Since the release of Sword Art Online, there seems to be a rise in anime and manga stories featuring an in-game world. Season 1 of Grimgar, the anime series, is no different.
Grimgar follows a group of rag-tag warriors thrown into a mysterious land, known only as Grimgar, with nothing but their survival instincts and hazy memories of their past. The group must take on odd paying jobs, complete quests and eliminate the goblins threatening the peace of the land, in order to survive.
Despite being in what looks to be an in-game world, the consequences of dying are very real, with no respawns or second chances. The group must band together in order to stay alive.
This anime felt very much like Sword Art Online but without the gripping storyline. The slow pacing of the anime made it difficult to sit through, and the characters didn’t exactly capture my interest as quickly as those of other anime do.
Character development is slow, which can be both a good and bad thing. For someone used to watching fast-paced, thrilling anime where characters are developed fairly quickly, the slow pace was tough to keep up with. However, those who enjoy a holistic approach and prefer getting to know every facet of a character will be grateful for the pacing.
Compared to the likes of Sword Art Online, the fight scenes were a bit of a disappointment. These characters are meant to be soldiers, with various abilities and weapons that they have been training to use. However, when it comes to fighting enemies and goblins, there just wasn’t the same ‘oomph’ and hype that one would expect there to be in an anime series such as this.
Though the action itself is disappointing, this lack of fighting ability is meant to showcase realism. These characters have never killed something ‘real’ before but now, to ensure their survival, they must. Their messy and rather awkward ways of fighting, and the feelings that they succumb to after that, illustrates their humanity and hesitance to go against their very nature of being.
The one aspect of the anime that did captivate me was the graphics and visuals. The way in which characters and the environment are drawn gives off a fairy-tale like feel, which is something that provided a certain charm to the anime. The world looked and felt magical and mystical. This reminded viewers that despite the characters existing in the world, the world itself, isn’t exactly real.
In many ways, Grimgar made me realise that sometimes the fantasy genre needs to take a step back and depict a sense of realism. So many action and fantasy anime these days are filled with sensationalism, super powers, mighty heroes and characters that are just so incredible that they can do no wrong. Grimgar takes all of these back a notch to portray characters who struggle, who are unable to truly fit in to their new surroundings.
If you’re a fan of anime like Sword Art Online or Log Horizon, then certainly give Grimgar a go.