A group of rookie adventurers stranded in an unfamiliar world band together and try to carve out an existence for themselves, but survival is far from guaranteed.
What did you watch?
Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions is a series I’ve had my eye on for a while now although I had no idea what it was about. Sometimes I see an image and instantly know that it’s something I’m going to enjoy. Occasionally, I’m wrong, but this was not one of those times. This was the letter G in my A to Z Anime Challenge. I often say that I like to binge shows, but that’s not always that practical, so I tend to watch them in batches of four. It works out about the same length as a movie. However, I watched all of Grimgar within twenty-four hours. There was just no way to turn it off. Also, you can expect spoilers below.
The series opens with a group of adventurers attempting to defeat a goblin and they’re not doing very well. In the end, the have to retreat. Soon, we learn that a short while back the adventurers woke up in a dark tower with no memory of where they came from or where they were. They were then informed that if they want to survive in this new world they must join the Trainee Volunteer Soldiers.
The stronger members of the group formed a party and quickly rose up the ranks, the ones left behind are the group we’re following. They live together in the barracks and go on quests to earn money and improve their skills. Money is tight and the skills are not forthcoming.
What did you think?
So this is an Isekai, although it’s never really confirmed and only vague hints of their past lives emerge from time to time. I loved that we followed a group that was not doing well. We had to see them scrimp and save, trying to make their money stretch as far as possible.
They are not the most athletic or successful, but that also makes them endearing. In truth, it’s the characters and their potential growth that really grabs you. That and the absolutely stunning animation and cinematography. This really is a fantastic series and something that I will rewatch again soon.
What was your favourite moment?
This is a massive spoiler, so read on at your own peril. Haruhiro is the thief in the party and a couple of times he had managed to activate a skill that guides him in battle. When he follows it’s directions, victory is guaranteed. Towards the end, they are fighting their way out of the mines, pursued by a very powerful kobold.
They’ve almost escaped when Death Spots, the kobold ambushes them. Without thinking, Haruhiro races towards him and pulls him over a ledge, allowing his party to escape. He climbs to his feet and stares up at the hulking form of Death Spots. Then, when his doom is almost certain the skill activates. It seems so simple, but it was incredible and thoroughly entertaining. I don’t think I breathed for the whole scene. That is how you foreshadow events. Great storytelling.
What was your least favourite moment?
There was one moment that was needed to progress the story, however, I don’t think it was handled in a natural way for the characters. With the goblins getting more dangerous, Haruhiro suggests that they go to the mines and hunt kobolds instead.
Mary who recently joined the party had been in another party that had died in the mines. She was one of the only survivors and couldn’t handle the idea. It was the right idea from Haruhiro, but I think he handled it in a way that was most unlike him.
Who was your favourite character?
I liked all of the characters but there were two that really stood out and no the thief training instructor wasn’t one of them. I am of course talking about Haruhiro and Yume. I thought the scene where the two of them finally talked about
Who was your least favourite character?
For the longest time, this was an easy answer and that was Ranta, however, towards the end of the season he really stepped up and proved himself. He’s probably still my least favourite, but I do like him, just not as much as the others.
Who needs more screen time?
I’d love to give them all more screen time. This series was outstanding and has quickly become one of my all-time favourites, so I’d like another season or two. I know that I’ve really enjoyed something when I start thinking up ideas for my own story in that genre.
Would you like some more?
Yes, yes, yes! A million times yes. I’ve been lucky enough to watch some fantastic series lately, but this one could be the best of the bunch. I can’t heap enough praise on it, but I will try. There is an episode where the group take a day off from adventuring and just do whatever. I thought that it was going to be boring, but even when they did nothing, it was compelling and interesting. If you haven’t seen it, you absolutely must.
Other Posts in the Series
- A to Z Anime Challenge