogant beast that refuse to summit, fell it life ebbing away.

    3. You can think of it that way which is not wrong. But the way I think about it is skills it not enough alone. Skills and luck is what matters. So while Haru and co skills are less than Mary’s old team, fortunately for them at the critical moment, Haru’s luck help them survived. Unfortunately for him, his luck was not there to save Manato. Unfortunately for him, luck will not always be there for him and therefore his path to better himself and his team still continues.

  9. Nice review, Samu! Thanks.

    Haru, Mary and Manato were pretty good, sadly the rest of the characters were deep as puddles. I’d wish the story would explore the characters a little bit more. There’s a lot of interesting stuff going on, especially how they treated goblins. So in that regard, it’s better and infinitely more relatable than SAO, but they’ll end up on about the same score for me.

    The fanservice mostly detracted from the story in both series.

    But I’m picking up the light novel, I’m a sucker for this kind of series.

    1. If the fan service did not serve your interests that fine ignore following.

      But I hope your not falling to the Violence is good, Sex is bad type of thinking as all combat scenes are also fan service to violence interest as well. Plays on Stage often do not show the combat and still can be great, showing the violence is actually not necessary.

      One way our world is so violent is that Violence is ok and uncensored often while sex that hurts no one is censored. You can tell I’m from the make love not war era late 60 to early 70.

  10. Jumping straight into my opinion on Grimgar anime as a whole , after which I’ll put my LN-reader’s opinion on how it did as an adaptation in spoiler tags.

    The premise of normal people getting stuck in fantasyland isn’t too original, but there’s enough twist to make it feel different here. Truly weak characters, more slice-of-lifey take on their life, difficulties of being a dysfunctional party and so on were definitely fun to watch. After so many series where main characters set to save the world, having small goals for once was a nice treat. Also, the anime treated life with respect it reserves, which can’t always be said about action series. That first goblin kill was such a strong scene.

    The cast was pretty enjoyable too; even if character development was pretty unbalanced to half of the main cast, everyone felt real enough. Even if Moguzo, Yume and Shiroru didn’t get to do much more than be there, their presence always felt important and
    valued, thanks to the fact that the whole party was needed for them to survive. Supporting cast didn’t get much screen time, but was good enough for what they got (Before anyone cries “But Barbara”, I found her problems were more with character design than what we got of her personality). Personal favorite character was Yume, and from supporting cast Kikkawa was probably the stand-out (even if he could be kind of annoying).

    Visually the anime looked really good, with the painting-like backdrops that were simply gorgeous, character designs that were fun but not too over the top (with few notable exceptions) and the care with slice-of-life scenes were handled. Unfortunately, animation as a whole seemed to get pretty small cut from the budget so there wasn’t that much of it. I think rest of the visuals did enough to hide that fact well enough though, but I rarely notice bad animation/visuals anyways.

    As far as execution goes, it was mostly good. I definitely could have done with less Haruhiro monologues though. I’m sure there would have been better ways to convey same things, if director / script writer had cared to think about it. Insert song montages didn’t bother me, but I get why a lot of people were annoyed with them. I could have lived with less I guess. Those songs were good though, as was the music in general.

    In short, a really good series with some rough edges. Among my top 3 with Haikyuu and BokuMachi, and probably the show I was looking forward to the most each week.

    And then for the LN comparsion / evaluation as LN adaptation. Despite the spoiler tags, I’m only adressing events that happened by now in LNs, and most of it was in the anime in some form anyways.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    That got… Longer than I was expecting.

  11. I greatly enjoyed this.

    Now Log Horizon actually did the new non experienced party situation quite well for me with the younger group of adventures, although the lack of permanent death chance for most characters may have detracted. Many english viewers resented the story slowing down for slice of life and Grimgar like slice of life in second season. Of course this is a expectation thing clearly Log Horizon going for the many book type of world building so the major plot will move very slowly, those not in the know that grates on.

    (in example the fantastic harder sci fi series, Honor Harrington, you can have a major cliff hanger and wait years while two or more side story books fill in other details of the universe, I highly recommend but probably you never see it animated or visually produced, just like the sail ship battles of the Hornblower series it a tribute to, battles that take forever for anything to be done don’t translate well, with sailing ships that top out around 13 miles per hour and often are slower than 10 or even 5 mph a thrilling battle of maneuver in book form don’t work at real speed. In more realistic space battles you can’t even see the enemy ships at distances that it takes minutes just for light speed communications to cover and the missiles way more time to cover don’t translate well)

    Japan has viewer rating systems like Nelson in the US but clearly they don’t release data to the public like Nelson does for the less important 18-49 and total view numbers. If you wonder why a show is canceled that had better ratings than another that was renewed it often because the ratings you often don’t get to hear about are more important. (you have to pay to see em and they will sue if you you let out info of the even way more important 18-35, the teen breakdown and other more important break downs of viewers to advertisers and show producers. Nelson makes it living from the secret information you have to pay for)
    So I am sure the ratings also affect what anime are continued but I have never seen how they did in this area. I’m sure it leaks out sometimes but the being sued and I’m sure in Japan jail time for leaking keeps it under wraps most of the time, after all only the people who pay to see the ratings get to see em not normally worth losing your job and more to keep your friends out of the industry happy.

    1. You’re welcome! It’s been fun writing about it and reading what everyone else had to say. These sorts of shows rarely attract serious discussion, so I’m glad there was some worthwhile dialogue in the comment section over the past few months. 🙂

  12. Overall I think this was a good adaptation, my only gripe is that they “thawed” Mary too quickly but I guess they have no immediate plans for a 2nd season so I guess they wanted to end on a high note. Also they messed with the order of the Siren Mines. In the LN while you were reading it several times you felt like “ahh they made it…” (saved Ranta) only to realize there was more (Mary’s old team showing up) and when you think all is over you just go “OMG your kidding right?” when Death Spots shows up

  13. Samu, if you see this, please try to explain to that fool Guardian Enzo (not usually a fool, but in this case definitely) that there’s a lot more to Grimgar than “widespread, sinister and demeaning” sexism, “especially mean-spirited and crass” fanservice, “shallow and vapid” female characters and “disparity in simple competence by gender” (directly quoting Enzo there). Do the man a favor and lead him to the beauty of Grimgar! I don’t usually have a problem with respecting people’s opinions, but these comments are way over the top and undeserved by this rather fine show.


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