You are in a running race. As you approach the finish line you are in first, far ahead of your competitors. But right before you get to the finish line you trip. Your victory and your new record is a goner.
This is basically the feeling Eden of Grisaia left me with. A would-be masterpiece that just ruins it at the very end just like Charlotte. Just when I first thought I found a masterpiece in a genre called "Harem", a genre often filled with mediocre stories, the ending just had to ruin it all. And it did it not only once, but twice: at the last episode of first season and the last arc (though the latter was a bigger turnaround).
Grisaia series is another series that has left me excited while watching. Heck, I finished the entire series within 48 hours of a weekday just because of how enthralling this was. It was a surprise that this series with such compelling story originally was an eroge (whaa). I have not read the VN before watching this series, and really didn't find major flaws until the very end (like pacing), unlike the fans of VN.
"Will I ever be able to live a normal life? I have too much blood on my hands. But I am not allowed to die until I save five people"
The story was a masterpiece... until the writer decided to say "F*** it, and threw physics and logic just out of the gate.
Let me start of by saying how this would have been a masterpiece if it wasn't for the last arc.
The Grisaia series is really a mix of everything: romance, action, psychological, harem, romance, and quite a lot of genres. And despite the chaos the combination the flow of the story (until the last arc) and the tension were perfectly smooth - it felt like I was watching a psychological piece like Psycho-Pass while watching The World God only Knows with tension of Death Note and action like Attack on Titan. And what Grisaia does is gets rid of the flaws of those series and only puts the best elements in the story. I can safely say it's one of the best.
I initially thought that this series would be like Nisekoi or another conventional dull and average MC, but he's pretty bad-ass and just "like a boss", I'd say. And the Harem series does not really act as a detractor from the main series; they all add up adding to the mysterious component of the series. I understand why the VN has received so much praise. Well, this series WAS superb..
Then there was the last arc. (and I thought the last episode of Fruit of Grisaia was full of BS too)
Where nobody gets injured when a car crashes falls from midair off quite some altitude (quite an irony to the Microbus incident), or the villains who are just ridiculously terrible shots, or a bomb that just doesn't detonate, and the girls magically earning money like piece of cake. Well, this series was full of action that kept me tense the entire time, but it just went too overboard here. And the ending was troll just like the last arc itself.
If I were to rate the story, I'd give the first season 8.5/10 (-1 due to last episode), S2+Yuuji's past arc 9.7/10 (Simply just brilliant), and the last arc meager 3.5/10.
And this series probably one of the best sexual innuendos. Well Miles above others. And it doesn't interrupt the action aspect of the story at all. But it has some "quirky and unique" characters....
TL DR; Just a Masterpiece... Until the last arc.
The angle of shots and just the general tone of the cinematography is perfect for setting up the tension in the series. But it kinda gets distracted by some moe-ish characters (like the principal or the secretary). And it has some waifus for those into 2-D girls (I hope you are not).
Didn't find anything getting me off the anime. I like this season's opening too - pretty ominous song unlike other anime labeled "harem" (that's really because Harem is not the main genre of the story)
I'm basing this off all three series.
The background story behind each characters are deep and just thrilling. Yuuji, the guy who just looks like a generic average guy from a harem anime, is actually one of the most complex characters; he is haunted by the past, and his story reflects upon nihilism, existentialism, moral values, and countless other themes and motives.
And it doesn't cross the boundary with the LOLI character! (thank you... they are more like father-daughter relationship...)
Except two characters ruin the atmosphere - the principal and the secretary from JB's office. They are too "moe-ish" and just doesn't really feel like they belong there. Would have gave a 10/10 if not for this (it just felt way too out of place).
10/10 without the last arc.
Way too thrilling. Action packed. I didn't want to skip any of it (which is pretty rare) until the last arc. Was better than most movies.
I kinda wrote a review on the Grisaia series as a whole. I gave 9 to S1 and S2. But as for this series, we have the first part which is a 10/10 for me (Yuuji's past) followed by mediocre "f**k physics and logic" arc. I just couldn't give this a high rating (mostly because the last art is 6 out of 10 episodes). But great series overall. I'd still recommend anyone watching this series to even watch until the ending to get a sense of resolve.
TL DR; Absolutely AMAZING series as a whole, containing the best of elements of top anime such as Death Note, Psycho-Pass, Attack on Titan, and other romance/harem-ish anime. Terrible last arc, but I'd still recommend to get the feel of being resolved. Low score due to it half of it being about the last arc.