On the technical side of things, great care was obviously taken with Rushuna’s massive assets and ensuring quality control on those ba-shook-shooks, but shortcuts are rampant everywhere else. "Oh look, he kinda froze…I guess that means he got shot?" "Explosion? Shake the still frame like a Polaroid picture!" You get the idea. The show never really impresses visually, and more often than not, it repulses with variable character models and halfhearted animation. The character designs themselves are sufficiently memorable, but not terribly unique.
Back to the two main focuses of the budget, they’re ridiculous. No matter how busty you are, those things never narrow to nil at the end and suspend up to one’s armpits no matter what you’re wearing, and what’s with that fake looking shiny spot on top, it’s in every scene and lighting situation! *gasp* They’re not breasts at all, they’re balloons! Peach balloons! Movement-wise, they’re not so unrealistic if they were 80% silicone, 20% woman. I guess if they had giant robots in feudal Japan, they had plastic surgery too! None of the music is pleasant.
The opener and closer, while forgettable, sound less synthesized than the background music, which is not a good sign. The 80s are over. Let the instrument go! It wants to die!
The voice acting is pretty lax no matter your language, but if you were to watch the show, I’d have to highly recommend the sub. Rushuna is certainly the best performance, with Wendee Lee pouring forth optimism and kindness without becoming annoying, along with standout side characters Teppa, Touka, and Setsuna, but even then, those four are just okay compared to everyone else who is barely listenable. Mikkan, Furon, and Kaizan are unbearable in particular because not only do they act terribly, their character voices themselves are brain-melting screech. I’d blame the awkward script or poor direction, because there are several good actors present, but nothing approaching a good performance, just tolerable at best and oftentimes BAD, BAD, BAD! The Japanese is sort of underwhelming, and it might be terrible too, but if you’re monolingual like most, you’ll never know, will you? Ignorance is bliss.
Now believe it or not, this is NOT an ecchi title! Stalwart Yajiro is not the harem personality you’re looking for. Granted, he doesn’t have much of a personality at all, but he’s not the worm-man of ecchi lore. There is a genuine story here, and even though it’s REALLY predictable, it’s not at all a bad one. The ecchi aspects are more minimal than you would believe. For some reason, Rushuna takes a hot bath in EVERY episode, and annoying as that is, we never actually see her naked or posed in any evocative manner, so I think the device is there to emphasize her innocence and beauty in a less base manner, which is refreshing. Our heroes even spend the evening in a brothel with not ONE little dirty joke cracked, to instead focus on the story. Fanservice is limited to the bouncing bountifuls of Rushuna and some other women, as well as putting the girls in appealing outfits, which is at least marginally respectful to the viewer’s intelligence.
Which is more than I can say for the execution of the story in Grenadier. From the vow of pacifism and uncanny gunmanship of an undeserving fugitive to the violent companion with good intentions to the yang to hero’s yin villain, and the conniving toadie who dispatches Juttensen assassins when they fail in their setup missions, this was all clearly ripped straight from Trigun without copying its great characters, depth or honesty. If you can imagine it, the love and peace messages in Grenadier are even LOUDER than Trigun, but hold none of its truth and power, coming off even more false and unrealistic than anything that has ever aired on the Disney channel. That’s intense.
Grenadier is so overwhelmingly preachy, in fact, that I was sorely wishing they had spent that time on doofy humor. Then I saw the series’ attempts at humor and changed my mind. It’s not funny. I understood why a lot of these jokes were amusing, I guess, but nothing actually hit the mark because every joke was so tame and tepid, like the bad puns on those Laffy Taffy wrappers with text under the jokes saying “It’s funny because poodle sounds like puddle!” Like I said, they visit a brothel and they might as well have been at an old lady’s bed and breakfast. I appreciate that it wasn’t filthy, but they didn’t try anything daring or witty comedically, and the result is barely worth a smile, senshi.
So, aside from the fanservice, is there…anything good about Grenadier? Yes. Some of the fight scenes are a lot of fun. From a gunfight under water to fighting an enemy who duels with sound frequencies, the varied fights are unique and enthralling, but even the brightest crayon in this pencilbox looks like it was gnawed on by a two-year old, because the laws of physics are insulted at least five times in each fight to a debilitating degree. I don’t mean the laws you’re allowed to break in an action show, I mean even the ones you’re NOT allowed to break. It kills the validity and cool factor of the show’s best features. Is this show masochistic?
So at the end of 12 episodes you have a comedy that isn’t funny and a fantasy that’s a predictable ripoff wrapped up in an ecchi that isn’t really ecchi…barely supported by poorly acted characters with zero development or depth. But Rushuna has boobs that chuck bullets! Yeeeah. I’m gonna go watch Trigun now. It’s twice as long, but a thousand times better.
All in all, it’s hard to be cruel to a title that looks like it just wants to have fun, but I kept having to ask myself where the fun was hiding. The story on its own is decent, and could make for an enjoyable experience, but rather sour production values and the abnormally preachy atmosphere supporting failed humor pull Rushuna’s tale back a cup size or two.
*THIS IS A PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT OF MY VIDEO REVIEW WHICH CAN BE SEEN HERE:
Thanks for reading!