“See You Tomorrow…”
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’.