First Look: Granblue Fantasy The Animation Season 2

Game Adaptation by MAPPA
Streaming on Funimation

Premise

The crew of the Grandcypher continue their journey to the island of the astrals, meeting new friends and foes and frenemies along the way. During their latest stop Gran receives an invitation to peace talks with the Erste empire, but what are their true intentions?

Jel’s verdict: One Punch Man Season 2

It took a long time, but after many hours playing Granblue Fantasy I finally came to understand the series charm. I’ll admit we have panned it in the past for having a generic fantasy RPG story. In a nutshell, a nice kid in a small town gets mixed up with a mysterious girl who is also a weapon of mass destruction, and they go on the run from the evil empire. Adventure ensues.

It’s kind of boring at face value, but eventually you realize it’s true strength: it’s best as a slow paced fantasy slice of life series. In it’s quieter moments, you can appreciate Granblue’s gentle, positive, and kind outlook on life. It’s unfortunate the original anime series had to keep pace with all the main story beats, because in the few times it got to slow down they did a good job recreating this. I probably enjoyed bits like Gran and Lyria wandering around town just as much as the superb animation and lovely, unique art style.

It remains to be seen if the second season can capture Granblue’s mood, but what I can tell you is they certainly have NOT lived up to the original series’ stunning production values. The biggest story going into season 2 is the switch from A-1 Pictures to MAPPA. That would be an upgrade in a lot of situations, but not here. The gorgeous art style and level of detail that emulated the game is replaced by a glossy, generic anime look that doesn’t do the series any favors.

There are few flashes of slick animation, particularly with perennial side character Aliza making an appearance to kick the monster of the week in the face. I thought these looked pretty good until I made the mistake of comparing to season 1 side by side. Ouch. It’s a clear downgrade to the anime’s biggest strength, and for a series that doesn’t have a strong story to rely on either I’m afraid there are rough skies ahead for the Granblue Fantasy anime. Maybe not Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul bad, but bad nonetheless.

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