First Look: Grimms Notes The Animation

Game Adaptation by Brain’s Base
Streaming on Crunchyroll, Anime Digital Network (France), and Anime on Demand (Germany)

Premise

When you’re born, you are given a Book of Fate which states everything that’ll happen until you die. But the Chaos Tellers are out there, turning people into monsters and messing with people’s books, so it’s up to Ex and his band of friends to stop them. Also everyone can transform into fairy tale characters because it’s a gacha game adaptation.

Euri’s verdict: Everyone is Here

There is something about being able to transform into fairy tale characters that sounds kinda rad, but this show has managed to find the perfect combination of poor animation, bad dialogue and dull scenery to sap any possible excitement out of this show. Honestly, I didn’t immediately hate the concept, but you can tell something’s off from the very beginning when we’re treated to possibly the most bizarre pre-opening scene I’ve seen in a long time. It’s 40 seconds long and consists of an uninspired fight scene involving an enemy that looks like a cross between a Kingdom Hearts Heartless and Chaos from Sonic Adventure. It doesn’t succeed in teasing anything interesting, doesn’t ask any questions to hook you in, and unfortunately serves as more of a warning of what’s to come more than anything else.

The obvious gacha mechanic that has made its way from the mobile game it’s based on is also about the only part of this show that isn’t inherently boring. Seeing Ex, our stupidly named protagonist, transforming into Alice from Alice in Wonderland isn’t bad, though the show did make it difficult to really understand how the transformation affects the user. For example, we do hear the party referring to each other with their real names (Ex is referred to as Ex even when transformed into Alice), yet the way he acts and speaks is very much as if he’s been taken over by her. We also see characters transform into Robin Hood and Cinderella, and use special attacks named Sherwood Gale and Unbreakable Glass Slippers respectively, and somehow this isn’t hilarious, because at this point your head has sunk so far into your hands that you can barely read the subtitles. I don’t think I can quite stress enough how unbelievably boring this show is.

Artemis’ verdict: Discount Fairy Tales

I love me a decent, straightforward fantasy piece from time to time. They don’t need to be deep or complex to be fun – provided the plot is executed competently enough, they don’t even need to be all that original to be enjoyable. The problem with Grimms Notes is that, while the concept itself is perfectly serviceable, the writing is so poor that even its utter generic-ness is a secondary issue in comparison to the completely inane dialogue, the total lack of any meaningful characterization, the weirdly uneven pacing, or the incredibly dull action sequences. I haven’t seen an anime this boring and lacklustre since… well, since the last fantasy-themed mobile game adaptation was released, whatever that was. At a certain point, they all just start blending together for me, because at least when it comes to anime format, very little tends to differentiate them as far as I’m concerned.

Just in case you hoped the production values might be enough for you to eke out some enjoyment from Grimms Notes regardless, think again. The character designs are wholly uninspired, particularly for the ladies – short shorts, garter belts and stockings, laces and ribbons everywhere there shouldn’t be, you know the type. The series avoids any major instances of fanservice only because the budget was clearly too low to animate it well enough for anyone to care. Sticking to this general trend, the backgrounds lack any kind of detail, most of the colours have a washed out appearance, the music is nearly all of cheap synthesizer variety, and frankly, I’m pretty sure even the voice actors are phoning it in by the end of the episode. I barely made it through this snoozefest, and I suggest you don’t bother trying – the fact that there’s nothing egregiously offensive here is about the only thing going for it.

Jel’s verdict: Error code [503:-256]

This is actually a game that is available in English in U.S. app stores, so I took this as a rare opportunity to play the dumb gacha game before watching the anime and taking it from that perspective. Unfortunately when I tried to fire up the game, I kept getting the error message below. After a bit of troubleshooting and no progress, I gave up and lost all desire to watch. So there you go folks, the anime is apparently boring and the game is broken. Move along.

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