This is a mostly overlooked anime but for me this anime is a real masterpiece. this anime is an original production which is a really good thing but also a tricky thing to do since there is no source material to copy from meaning the creators have to come up with an interesting idea with great execution.
The creators of Granbelm have done all of these things perfectly and i have to say the outcome is great. An anime that has great story, art and characters all complete with vibrant colors that really make this anime come to life but most importantly the anime makes you
want to watch more because it is that enjoyable and isn't that what the purpose of an anime really is.
Original series, especially in anime are a dime a dozen, picking up on the trends of what anime has done well and not, and taking that into consideration, people of different creative mindsets come together to form these shows which have meta references across the board. And in the case of Granbelm, that standard holds tried-and-true.
If you watched last year's mech originals like Trigger's SSSS.Gridman or J.C.Staff's rendition of Satoshi Mizukani's Planet With, the formula of Granbelm is not hard to see, the only elephant in the room is the characters themselves as they serve the basis of the story (and the synopsis pretty much
really doesn't tell you a lot from the get-go, trust me).
If there's anything to go by, and if you're one of the few who decide to stick to this show, I'd pretty much ask you to focus on character development as this is the central drive of the show, not all of the characters are surfaced yet so you can consider that as the loophole of the show, wherever it may decide to go.
But I will give it this: with Re:Zero's director and original character designer on-board, the designs are great and reminiscent of the characters from Re:Zero themselves, at least in the eyes of Granbelm's full-on girl cast.
Art and animation is great as always from Nexus, who did Comic Girls, and this shows here, while the sound direction echos most mech shows with its abundant clingy-clashing effects and whatnot.
If you decide to give this series a second chance, probably do it around the 2nd half as motifs and motives become clearer. For the small fanbase, please stick around, with no expectations of course.
Granbelm is your latest creatively bankrupt seasonal anime featuring bright haired anime girls with tragic backstories in chibi mecha. In essence, this work, by the director of the infamous Re:Zero, is an isekai (sort of) magical girl mecha battle royale where the last mage standing will get the mysterious macguffin that grants wishes. We are introduced to the protagonist Mangetsu who is your usual "do-no-wrong" character who mysteriously ends up in the Magical World despite only those with mage ancestry being able to, and totally does not have a super power lying dormant within her due to such ancestry with an ancient powerful mage. Mangetsu
becomes aware she does not have a personality so she instead joins in the battle royale to help Shingetsu fulfill her wish.
In this world, magic existed once back in ancient civilization until it was sealed by a circle of mages who sacrificed their lives to do so, but apparently they didn't do such a good job since there are still magic users on Earth and they are able to use magic powers, in and out of the separate world. Despite this magic originally being used by the oldest civilizations of Europe and West Asia, all of the current magic users happen to be pubescent Japanese girls. It would've been much more interesting if it used Japanese history or folklore as to explain this, but alas the writers must've realized that would take effort.
Mecha battles within the magic world consist of characters winning based on how many times they say "envision" or which character remembers their backstory and motivations the hardest. There are also other asspulls such as characters randomly triggering super powers that allow them to win based on how angry they are or random magic powers that weren't ever used prior. The constant back and forth rivalry of Shingetsu and Anna becomes tiring when you realize Shingetsu is just a Mary Sue and Anna is your designated character to hate because she's a pompous yandere that will likely just stop being that and become a good person in the future. The latest episode certainly points to this direction yet lacks the nuance to actually pull it off because we were never given a reason to care about anything happening besides surface level character motivation.
Of course conveniently, these mecha called "ARMANOX" are the "reflection of the user's soul" or some drivel like that as to explain why characters don't ever have to be any good at using the mecha and can just rely on the writers to decide how it should all go.
The wish granting macguffin of this magical world battle royale only involves the most basic motivations when it comes to character's reasons for obtaining it. It's not like I was expecting something on the level of the movie Stalker when it comes to philosophy surrounding such a wish granting device but it's like they didn't even want to try.
There's also some conflict between Suishou and uhh the other white haired girl over her sister which is so poorly conveyed that it's laughable. At least the creators were smart enough to realize how boring and forgettable the characters were so they color coded them.
Speaking of that, the artstyle and design is ultimately "whatever." There's a lot of "same face" which also explains the color coding and they over utilize the exaggerated faces for the sake of portraying someone as crazy or mad. Also the mecha have awful designs that look like toys more than anything dangerous.
If someone looks at this as a "dark magical girl" show and begins referencing Madoka then that's when you know it's bad. If you want "dark magical girl" just watch Utena. If you want mecha, watch Gundam. If you want an anime with a cast of bright haired anime girls then go watch whatever waifubait show is on this season. Don't watch this, it's a complete waste of time.
The dark magical girl genre has been around ever since Madoka, so close to a decade. One could think everything has already been done before, but no, every once in a while a new one comes around that still has something new to show.
Granbelm is one of these series. It came up with an impressive combination, it is some sort of a dark magical girl mech battle royale show, something like a Holy Grail War but instead of masters and servants, with magical girls and mechs.
The dark magical girl part speaks for itself, if you like the genre you probably will enjoy Granbelm too. By
the genre's nature, several characters are pushed to the extremes, looking like they are borderline insane, but they do have their reasons, all of them have, except the main girl, who is kind of a wild card. She seemingly has no reason to participate in this "Holy Grail War", she also has strange powers noone can explain, I would say she is the main mystery of the show.
Now about the mechs. I am not a big mech fan, but I like them here. They have an unusual, interesting design that I haven't quite seen yet. The mech battles are very interesting and great looking. It is not just the usual "robots are bashing each other" stuff. They all have different powers, use different tactics and sometimes they can do some random unexpected stuff.
So far I am really enjoying the show, from episode 1 to 5 it keeps on improving from episode to episode. It is also not too predictable, so I am looking forward to see where it will be taking us.
Granbelm is an interesting, original mecha show from the director of Re;Zero. TL;DR of the premise is effectively many girls put into a mecha battle royale to battle it out for the chance to become a mage. The 2d mech animation is wonderful and the 3d cg mech animation doesn't exist. The first thing that stood out to me about this show is of course, the mecha designs. They've been squished and rounded out compared to the giant hulking behemoths we're all used to. However, with this comes the amazing blessing of not having to deal with random cuts to CG to completely pull you
out of the experience. All the mecha animation (to my knowledge) is 100% 2d, and I've not noticed any CG.
The story is definitely a trip. To not get too much into spoiler territory, the first episode will confuse the shit out of you. The second probably will as well. Maybe by episode 3 you'll start to think, hey I think everything is starting to line up and I'm really getting a grasp on the story. From there, the show stops holding your hand. It opens up with clues that may not be obvious at first glance. It'll tell the story at it's own pace, but leave you enough clues to think you're an episode ahead, only to get blindsided. It definitely takes advantage of the fact that the anime is their first way to experience the story.
Currently only at episode 8 with a lot of questions, but every episode so far, they've been consistently nailing the presentation and answering the questions you have to make it hit just right. On top of that though, they're consistently strong with subverting expectations. They'll set up a question in one episode that you'll focus on throughout the week, and then once the next episode hits, they dropkick you with something unexpected.
Overall, the show is amazing. Amazing directing, amazing voice work, great visuals that really show out in important scenes without crutching on the easy CG move many mech shows have taken. If you're an active viewer who loves to dig through scenes and find what the director is subtly telling you, you should pick this up before it's done airing. This show has been a consistent 10 on that front. If you're more of a passive viewer who prefers a story that explains everything, you might want to wait until it's over and binge it. Either way, its well worth the watch.
When it tells you what it's going to do, Granbelm goes all-in and is over-the-top. When it doesn't tell you what it's going to do, and you try to guess based on the genre and anime logic you're used to, you end up wrong.
I'm not all that enthused by the plot (though depending on what happens in the last few episodes that may change), as Granbelm leans on several standard tropes. That said, Granbelm's execution of said tropes is always excellent: we know exactly what has to happen in episode 7 with angry girl, but the show
carries everything out with such intensity that it doesn't matter that we know. When Granbelm gets like this you can tell its creators were enjoying themselves. I love how everyone's hamming it up, particularly the villains.
But what makes Granbelm interesting is that the choices it makes completely thwart those viewers who insist on combing anime for clues and speculating as to what's really going on. It always reveals only as much as it has to—or perhaps, as little as it must—as it moves forward. Rather than ask (or tempt) viewers to absorb it by rummaging through all the supposed clues it's left, Granbelm lets you enjoy each episode as it happens—and makes sure there's plenty to enjoy. It doesn't foist the work of understanding on the viewer; you just enjoy the ride. And in this way you can be genuinely surprised.
Granbelm is interesting because it forces you to engage it differently from your average genre entry. If you approach it expecting to puzzle-solve, you're probably going to end up bored and irritated, because Granbelm doesn't want you to speculate about it, and it deliberately thwarts attempts to reason out what ought to happen based on previous episodes. If you approach it instead as presenting you with something new, with characters who do their own, crazy things, you'll be happy you watched. Granbelm does the hard work of building something new out of old parts—and is snazzy while it does it.