By Dustin Cabeal
At first glance, Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash seemed like it was going to be typical. Displaced teens thrust on an adventure in a fantasy world, but the first episode showed clearly how it would be different. First was the fact that no one had any memories of our world and so they never tried to solve the mystery of where they were and why they were there. The second was the way they portrayed the adventure. It wasn’t thrilling; the battles were not easy, and they didn’t have fantastic abilities. In fact, they sucked and got hurt a lot.
While all of that was enough to be interesting, and trust me that is interesting, the show dealt with death in a deeply emotional way. I knew from the buildup that they were going to kill a character, but I assumed, like most shows, that they would just move on afterward. They did not. There wasn’t an episode after the death that didn’t bring it up or mention. It was a pivotal moment in their lives and made for deep character development for the rest of the series.
Even better was the way that the show was illustrated and colored. It looked like Final Fantasy artwork, you know the stuff that you’d find in Tactics or just that splashy imagery that they love to put in the booklets. It had a water colored look to it that made it gorgeous to look at and fit the tone of the story beautifully.
This show was touching, heartfelt and took an entirely different approach to the fantasy adventure genre, one that I would love to see more of in the coming anime seasons.