This is a world of the skies, where many islands drift in the sky. A boy named Gran and a talking winged lizard named Vyrn lived in Zinkenstill, an island which yields mysteries. One day, they come across a girl named Lyria. Lyria had escaped from the Erste Empire, a military government that is trying to rule over this world using powerful military prowess. In order to escape from the Empire, Gran and Lyria head out into the vast skies, holding the letter Gran's father left behind—which said, "I will be waiting at Estalucia, Island of Stars."
Fantasy is such a majestic genre. In every piece of fiction, that being either games, movies, books, real-life TV shows or anime, fantasy creates some of the most spectacular settings, worlds full of wonder and amazement, creatures that we could only imagine come to life to take us on an adventure that we could only dream about, we witness epic events unfold before our very eyes as huge monsters fight a group of adventurers that are ready to take it on. Granblue Fantasy is definitely an adventure that encapsulates all of that, amongst many other things that make fantasy so great, not to mention that
thanks to some great directing and stellar action sequences, the people over at A-1 were able to put together some of the most pleasant and wonderful anime in recent memory.
Gran is a simple boy. He lives his day on one of the floating islands with his pet Vyrn and dreams of becoming a captain that could one day venture into the unknown world on his own ship, with his own crew, and find his father that sent him a letter from a legendary island back in the day. The opportunity for such an endeavor arises when an object flies from the skies right into the middle of a forest near Gran's house. That object turns out to be a girl, more specifically: Lyria, a government experiment that's been hid in special facilities until she was rescued by her guard Katalina. After defending themselves from the knights chasing her for a while, Gran get struck down and dies. Thankfully, he is able to return to the world of living thanks to Lyria, who shared her life force with him. They summon the powerful dragon Bahamut and chase away the intruders, after which all of them quickly decide to leave together, Gran with the intention of fulfilling his dream and defending the newly met girl, and Lyria with the intent of understanding her reason for living. On their journeys they meet new adventurers, some of which join their crew, discover new lands, some of which they have to save, and uncover the corrupt reality that was created by the ruling force: the Empire.
First let me pose a question: What's the most important part of an adventure in a piece of fiction? To me, it all comes down to a couple of things: What kind of people do you follow, what places do they visit, what kind of cool experiences they go through and how far can my imagination reach with the presented setting. I"m going to tackle each of those elements.
Granblue Fantasy is set in a universe where people are constrained by the place they live in, that being a flying island, with the only means of travel being airships. People who fly on those vehicles are called skyfarers. The world is mostly ruled by the Empire that tries to become even stronger and expand even further, but there are still islands that oppose them.
At the start of the story, we are presented to a small chunk of the world, the cookie-cutter island where Gran lives. We see boring, normal houses, with a boring, normal forest and other boring, normal places. This helps with building up the excitement for the moment where the viewer first hears of a greater prospects, a huge, open world with numerous beautiful islands full of life and mystery, legendary islands and adventurers traversing the wide, blue skies on huge airships to find fame and treasure. That doesn't mean that the show is boring at the beginning though, there's a lot of movement and despite the fact that the first island isn't as rich as the ones we see later, the build up and the actions that take place during the first act are enough to take your mind off of that.
At a certain point the characters start traveling, the first time we see them fly an airship, it's a small, crappy machine that nobody actually knows how to fly. As such, we get to see very little of the beautiful sky or the important parts of piloting and traveling, however, the second island is already much more spacious and bright. It starts filling the void that the first island left. That's only the beginning though.
The world of Granblue Fantasy is huge and epic, each island is characterized by it's own architecture and color pallet, each has its own purpose and different types of merchants and craftsmen. For example the second island is full of skyfarers and the entire place is dedicated to a Sky Goddess Tiamat. Another one is full of mechanical craft, or another one that's dedicated to water and looks like Venice on steroids.
Creating a vast and imaginatively impelling world allows this show to put in new things at will, but also makes the viewer more interested in new arcs. The camera placement surely helps with that, there's a lot of wide, expository shots that give the viewer a sense of space, creating a place that you can comprehend and see how it works, by that I mean both how nature does its own things and how busy towns, inns and shops work on a daily basis. As such, this series has successfully created a living, vibrant world that allows for endless fanfictions to be based upon it, which is a huge success on its own, but that's not the end of this show's strengths.
The world is created only to be explored, and that can't be done without characters, so let's take a quick look at them.
Gran works pretty well as a self-insert protagonist, but unfortunately not much more. His ideals, morals and dreams are all fairly simple, the show made sure to put them out there. However, the show itself takes the stance of Gran every single time, it lacks a gray area that could separate Gran from the viewer's understanding of the world, thus making him the self-insert MC. Every directing trick and each camera shot is supposed to reflect on Gran's mindset so the viewer naturally follows it. Still, that's not the worst thing in the world. The character interactions between Gran and others feel more real this way, his ideals of wanting to meet his father and just be an adventurers are actually invigorating and make him almost feel like his own character, not quite making it in the end for me.
Lyria is an experimental being that stores a deadly power. She holds different beings inside of her, most of which are deadly. In the wrong hands, she can be used for evil, she's pretty much a walking political pawn, a weapon that was supposed to be used just as that. However, thanks to Gran who she quickly connects with, she finally considers herself to be a person, a human being with emotions and personality. Not only that, but on her journeys, she discovers that she can help Primal Beasts, powerful beings that are being used by the Empire. That's the first step for the process of discovering herself, that slowly becomes the main theme of the show. It gets interrupted later on, which leads to a great scene in episode 11 as Gran ventures inside of her mind to search for her sanity and ends up winning her over with charisma and by bringing up the progress she already made. She's a solid heroine, works well with Gran, who's characterization is on the low side, and makes for someone worth defending, weak at first serving only as support without any offensive capabilities of her own, but one that's getting stronger and smarter with each new adventure.
Katalina, who was Lyria's guard when she was still in the hands of the Empire, feels like a mother to the group of teens that don't really know what's going on. Incredibly strong and swift in battle, she's also very level-headed. She does a good job at contrasting with the rest of the rather rash cast, but unfortunately that's about it. Seems a bit lacking, especially if you consider the amount of time she's on the screen and her level of importance to Lyria.
Rackam is the first person the crew meets after leaving the first island. He's a helmsman who hasn't piloted a ship since youth. He dedicated his entire life to repairing a single ship, but somehow he doesn't seem to remember that once he is able to start it with Gran on board. The problem with his character is that, while he spent so much effort on this one ship, after his arc is done, he quickly forget about it and shows no affection to it when adventuring later on. This could be a good plot point, the fact that his travels would bring him peace and make him feel fulfillment or some sort of a justification for his actions, but no, there's nothing like that. However, his interactions with other characters are well written and likable. If Katalina is a mother of the children, he's definitely the cheeky, yet smart older brother. The thing that makes him a well thought out addition is the incredible resolve that kept him from flying on other airships, and if you remember, flying is something Gran always dreamed about since childhood. It makes a strong point about how larger the world truly is, with all sorts of different people, completely different from the ones that we've seen in Gran's village. Just imagine finally leaving your small piece of land after all this imagining of how it would be to fly free, and the first person you meet is someone who neglects your life-long dream by wanting to fly on only one specific machine.
The next person that joins the crew is Io: a young mage. Thanks to her cheerful, somewhat childish yet clever and dedicated personality, an interesting backstory and a simple motivation, she balances out the cast rather well. After all, the last addition was Rackam who she refers to as "old man". She may not be on the screen so much and her characterization may have become stale after her arc, but she does bring some extra life by being another person to join the bunch, and quite the presence when she does get some time.
Towards the end of this season we also get to meet Eugen who later joins the crew, though we don't see much of that. He's Rackam's old friend and when we see him for the first time, he is helping the water island stand on its own two feet after some natural disasters occur. He's a good leader, calm and collected, but he likes to let loose once in a while and drink beer when the time is right. He is surely the oldest crew member, thus giving him the title of the crew's grandpa feels appropriate. After all, he's an experienced skyfarer and a good shot.
So overall, the crew is diverse and fun to follow, while certain interactions unfortunately are a bit neglected, there are other strong relationships that carry the cast forward. The writing for the dialogues between then isn't particularly good, barely does it's job, but during fights that require some tactical approach or even ones that don't, you can see how well can they work together, the best example being the small ruin exploration quest in episode 8, where some great fight scripting and some proper banter between characters proves my point.
In episode 12 a lot of other adventurers come to save a city with Gran and others, and while this could be seen as a missed opportunity, I think it didn't affect the flow or atmosphere of the series negatively, instead it made it feel even more alive. Adventurers would join a battle if they saw a chance, they would show off a lot and help the weaker city defend itself. I'm sure this was just an attempt to force in some characters from the game this show is based off of, but it laid out another part of the world and added some depth to it.
The villains are not the stronger part of the series, they mostly create some inconveniences that end up helping the team find the Primal Beasts faster, or they just stand around and act mysterious. That's not a good thing, it feels sort of lazy, but then again, having a big villain right out the gate would most likely ruin the feeling of audacity that comes from all the experiences that were about to happen. However, if that's the case, the series shouldn't be afraid to hide its characters. It showed previously that it can take risks and do random things to consolidate that feeling in episode 4, when Rackam's airship miraculously started working after all that time, so why not do that again and insert those character later? There's very little reason for them to be present so far.
So, for the second point of my own version of "How to make an adventure series for dummies", the characters you follow do their job well because they have very specified roles to fulfill both in casual and relaxed moments and during fights, they coordinate well and work off of each other surprisingly naturally, but they are definitely far from being the most impressive thing about the show. That title would have to go to the audiovisual side of things.
No matter how much you try, no matter how much you struggle, you can't have a proper feeling of amazement and wonder in adventure series without some good looking locations and designs, and if there's something that Granblue nails almost perfectly, then this is it. The world itself looks stunning, the previously mentioned wide camera shots, the stunningly bright and expressive color pallet, the diverse and interesting architecture are only a part of it. Take a look at the CGI in this show, look at how well it blends in thanks to other special effects that are on the screen, such as fog, clouds and other similar things. Look at the moving skies in the background. Look at the natural facial expressions and movement. Most importantly though, look at the character designs, as they seamlessly bring back the old look, the RPG look of fantasy that went a bit missing during the moe era. I mean, it's still visible, but there are things that help with it. Proper armor designs are one of those, but another is the lack of consistently distinct outlines, which allows for a much more expressive facial movement and additional elements that could be added around it without the need to draw those lines at all times. Shots like Rackam pulling out his gun in episode 4 as Gran is being threatened looks so well, because the outlines of the said gun almost fill in the lack of such on his face. It looks great!
The designs work well with the sound, as both are directed extremely well. You can often hear the sound of armor moving when characters run, the wind and other natural effects sound wonderfully real, it's as if they embrace you from all sounds. The music doesn't lag behind either. Do you know who composed the music for Granblue Fantasy?
Nobuo fucking Uematsu.
Do you know what else did Nobuo Uematsu compose for?
FINAL FUCKING FANTASY II-XI AND CHRONO TRIGGER!
If someone knows how to compose music for fantasy, it's this guy. He's a master that should be celebrated much more than he already is, but thanks to his work, Granblue Fantasy gets this much better. All the tracks are magical, enticing and special in their own way, but I have to give credit to the people who utilized them, as they did a great job. The background music often helps to create the mood and even indicate the tempo of a conversation during the not especially well written dialogues, the battle music is epic enough and picks up at just the right moments. It feels like most of the scenes were created for the music, as they probably should.
So, this series looks and sounds amazing, but how about the fights? That's also pretty important. Well, I'm happy to say that this series has a properly established battle system with a good diversity in weapons and some cool additions as it goes on. There are sword users that rely mostly on their strength, such as Gran, swordsmen that utilize magic and agility, such as Katalina, mages, such as Io, and sharpshooters (using big ass guns!), such as Rackam and Eugen. There's also the support - Lyria - who uses her powers too boost attacks of others, and later she learns how to summon the Primal Beasts she helped, which is sweet seeing as their designs are also great, they look strong and threatening from the first glance.
Well, the animation for the most part could be clearer and more refined, there are some shots where the characters almost look like they're different people (probably different episode directors), but I have to say that the squashing and stretching works really well in some sequences, like Gran running on broken pieces of land in episode 5. They look spectacular, perfectly flashy and fluid, with some creative camera angles and movement, such as a top down perspective while Gran was flying down onto the Primal Beast in the same episode.
The scripts for the fights are well done, with some of the craziest idea I've seen in a while. Example: dunking a bomb into a golem's mouth. If that's not enough to sell you, then let me also mention that during fights, each character has a purpose of their own, magic works differently on some enemies, so different types have to be used, guns are less effective on armored people, but they sure can knock them back a bit, close quarter combat isn't the smartest against a strong foe, but nailing in that one specific, powered up attack will lead to victory. Stuff like that, consistent yet fresh animation, sound and scripting, is what elevates this show higher than other, similar shows.
However, the last episode caught me a bit off guard. It features a new MC called Djeeta, who I only assume is the female counterpart of the Gran from the game, and it introduces new crew members joining alongside, which I also assume are from the game going to the beach to rest. I would be annoyed if not for the fact that it's probably one of my favorite beach episodes of all time, featuring a clear narrative and just the same amount of adventure, but with some more cute girls, some good comedy and the heroine that's pretty overpowered compared to Gran. It seems to take place far from the events that we see in the show. Consider it as an OVA and a nod for the fans, it doesn't belong in the actual season for sure, but where else would they include if there's no manga that it's based off, there's only a mobile game. If there's nothing to attach such an episode to, I'm glad that I at least got it in this form. Entirely skippable, but pleasant nonetheless
Left this for the end because I didn't want to disrupt the flow of the review, but I want to talk about the opening and the ending, which also strengthen the adventure feeling when you start up an episode. Thanks to some amazing transitioning and the way it works with the music, the opening creates the feeling on its own almost immediately, there's a lot of atmospheric shots and play with shadows, but it all ends on a positive note with the airship leaving on a blue sky. The ending, while consisting of a lot of still shots, adds a bit more positivity into the mix. Starts off with Lyria standing on the edge of a cliff with her hair blowing, transitions to worried Fran and Vyrn looking on a dark night, after which we see all the characters smiling to the camera and both of the main pair joining them for a final happy shot. The music in both is seriously amazing and climatic, but the opening uses the most popular song by the well known band Bump Of Chicken called "Go", and nobody can rival that.
Granblue Fantasy is the epitome of adventure, a damn near perfect combination of atmosphere and world building that turned it into one of the seasonal highlights. Despite the lack of a strong, impactful cast and it's rather simplistic storyline, this show really gets things done, and it does so incredibly well. Want to sit down, relax and live out a different, more fantastical story in a form of a Japanese cartoon for a while? If so, this is your fix. I highly recommend it as such.
As always, this is purely my opinion. I recommend you to develop your own.
Granblue fantasy based off a popular mobile game is an interesting anime that reminds me a lot of the famed Final fantasy series of games because the premise behind them are very similar. While I played plenty of Final fantasy games over the years I have yet to play the game that this anime used as a source material so im unable to compare the two.
The premise behind Granblue fantasy is a rather simple one but never less one that is already well tread in the anime world. The hero character rescues a beautiful but mysterious girl from an evil enemy faction and then
embarking on a quest to find and save mysterious but powerful creatures and gain their allegiance to you while at the same time fighting to stop the evil faction from doing the same. Along the way they are joined by a handful of characters that join them for a variety of motivations. The premise while standard also has a number of innovations that enable it to stand out more. These include the use of airships to travel around the rather large world with, large variety of summons, a far from straight forward plot and large battles between summons.
Story and setting
The overall plot for the series of Granblue fantasy revolves around a journey that the main characters embark upon both to explore the land but also to find the various legendary beasts that populate the land and protect them from the main enemy faction that’s in the series. A substantial sub plot for the series deals with the protection of the series main heroine and the attempt to allow her to see and understand the world that she lives in while protecting her while at the same time foiling the enemy’s major plans to expand their influence in the world.
The series as a whole is set in a fantasy like setting where both airships and magic exist and are common place. The world that this series is set in seems have a number of different countries and locations that are populated with a variety of different races each with their own looks and unique behaviors and manners. A key component of the setting of this series are the legendary primal beasts which are creatures that were created by another race long ago and left in the land to serve as guardian deities for various locations around the world. These serve as a key part of the empires plans that the heroes need to stop as part of the story.
Gran voiced by veteran voice actor Yuuki Ono is one of the main characters of the series and serves as the main protagonist of the series and the overall leader of the team with the title of captain. A young teenage human male in his late teens Gran is a kind and caring person that has a personality that can be best described as one that puts the needs of the others before his own. As a result, Gran is someone that is well trusted by all that meet him as while easy going and kind to a fault he’s also not the type that will be cruel or unkind to others without good reason. An honorable but also a determined person Gran is someone that always tries to help those in need even of these people are complete strangers to him which in the series has the effect of gathering many allies to him. As a result of living in a remote island that lies away from the major countries in the world Gran is naturally curious about the world that lies beyond his home which is reinforced by the books that he has read as a child. In particular Gran since when he little has dreamed of exploring the skies in an airship of his own a dream that was finally achieved by the journey that he embarked on with Lyria after meeting her. A prominent trait of Gran’s is that Gran seems to prefer to sort out disagreements via peaceful methods through negotiation and is always willing to listen to the viewpoints of all the parties that are involved in it before deciding. As the series progresses Gran noticeably more braver and more determined to protect his friends and allies from harm but at the same time has also become more willing to apply more restraint to his actions and as a result not rush into battles like he did in the past. Though hinted at in the beginning of the series as the series progresses it becomes apparent that Gran is someone that cares a great deal about friendship and the bonds that he makes with people. This has the effect of making Gran more determined than ever to protect those that are dear to him.
Gran’s friendship and unique bond that he shares with Lyria forms a central part of this series and forms part of the main plot. In the beginning of the series Gran and his pet dragon Vyrm encountered Lyria by chance deep in a forest that lay on his island of birth and despite the sudden meeting soon struck up a friendship. As the series progresses and after finding out Lyria’s painful past and childhood Gran becomes more determined to protect her from the empire and at the same time more understanding of her personality and as a result he tries pretty hard to show Lyria how beautiful this world is while at the same time dispelling the effects that her past memories have on her. As a result of a near death experience in the past Gran has rather interesting bond with Lyria in that he’s able to summon powers that are derived from Lyria that can make him more powerful in combat. At the same time on an emotional level Gran is able to deduce and understand the types of thoughts that are going through Lyria’s psyche which is especially important when they are protecting her from the empire’s plans. All in all, I felt that Gran was a pretty well-designed character that though the archetypal good guy proved that if you have both a determination to protect your friends and allies from an enemy that is stronger than you and a will to define the enemies plan then you too can become a hero. Heroes are after all made from a determination to do something extraordinary and I would say standing up to an evil empire to protect your friends and allies more than qualifies Gran as a hero.
Lyria voiced by veteran seiyuu singer Nao Touyama of Asterisk wars and Gate fame is one of the main characters of the series and is the main heroine of the series. A young teenage girl that has a rather dark and tragic past that has made her life hell the moment that she was born. Personality wise Lyria is an innocent, kind and curious young woman that until she met Gran knew little of the world itself due to being imprisoned by the empire. Initially Lyria’s personality was a bit on the quiet side as besides Katalina Gran and Vyrm were the first people that she met that were friendly to her. But at the same time, she was also curious about the world around her and as a result she and Gran soon struck up a friendship. As the series progresses Lyria noticeably becomes more talkative and at the same time more compassionate towards others and more willing to help others which I believe is something that she learned from Gran. Despite being curious Lyria is someone that always tries to respect local custom and as a result respects the local gods for each area that she visits with the cast. This respect for local customs I felt was well done and in line with her personality. As the series progresses and more and more allies join her and Grans party Lyria is slowly able to come out of her shell by slowly making friends with her new teammates and places an immense level of trust in them something that each of them soon return as well. Lyria’s most prominent trait is without a doubt her compassion towards others as over the course of the series though Lyria and Gran and co encounter many situations where simply eliminating the enemy might have been an easier choice Lyria would often sympathize with the enemy and understand the reasons for their actions which is another thing that I felt really matched her personality of disliking violence. As a result of meeting so many different people and making so many friends one trait that Lyria developed as the series went on was her playfulness which I felt was funny and a sign that her personality really is changing for the better.
Despite her brave and positive front however behind this mask of hers one can see that Lyria still wrestles with inner struggles that affect her greatly made even more so because of her somewhat fragile personality. As a result of her friendships and bonds that she has forged with members of her party Lyria is very happy that she has managed to make some friends but at the same time because of her past Lyria fights against the belief that she herself is a burden to her friends and allies a fact that although the cast know about can do little more than try and support her and cheer her up with. This struggle of Lyria that she faces alone is actually tied with Lyria’s role in the overall plot and I thought it was done pretty well. The manner of how this was eventually solved by the cast though I thought was brilliant and heart-warming as it made use of each of the bonds that her friends have established with her to bring her back from despair.
As a character, I felt that Lyria was a pretty well-designed character that was developed rather well in the series. Though quiet and somewhat wary of strangers at first it was nice to see Lyria develop into a strong but also compassionate person that cares about her friends and allies and will not let her past dictate her life. The struggles that Lyria in this series I felt was actually pretty well done and it was heart-breaking to see Lyria give in to despair and shut her friends out after being told the truth of her past by the empire. I was glad that in the end that the cast managed to get through to her and bring her back through the bonds and memories that they had with her. I felt that Nao Touyama really did an excellent job portraying Lyria.
Katalina voiced by veteran seiyuu Miyuki Sawashiro of Sword art online 2 and Rokka no Yuusha fame is one of the main characters of the series and is one of Gran and Lyria’s main allies in the series. A veteran knight formerly of the empire Katalina serves as both Lyria’s first friend and also her guardian. As a knight Katalina is a stoic, brave and calm person that is able to stay composed and rationally even when under pressure. Unlike many knights of the empire however Katalina is also compassionate and kind and also honorable which is the prime reason why she decided to leave the empire with Lyria. Even before meeting with Gran and the rest of the cast Katalina and Lyria actually knew each other as she was charged with watching over her. As a result of this duty however Katalina saw first-hand how the empire treated Lyria and as a result caused her to have pity for Lyria and caused her to forge a friendship and bond with her by teaching her about the world. This also served as a catalyst that led to their escape from the empire and the beginning of the main story.
As a result of her bond with Lyria Katalina sees herself as her guardian and as a result she takes the safety of Lyria pretty seriously. As a result of this Katalina can be slow to trust strangers and be rather icy towards them but this is something that comes from her determination to protect Lyria from all threats as more than ever Katalina wants Lyria to have a life that can be considered normal for someone her age and not be treated as something that’s not even a human being by the likes of the empire. Personality wise Katalina has what can be considered to be a big sister type personality as she tries to more responsible for the main members of the party much of which are still teenagers though far too often their actions and the results of their actions often instead surprise her instead. Still this side of her personality was interesting to see. A peculiar trait of Katalina is the fact that she seems to adore cute things of which Vyrn is often an unwitting target for her which I found to quite funny. I felt that Miyuki Sawashiro really did a great job of portraying the character of Katalina who despite being a knight that’s both stoic and composed can also be surprisingly compassionate and caring as well.
Vyrn voiced by veteran seiyuu singer Rie Kugimiya of elDLIVE and Persona 4 the animation fame is one of the main characters of the show and is one of Gran and Lyria’s main allies. A small flying dragon that’s been with Gran since he was a child Vyrn is a funny creature that’s also shown to be intelligent and compassionate and is also considerate towards the feelings of others. At the same time Vyrn is also shown to be very loyal to both Gran and his friends and always tries to point out the best possible paths for them. Because of his small size Vyrn has limited offensive capabilities but he’s shown to have a large heart and sensitive to the feelings of others that are around him and often tries to cheer them up to the best of his ability. A prominent trait of Vyrn is the fact that he is easily distracted on what is being discussed which is often used as comic relief. Though Vyrn as a character is a relatively small role I felt that Rie Kugimiya really did a great job voicing him.
Io voiced by veteran seiyuu singer Yukari Tamura of Re Zero and Naruto fame is one of the main characters of the series and one of Gran and Lyria’s main allies in the series. A young mage from a country that Gran and co visited early in their travels Io is a young teenage girl that despite her young age is actually quite the proficient mage having a variety of spells at her disposal. Personality wise Io is a kind and caring person that has a positive and bubbly demeanor suitable for her age. Despite that she can also be stubborn and has an interesting trait of not respecting people that should deserve respect as a result of their age. This is most often applied to Rackam who was actually the one that started it in the first-place due to his underestimation of magic that Io wields. Despite her positive and bubbly personality Io as a result of her stubbornness can be overly proud of her abilities but however is not too stubborn to ask for help. As a result of living with only her master since she was little Io is very close to her master values the relationship that he has with him. As a result of living alone for much of her life Io can be slow to trust people and indeed it took her some time to establish a friendship with Gran and the others. Despite this Io is someone that has a strong sense of justice and can’t stand the sight of innocents being hurt by others and as a result she hates people that do that for whatever reason. A recurring trait of Io’s that seems to be used for comical effect in this series is that Io hates being seen as a child which she actually is despite the fact that her abilities as a mage certainly match the level of a teenager instead.
Like Rackam Io too has a sub story arc that is used to develop and flesh out her character while also allowing the main cast to get to know her. In the case of Io her sub story arc’s main focus was her attempts to track down the whereabouts of her master who had vanished around the time that Gran and the others had arrived in her home. This story arc I felt was actually well done as it showed just how much trust Io had in her master having known him for a number of years and proves that if someone that you known begins to act out of character then they are lightly being controlled by something or someone. Seeing Io be able to deduce this and see her refusing to give up on him was something that I thought was nicely done and showed just how close they were. I was really glad that her arc resulted in the freeing of her master from the mind control though. All in all, I felt that Io was a pretty well-designed character that showed that despite her young age that she was still capable of casting complex magic attack spells that could exceed the attack power of adults like Rackam. At the same time, it was also nice that despite her slow to trust nature Io was able to form a friendship with people that are more along her age like Lyria and Gran. Although Rackam and Io did not get on with in the beginning it was nice that by the end of the series that both have managed to develop an element of trust in each other. All in all, I felt that Yukari Tamura really did a great job in voicing Io.
Rosetta played by veteran seiyuu singer Rie Tanaka is one of the main support characters of the show and one of Gran and Lyria’s main allies. A mysterious female mage that’s been helping the party since the beginning Rosetta is an enigmatic and mysterious mage that seems to know many secrets about both the empire’s plans and also about their many experiments but likes to hold these back for the opportune time to tell anyone. Despite her mysterious nature that many would argue would make her untrustworthy Rosetta doesn’t seem to let this bother her as she is shown to be able to deflect suspicion that others have on her with humor which I felt was interesting. Despite her enigmatic nature when Rosetta interacts with Gran and co it can be seen that Rosetta actually has a kind and caring personality while also being intelligent and well read. Rosetta has shown to be a powerful mage as she is able to intervene in various actions without being discovered with her most notable feat of being on hand to rescue the cast from a tidal wave. Although not featured until near the end of the series I felt that Rosetta was a pretty interesting character and that her seiyuu Rie Tanaka really did a great job in voicing her. I do feel that she along with a number of other support characters could have been brought into the story a bit earlier though.
Eugen voiced by veteran voice actor Kazuhiro Yamaji is one of the main support characters of the series and is one of Gran and Lyria’s allies in the series. A mid aged man that lives in the chain of islands that forms the island nation Eugen is an old friend of Rackam and both were helmsman in the past before they went their separate ways. A veteran adventurer that has great skill in the use of firearms that is best shown in the final battles of the series Eugen is highly regarded and respected in his home town of Auguste and you can see that the people there really look to up to him for advice and guidance. Personality wise Eugen is a brave and wise person that’s also fast on his feet and is able to easily adapt to different situations on the field. Eugen is also a dependable person and is shown to be very loyal to the people that live in his hometown willing to put himself in harm’s way to protect them. The character of Eugen I felt was an interesting character as he brought a lot of experience to the cast which until his introduction was mainly provided by Katalina and Rackam. The rapport that Eugen and Rackam had was also interesting to see and it was nice to see them use this during combat as well.
Rackam voiced by veteran voice actor Hiroaki Hirata of Digimon fame is one of the main characters of the series and is one of Gran and Lyria’s main allies. A talented helmsman and a capable mechanic Gran and Lyria encounter Rackam early on in their journey. When they were both looking for an airship and someone to fly it. Personality wise Rackam is a relatively cheerful and carefree person at first glance but he’s also one that’s very single minded with his tasks and will often spend a lot of time on repairing something as can be expected from a mechanic. Although not one to trust people easily Rackam is also someone that values honesty and truth above all else and will not hesitate to help those in need even if it meant facing steep odds. Although disbelieving of Lyria and Grans powers at first Rackam soon become a believer after seeing them manage to subdue a deity that was attacking the very island that he had lived on his whole life. As a result of his easy-going nature Rackam is able to forge a bond of friendship with Gran and the rest of the cast quite easily and as the series progresses Rackam is shown to become very loyal to his friends and determined to help them in their journey. Rackam I felt was an interesting character as though he may be care free and relaxed most of the time when he does get serious he’s shown to be very loyal to his friends and allies. At the same time, I thought that he was very brave in choosing to stand up against the empire when they attacked his airship which ultimately started him on his journey with Gran and the others. Though Rackam does get on well with most of the cast the notable exception here is Io and I thought that the arguments that they get into were quite hilarious and funny. Im glad that in the end that both were able to fully trust each other with their backs in the final battles of the series.
Arts and animation
In terms of art for the series I felt that the series did pretty well in depicting the scenery for the various countries and cities that the cast visit over the course of the series. The character designs for the main cast as well as other characters that were featured in this series I felt was also done pretty well. In particular I really liked the design of the various primal beasts that the cast faced in this series as each was pretty unique just like the abilities that they made use of. Animation for the series I felt was pretty good with the animation being pretty smooth and clear. The combat scenes in this series I felt were pretty well done and were very well designed both in regard to the fights against the empires ground troops and the fight against the primal beasts.
The music for the series I felt was pretty well done with the opening theme being pretty catchy. The ending theme as well I though was pretty good as well. Individual scene music I felt was good and I loved the battle themes that played during the battle as they helped make those scenes more dramatic.
Voice acting for the series I felt was pretty strong throughout the series with the seiyuu’s for Lyria, Io and Katalina who are Nao Touyama, Yukari Tamura and Miyuki Sawashiro deserving praise for their performances. I also felt that Rie Tanaka and Rie Kugimiya did a pretty good job in voicing their respective characters despite the limited presence that both characters have in the overall story. This series is also notable for featuring a number of support characters that only showed up near the end of the series that were voiced by a number of talented seiyuu’s like MAO, Kana Hanazawa. While certainly welcome I felt that these veterans and their respective characters could have been used earlier in the series. Still it was nice to hear them I guess.
Overall, I felt that Granblue fantasy was an excellent anime that had among its strengths an interesting setting and theme, interesting story, excellent characters, great combat scenes and excellent voice acting.
The premise for the show in this case was based on two different concepts which are both related to Lyria as she is the main heroine that the story is based around. These two concepts are the ideas of identity and freedom. While the show focuses on the exploration of the world by the main cast the overall plot is centered on allowing the main cast to not just protect Lyria but also allow her to create an identity of her own that is free from her past and thus allowing her to live her own life the way that she wants to live it and as a human being that has friends and a unique personality that belongs only to herself and not constrained by her past. I thought that these two themes combined with the story was a strong point for this series. The way that empire treated Lyria when they were holding her though really made me mad when seeing them do that and really helped in making the story even more compelling for me as I believe that just as in the theme every living thing should have their own life and be able to live their life the way that they want without being constrained in any way. The characters for the show I felt were pretty well designed and though they were total strangers at first watching them develop and form bonds of friendship as they built up trust with one another and eventually can fight as a well-coordinated party was a nice thing to see. However, I do believe that appeared in the series could have been introduced into the series a bit earlier in the series as characters like Eugen were not really given much development in the series. The combat scenes for the series I felt was pretty good especially in relation to the battles against the primal beasts and watching the main cast attack a sea dragon with support from their many allies was immensely satisfying.
Granblue Fantasy: The Animation is what happens when Final Fantasy has a good adaptation of it's source material.
LA was a massive Final Fantasy fan at the time, playing FFX constantly to going back further and playing FFI, FFII, FFVI, FFVIII, FFIX more recently and adoring FFXII thus it was no surprise that LA would take a liking to Granblue Fantasy: The Animation what with it's many plot beats coming from Final Fantasy yet being it's own thing with it's own world to explore just with the lens of Gran voiced by Yuuki Ono. LA does say this as many of the early plot beats to
elements has similarities to Final Fantasy, such as a mysterious girl with some power that the empire wants can be contributed to Terra from FFVI, the world of Granblue Fantasy: The Animation is similar to FFXII in this regard due to the sky islands and skyfarers (to heck even an airship the main cast travels in) and all this in mind LA did still enjoy Granblue Fantasy: The Animation because of it.
LA would like to get some of the bad points about Granblue Fantasy: The Animation out of the way first and the most obvious one is that at times Granblue Fantasy: The Animation breaks the immersion your in their world by having quest-givers like Sierokarte voiced by Emiri Katou blatantly giving the main cast something to do and she's essentially your shop keep, quest giver and is ALWAYS near a town, it's not a completely bad thing to have Sierokarte as it's paying homage to the game's plot, LA just wished she could have been a bit more subtle. The next obvious problem is that Granblue Fantasy: The Animation's villain roster of Pommern and Furias are just stock bad guy material with nothing about them giving us any kind of sympathy for them. They're essentially Kefka without the motivation, just destroy because "we're evil", there ARE some legitimately good villains in Granblue Fantasy: The Animation but the majority of the screentime goes to Pommern which quite honestly sucks.
Granblue Fantasy: The Animation's sense of adventure is prevalent in this anime and even though Granblue Fantasy: The Animation is pretty much taking cues from it's source material (it's mobile browser game) it does it in a way that actually allows the characters to be their own characters and develops the world alongside the characters and the places they visit making this anime an easy shoe-in for GOOD video game to anime adaptations LA has seen in quite a while.
The plot of Granblue Fantasy: The Animation follows Gran...or Djeeta who wants to travel the world and find his long lost father somewhere outside of his sky island continent, however when the Empire strikes his/her hometown, he comes across Kataline Alize voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro and a mysterious blue haired girl by the name of Lyria voiced by Nao Touyama and from there, their adventure begins by trying to find Gran's father and both fleeing and confronting the Evil Empire as to why they want Lyria and who Lyria really is. Yes it's cliched classic adventure story but again for having likings to Final Fantasy alot and the fact the characters are enjoyable to watch individually as well as a group dynamic allows this anime's plot to be more than just cliched and harkens back to the classic JRPG era just in anime form.
As for characters, like a classic JRPG, Gran's motley crew does expand as they continue on their travels and meet new people, such staples becomes Rackam voiced by Hiroaki Hirata the pilot of their airship, Io voiced by Yukari Tamura, the mage of the group and local tsundere to Rackam, Vyrn voiced by Rie Kugimiya, the mascot of the game and anime and Gran's best friend as well as the aforementioned Katalina and Lyria but later on their cast grows exponentially after the Leviathan incident. Ohh yeah did LA forget theirs summons in this anime because there's summons in this anime and the classic Square Enix ones like Bahamut, Tiamat, the aforementioned Leviathan and Colossus (which might as well be a Steel Titan). LA's favourite character in Granblue Fantasy: The Animation easily goes to Lyria due to her importance to the plot and the fact that Nao Touyama voiced her...no LA is serious that's the reasons why.
In terms of animation by A1-Pictures, LA REALLY loved the art style of this anime outright from it's watercolored yet pastel sketchbook style of it all that also blends to it's character designs in with Toshifumi Akai of Kokoro Connect character designs to make this one of the more strikely different art styles of Spring 2017 and it again being similar to the mobile game's art style helps and LA just loves it. The battle scenes also gets a huge boost to this animation style as well, making the battles especially the summons and their "attacks" gorgeously destructive to watch. If your in it for the animation then Granblue Fantasy: The Animation doesn't hold back.
In terms of voice acting, the voice acting is decent overall with stellar voice cast as Miyuki Sawashiro as Katalina and Nao Touyama as Lyria, Rie Tanaka as Rosetta to HECK even Yukari Tamura as Io, this voice cast roster is just amazing! If LA had to choose who is LA's favourite voice actor it would go to Miyuki Sawashiro as Katalina wasn't only a badass but just as a character alone made Miyuki Sawashiro's performance all the more better for her, next to that goes to Nao Touyama as Lyria and LA being a Nao Touyama fanboy it was inevitable she would get first or second billing in LA's eyes.
Considering LA did play a bit of the mobile browser game due to the anime coming out and caught LA's curiosity, LA does approve of the pacing the anime did with it allowing both the characters and it's world to flourish together and making the fantasy and adventure aspects all the more prominent in the process. The ONE surprise LA wasn't expecting was that in the final episode that Gran would be replaced with Djeeta (the female avatar of the game and as if Djeeta did the same thing that Gran went through in a weird alternative reality) and the fact that she like Gran is similar but with less shits to give when it came to the Empire and Djeeta herself having her own personality and "even the girls loves her" scthick to her, the final episode was a good send up to a mobile browser game that essentially will never end so ending in the fanservice "beach" episode was a nice way to end the series instead of saying "play the game". Anyways off tangent but nonetheless the final homage to the game is the gacha systeming of getting new crew members and although it's vaguely shown to us, the additional cast members of the game does appear in a cameo during the Leviathan incident as well as the final episode. Really what LA is surmounting is that even the little detail to an anime adaptation goes a long way and Granblue Fantasy: The Animation did it in great execution without being overly bloated in it's dialogue of this or that is in the game *nudge nudge*
Granblue Fantasy: The Animation is definitely an anime adaptation of a mobile browser game that does it's source material proud and although there are a few problems LA stll enjoyed watching Granblue Fantasy: The Animation from beginning to end. Granblue Fantasy: The Animation did it's job well for a video game to anime adaptation in which LA actually wants to go back and play the game and seriously, if a video game to anime adaptation does even THIS correctly, it's a great anime adaptation in LA's books.