Before Haruhiro had realized what happened, he was surrounded by darkness. Why was he here? Where was here? Even now, he still didn't know. Those around him were the same as him, no one remembered anything other than their own names. And when they emerged from the darkness, the world that awaited them seemed like something out of a video game.
In order to survive, Haruhiro forms a party with the others, learns fighting skills, and as a soldier in the reserve force, takes his first steps into the world of Grimgar. What awaits him there, he doesn't know...
This is the story of an adventure born from the ashes.
Great. That is a good word to describe this story. I've barely read one volume and have gotten addicted to it.
In the many novels that incorporate MMORPG elements, this is one of those that deviate from the normal formula and also incorporates more of a realistic take.
A group of twelve wake up in a the darkness without memories except for their names. The need to survive is right there, after all, food and necessities must be bougth, right?
You are given a chance: become one of the many that fights monsters or find another way to live. But experience plays a role and for people without
memories, what experience is for them? The only option to survive is to risk your life.
But not everyone can adapt easily and not everyone can be ready for these challenges. One think I like in this novel is how it portrays such a thing. Teenagers learning to fight and without memories will obviously struggle. Battles must be made and some won't be won. In others, fleeing will be the best option, but nothing stops anyone from dying.
And even if someone dies, the fighting will have to continue.
I really like the characters. The protagonists aren't overpowered and have to make use of their intelligence and skills. At the same time, they aren't a genius in so to say and that has an impact; only when they stop to look aroung and analyze the situation, they can understand how to succeed. Why does my teammate act like that? Why can't I get better? Why is the enemy so strong?
Is it really the others' fault? Is there really nothing that I can do?
In the first volume, I really liked the novel and how the story progresses and characters develop, so I am giving this series a 9.
I really enjoyed the novel, but somehow I realized it lacked something, a long-therm objective as pointed out by Haruhiro in one point in it. As such, as the next volumes progress, this rating may change.
What to expect:
TL;DR Hai to Gensou no Grimgar is a fresh take on the "Stuck in a video game" type of story. This novel gives you a realistic take on what is likely to happen if one was transported into an MMO-like world. The world is brutal, unforgiving. Character are realistically cautious and take a "slow and steady wins the race" type of approach. The author constantly reminds you what happens when one is careless in this world. If character development is important to you, and you want a realistic approach to the "trapped in another world" genre, then you will certainly enjoy this book.
characters well written. Every character is human-like and has unique thoughts and feelings that people can identify with. For better or worse, characters can and will anger you. However, this is intentional as it is used for character growth and development. The characters and how they develop, is easily one of the best things about these novels.
Story: While the story starts off as a generic transported to another world this novel distinguishes itself on its realistic approach. The characters aren't gifted, they aren't given some super special power. They start mediocre and slowly become less mediocre. While world building does occur, it is done in a way of discovery. Less in a way of being taught, and more in a child exploring the neighborhood type of way.
Enjoyment: Between the good story and the excellent character development, this is definitely a great read.
The reason you should read this is for how realistic it all feel. You actually can feel who they are and how they grow through their experiences. Beyond that I cannot say anything I am horrible with spoilers but trust me if you are ever like I wish these dungeon crawler books felt more gritty and realistic this is for you. Even the main character has a couple spot light moments. But most of the times he is just as useless as everyone else. Even when he has his moments it is more out of sheer luck and not because he
is super strong. Though that kind of comes with the class he follows. So it does not feel like he pulls out a win for no reason. Beyond this it is very well written but as someone bad with names the beginning was a bit much for me. The last thing was the books seem to follow a style that cycle the ups and downs depending on the page in each book. So you can almost tell if something good or bad is going to happen based on your position in the book. Though only read the first couple books.
For a lightnovel that recycles one of the most overused tropes in the industry, I find Grimgar to be particulary interesting, mostly because of it's unique way of weaving through the isekai theme. Throughout the story, the book continuous to remind it's readers of the harshness of reality, in a world where sword and magic is commonplace. Without cheat items or even overpowered skills to rely on, the story attempts to present a somewhat realistic view of another world, by using the narrative view point of a timid, weak, and uncharismatic main character, in establishing a unique representation of a game-like world where the idea
of save states, resets, and other convinient options are non-existent. For this reason, I'll give the story a generous rating of 9/10.
Art-wise, the illustrations are pretty good considering the form of each character's body proportions. And although, the facial expressions are a bit rough (particularly the eyes), it doesn't really get away with the tone and mood that the author originally intends. For this reason, im going to rate it with the score of 7/10.
Character-wise, I find the character development to be unique. As the story explores more of the world of grimgar with each page, so does the characters in each chapter. By being exposed to the harsh reality of a game-like world, the characters eventually starts to grow albeit slowly. Sure they don't really have any intriguing backstories or plot-breaking expositions, but for each challenges and hardships that they encounter, they grow more and more like a party of adventurers many times greater than when the first time they formed a ragtag party of rejects. For this reason, it gets the rating of 9/10.
Enjoyment-wise. Personally, I find the challenges that each characters have to face and overcome to be particularly endearing. With a party of stereotypical teenagers bickering, joking, and fighting amongst themselves, in a world where carelessness can lead to death, the idea of having to rely on one another in order to survive instead of going solo and bulldozing through mobs and bosses really shines the brightest. For this reason, I'll give a grand rating of 10/10.