Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash: Episode 8


“In My Memories With You”

Sundays at 11:30 am EST on Funimation


On the brink of earning their volunteer soldier licenses, the party decides to raid a goblin stronghold.

Aqua’s thoughts

Winter has come to Grimgar. Even the goblins are staying in, snoozing around by a fire, playing chess or making casual conversation. It’s all fine and dandy. Until a bunch of loud assholes with shiny new equipment burst in and indiscriminately slaughter everyone in sight. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, our lovable band of losers have officially turned from the prey into the hunters. They’re still not very good at it, but it’s the thought that counts. They’re not killing to survive anymore. They have a roof above their heads, food and decent clothes to make it through the winter. So what are they still killing these goblins for? For gain, looks like it. Or because it’s all they know. But hey, I’m not judging. That’s all we ever do in video games, no?


After last week’s slow-burning quiet before the storm, this episode kicks down the door with guns blazing, its first half a single, high-octane battle sequence that highlights the high stakes and tangible weight behind Grimgar‘s action, though not without a very bitter aftertaste. Even if the framing is the exact same, the situation has changed completely, which adds an extra layer of dramatic irony to an otherwise been-there-done-that kind of fight. Though still very effective, the awkward sword- and spellplay that first roused our sympathies for the main characters now raises our eyebrows in more ways than one. Not only does it make us wonder if all this violence really is justifiable, but as anyone who’s ever seen a Gen Urobuchi show before will know, it also reminds us that pride will always come right before the fall.

And for a moment, our worst fears became reality, as the party blindly stumbles into the same trap twice and almost loses another Priest. Luckily, Mary survives, but it’s another grim (heh heh) reminder that Grimgar doesn’t take nicely to players who act too big for their boots. Almost as some kind of apology, Haruhiro and co. return to Manato’s grave to reflect on how far they’ve come since his passing. It’s all a bit trite — pardon me if I wasn’t moved in the slightest by the fact that they also bought him a volunteer soldier’s license — but it’s more than worth it just for the nice, subtle interactions between Haru and Mary. Yes, you read that right — Mary. You know, that girl, who didn’t get along with anyone? When the heck did she start calling Haruhiro “Haru” anyway?


It’s a bit of a gutsy move, but I actually quite like Grimgar‘s recent tendency to gloss over parts of the plot progression it deems pointless to show. In spite of its generally glacial pacing, Grimgar knows which bits to focus on, and which bits viewers can figure out for themselves, and how Mary eventually came to be a real part of the party definitely belongs to the latter category. Nevertheless, she at no point seems all buddy-buddy with the others because the plot demanded her to be. By sowing seeds from which anyone could see their relationship slowly grow into what it is now, Grimgar managed to cram a whole season’s worth of character development into two episodes, and actually use the week-long gap between episodes to its advantage. It’s a brilliant screenwriting tactic that allows Grimgar‘s character dynamics a subtlety few other 12-episode shows could brag about.

So now what? Our party has achieved their goal, risen up from zeroes to heroes, avenged a lost loved one and found back the humility they lost somewhere down the line, where will the cruel whims of fate take them next? This episode felt like an ending in all regards — not surprisingly, since it adapted the ending of the first novel — but there’s still four more episodes to go. So what will Grimgar do? Will it fill up its remaining third with meaningless slice-of-life fluff? Will it attempt to cram an entire second volume into four episodes? Will it try its hand at an original anime ending? Will Ranta ever stop being such an utter tosser? We’ll find out next time, same Grim-time, same Grim-channel!


Random observations

  • With Ranta spouting a ‘it’s kill or be killed’ right before executing the defenseless goblin boss, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Undertale, an RPG that, ironically, actually challenges the idea that murder is the only means of survival in a gamelike world.
  • I guess Haruhiro and Mary sort of have a mutual-liking-each-other-thingy going on now? And it’s somehow really sweet and totally credible?
  • I don’t know what the hell Funi were smoking when they decided to romanize “Haru” as “Hal”, given that it is short for “Haruhiro” and “Hal” makes it sound like he’s in his forties and trying to reconnect with his teenage son.

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