First Impression – Hai to Gensou no Grimgar


The word is….prosaic….

or work-a-day, or run-of-the-mill. Not the words most have in mind when they think of fantasy. But damn it, if A1 hasn’t brought a good show to the works. I get the feeling we’ll be seeing some big damn heroes sooner rather than later, but for now, let’s start off with “actual size”…

Everybody Wants To Live

The goblin is happy they brought him a selection of toothpicks…

So the story starts off with what looks like six versus two, maybe three, grind-fodders at most. Easy peasy, goblin squeasy, cast the buffs and don’t get queasy…see you when we level up. But goodness the party looks like it can’t even come to grips with getting a weapon out of a scabbard without having a fit. The thief can’t even, the archer nearly kills him, the warrior looks like he has more bark than bite. To make matters worse the bruiser is so slow and causal with his heavy weapon his opponent has all day and all night to dodge. Don’t even mention the squisy wizard not being able to get a cast off in time. The only reputable member of the party is running double duty healing and leading and the best he can do is beg his party in the coolest head he can muster,”Would you idiots try not to die!!!??”

grimgar 1-4

Strangers in a strange land

What kind of a game is this? It isn’t, this is real! Yep, we’re trapped in a game world again. Only this one has all of the tell-tale signs missing. Where are the action menus that float just in eye and hand range? Where’s all the MMO jargon? Why isn’t any one talking about logging in or logging out? Hell, did that one guy just say he doesn’t understand why he’s referring to life as a game? Especially when life is trying to kill him? Grimgar isn’t your typical game world. It might be something else entirety. In fact, we can take this back to an earlier genre; trapped in a fantasy world.  That is the first great hallmark of the series so far. It’s keeping it’s cards close to vest, not revealing any secrets to soon. Letting it, the characters, and it’s audience soak it in for a spell, without rushing or ruining anything.

Better clean that wound dude, this world might not look like it knows about bacteria, but you should…

It’s next big hallmark, is being really brutal at the beginning. There are no tutorials on stats or weapons, and so no big speeches on how fair or unfair that is or isn’t. You size up your opponent with sight and whatever instincts you have and then you take your chances. Starting money? You’re lucky to have it, and it’s gone in a blink. Better start earning as it is a seller’s economy in this frontier. Which means getting into a guild so you can get a job.

This guild steals things….?

So yeah, pretty much everything the game did for you in the background, you either have to do it yourself, all the time, every day, or you don’t and you probably starve, become exposed to the elements and you die. But since this is a frontier, that probably means that there is something in the surrounding mountains that the humans want to take, and the the goblins want to keep, and so well there’s your booming economy, ritht there. Plenty to do, and probably plenty to die for if you’re not careful.

grimgar 1-3

“Press X to……” do nothing. You gotta cook that stuff yourself!

But honestly this series wouldn’t be much if it didn’t have some dynamic characters to make the plot move along. So far, I like these scrubs, the moe quality to the animation probably helps. But there is something about them which just looks like they aren’t quite ready to give up yet no matter what you push on them. They’re game for this game, and the struggle looks like it will bring out the best of them, even the little red-head jerkwad, Ranta ( great VA work by Yoshino Hiroyuki). We’ve got the thief, the ranger, the mage, the warrior, and the healer. A well rounded party to be sure, and at this point, a bit more fun because they’re so green.

…for them it’s more than just a background image or bunch of questgivers…

A few more extras to go on…

grimgar 1-10

It’s a big world…

Show ▼

Just when you think you’ve seen everything that a “trapped in a game” anime can bring, along comes something new. This was one that I was highly anticipating for a couple of reasons. My primary desire was to once again see the artistic output of both animator/director/writer Ryosuke Nakamura and animator/character designer Mieko Hosoi. I really loved the Airua short they did a few years back, and even though I thought it got long in the tooth, their version of Psychic School Wars was a treat to watch. Also, I was quite eager to see what this team could bring to this style or genre of storytelling that many probably thought might be running out of gas.

Let’s be blunt and upfront. Fantasy means escapism for the most part. It doesn’t really have to, but escapist style adventure is usually what underlines the genre for the folk that like to indulge in it. I’m no stranger to that, and find nothing at all wrong with it. By being escapist, that means a great deal of the flow of life is passed by. What would take regular old us all day to achieve, a novel, or a television program, or a film, or a game can take care of in the space of a few paragraphs, a montage, or a few point-and-click odds and bods. Grimgar is not interested in this, if the first episode is anything to go by. And I really love it for that.

This can probably rub some people the wrong way, and I don’t totally blame them for that. But, it’s not like Grimgar is making that sort of fantasy adventure go away. SAO is still there, and will continue to be. Log Horizon broke things down on the crafting and town level, but not quite to this extent if the first episode’s tone is to be taken. Overlord was about what happens when the highest level player become a virtual god in a game, and on the opposite side of the story from where we are here. This is the blood, sweat, and tears of the characters not as just characters, but also as people in this very specific place. It’s zero to hero. Or like I said in the introduction, it’s heroes, actual size. So far, I’m really liking this world, and I look forward to more. I hope to see you as well…

grimgar 1-27

It looks like they may rally…

On the other side…

grimgar 1-28

If anyone can find a translated version of the Goblin’s Journey Webcomic I would be happy and grateful

grimgar 01-eyecatch

…eyecatch, I’ll be using these for my lead images for the show in future….


All around nerd that enjoys just about any anime genre. I love history, politics, public policy, the sciences, literature, arts...pretty much anything can make me geeky...except sports. Follow me @theskylion
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39 Responses to “First Impression – Hai to Gensou no Grimgar”

  1. Di Gi Kazune says:

    I am afraid to say this but…

    It’s MMORPG Slice of Life.

    Some dude is going to set fire to this. Blackened Bushes is going to be the end result.

    • skylion says:

      Sure, I think that description can hold. But it’s rather gobshite.

      Some dude is going to set fire to this. Blackened Bushes is going to be the end result

      Yeah, stop talking like this on my posts, man….I have no clue what it means, if it’s a reference to something, or what. But it sounds somewhat threatening to me or at the very least poorly stated.

      • Di Gi Kazune says:

        Rephrase: Some dude is going to set fire to the Slice of Lifeness of the show. We all know whom. 😛

        • skylion says:

          Kanō Hideyori (died 1557) was a Japanese painter of the Kanō school in Kyoto.[1] He was the son of Motonobu Hideyori.[1]

          An ukiyo-e artist, Kanō Hideyori painted Maple Viewers in particular, a six-panel folding screen in colour on paper.

        • BlackBriar says:

          Yes, we all know who that is…

          Scoundrel! Didn’t anyone tell you it’s impolite to gossip, hmmm? 😛

          Anyway, if there’s such an element and it’s nothing more than a minor, insignificant gear in the machine, there will be some attempts to overlook it for the sake of the rest of the story. However, there will be a blaze if it turns out the element is the very machine itself.

          Besides, according to the MAL info, no such tag is involved. Here are those that are: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy.

          • Di Gi Kazune says:

            That is your basic tags until it goes deep in. Like you, I’d prefer my rpgs/fantasy/scifi with a lot more mayhem and less SoL. I get enough SoL through my daily (completely unavoidable) dose already.

            • BlackBriar says:

              That’s completely understandable and I agree.

  2. IreneSharda says:

    Better clean that wound dude, this world might not look like it knows about bacteria, but you should…

    Well, considering they no longer know what a game or a cell phone are, they might have forgotten about bacteria too. 😛

    About the episode itself, that was actually pretty good.

    I like the idea of kids being stuck in a game but they literally have to do everything for themselves and don’t have any electronic help, they don’t even have any memory of their life before getting there. They actually have to start joining guilds, training, and earning money. The characters are very close already and I like seeing them interact.

    I don’t know all the characters’ names yet, but I’m sure I’ll get to know them soon enough. So far, the leader priest kid and the tough white haired leader kid are my favorites. I like responsible leader characters. Now let’s just hope that they can advance before they all starve. 🙁

    Also, I swear, that young dark knight kid (Ranta?) is young Favaro from Shingeki no Bahamut. Same VA and same nature. 😛

    • skylion says:

      So far I really like Yume and Ranta. Yume is very proactive and protective. That is going to get her into a lot of trouble, and thus a lot of drama, and so a bunch of good – one would hope- stories. Ranta is, of course, voiced as a young Favro. But he comes of a such a dick! That voice just screams, I will probably betray you guys as some point. Also a good for stories.

      …and they’re doomed if they forget bacteria…

      • IreneSharda says:

        But he comes of a such a dick! That voice just screams, I will probably betray you guys as some point.

        But then again, so was Favaro. lol And if I remember right, he tried to betray (and actually did) Amira, several times before finally deciding to stick with her. And it’s only through character development that he ended up becoming less of a dick. I think the same will happen with Ranta.

        …and they’re doomed if they forget bacteria…

        Well, the world did survive for some time without knowing about them, so it’s possible that they can too. However, I’m guessing that either the world they are in is clear of dangerous bacteria, or perhaps its ones that are completely different than that of Earth and thus would be harmless to humans? Or, whatever supplies they buy will have sufficient medicine.

        • skylion says:

          I would love it if Ranta became the biggest hero of all. I still miss Favro, so that would be a distaff bonus of sorts…

  3. Wanderer says:

    Yume is definitely a favorite, although Shihoru triggers a bunch of protective instincts.

    I suspect this story will mostly be focused on the characters having to overcome their weaknesses, both physical and mental, as their trials in this world force them to grow up. This should be interesting.

    What I’m not certain is that they’re actually in a game. Yes, some of the conventions are there, but a reason why many of those are standard fantasy game tropes is because they’re also standard fantasy story tropes. This may, possibly, just be a world. Now, they’re party is assembled like an RPG party, but that’s because their leader decided on what roles they should have. I suspect that’s more of those subconscious memories sneaking through of him having played RPGs in the past, and trying to organize the group along those lines.

    • Highway says:

      Yeah, I don’t really think it’s correct at this point to say they’re in a game. It’s more that they’re in a fantasy world, and it’s unclear how they got there, and unclear where they’re from, and they don’t remember any of that.

      But I would say that their party composition is probably determined by the available roles they’ve learned about since getting there. They conform to the guilds that are available, so I’d guess it has nothing to do with latent memories.

    • skylion says:

      …oh goodness, what if pushing them to conform to genre roles is the worst thing to do!? It’s been a while since I’ve seen Wrong Genre Savvy played out well (if I ever have).

    • IreneSharda says:

      It would be interesting if they were just sent to this fantasy world for some purpose. But then I would have to think about what it is.

      Yet, somehow it really feels more like a game in that the people of this land seem very…2D. Brittany just seems like his only role is to stand there all day and get new people set up for the journey and get them on their way. He has no other character or role other than to do that.
      The same with the trainers at the guilds. It feels very game-ish.

      • skylion says:

        Did you see the image I posted below under Comment Section Bonus? He might have more to do…..

        …don’t know if it makes him less “game-ish”…

        • IreneSharda says:

          A rather interesting design, does not a character make.

          Whoever made this game probably just wanted to have an interesting first guide for our young heroes. LOL

          Seriously, doesn’t all their lines seem to be out of a scroll down menu? 😛

  4. Highway says:

    I liked the feel of this show. They’re really on their own, although it’s one of those situations where it seems the locals know some more about what’s going on, or at least that people show up in that spot regularly.

    We’ll see how much trouble their role assignment ends up causing. It seems like Manato figured “We should have X, Y, and Z” and then just kinda pushed folks into those roles. They may find out that some of them are not really suited for their chosen class, but will it be possible to change?

    It’s a little vexing to me that the girls are being, well, stereotypically girly, because it kind of breaks the verisimilitude of when you create a character in an RPG game. The girl character you create isn’t necessarily going to get flustered and be bad at what she’s doing. That felt to me like an unwanted stereotype.

    Hopefully they drop the continuous references to Renji and his party. These folks need to worry about themselves, not the other guy who cherry-picked the older, stronger people for his group and left them behind. I don’t know if I can blame Renji and the others for doing that, but that doesn’t mean it was a nice thing to do.

    And I hope that we see more of Barbara. I always love Mamiko Noto roles. And it’s nice to see another main role for Mikako Komatsu

    • skylion says:

      The girl character you create isn’t necessarily going to get flustered and be bad at what she’s doing. That felt to me like an unwanted stereotype

      Isn’t necessarily doesn’t rule out that it will happen, it just hedges the odds. I didn’t have that strong a reaction to it, as most of my approach to it was underlined by “they are on the lower end of the arc, lots of room from improvement”.

      Barbara was an unexpected treat that is for sure, don’t know if she is a main…

      As far as Renji and his party is concerned, I felt that referencing them during this episode, once they went away that is, served to put this party in a clear mental state, “that dude got all the good ones, and we are the party of scrubs”. But yeah, less is more for this reference.

      • Highway says:

        Yeah, but you have a party of 4 guys and 2 girls, and you end up with both girls being weak and flustered or with body image issues, while none of the boys are, it’s not feeling like a coincidence. And yet, no female character I’ve ever created in an MMORPG has had any different characteristics from a male character of the same class except their dance animation. It’s plain old sexism, and I would much rather see these shows get over it than reinforce it.

        • skylion says:

          Haruhiro doesn’t feel to comfortable about himself either. When I was a teen, shrimp that I was, I didn’t feel to comfortable with my body image. It happens, and just because it comes out as negative, doesn’t really means it’s negative reinforcement.

          At least not for a first episode….

    • IreneSharda says:

      Well, it’s possible that we’ll see Renji and his party again, which I wouldn’t mind. So, I don’t mind the references. Also, it helps us remember that these aren’t the only future kids that were thrown in here and so if other ones do happen to meet our group, we won’t be wondering where the heck they came from.

      Also, considering Renji seems like the kind of guy to cast off deadweight, we might find some of those who couldn’t keep up, joining with our group of heroes later on.

      • Highway says:

        The thing that bothered me about it was that Haruhiro kept talking as if their group was falling behind compared to Renji’s group. The sooner he casts off any worries about Renji’s group, the better off they’d be. Just do your best to be YOUR group.

    • HannoX says:

      If Renji is ruthless (or realistic given the fact they’re in a tough world) enough to choose only the stronger people for his party, I wonder what he saw in the short girl with short black hair. Looking at her you’d think at least physically she’d be just about the weakest one. Of course, mental toughness or adaptability can be more important than physical, but how did he know she’d measure up? I doubt we’ll ever know, but I’d guess she said or did something to show she’s quick on the uptake.

      Anyway, I hope the misfit party does interact with Renji’s occasionally. It’d be nice to see the contrasts between them and watch the misfits slowly gain in ability until Renji acknowledges their abilities.

      • skylion says:

        …hey, man, don’t count out us short people, we will kick your butt! I do hope Renji’s group and this one interact later on as well. I’m also hoping they don’t make it look like the main group has more “heart” or something fishy like that.

        • IreneSharda says:

          And little people know,
          When little people fight,
          We may look easy pickings
          But we’ve got some bite!
          So never kick a dog,
          Because he’s just a pup.
          We’ll fight like twenty armies
          And we won’t give up.
          So you’d better run for cover
          When the pup grows up!

        • HannoX says:

          I’m not dissing short people, although I’m tall myself. I just figured Renji would think she’s weak because she’s short and slight. But maybe he’s actually very perceptive. After all, you’d think he’d have chosen a couple people in the castoff party for his party just by looking at them. The fighter is pretty muscular and the healer seems to mostly have it together.

          • skylion says:

            I think the healer and team leader and team cook, Manato, and Renji have a rivalry. They might not remember each other, or much of anything else, but that rivalry is still there. At least that’s my suspicion. So there might be a lot of things going on in the team selection; so let’s hope they revisit it.

            • HannoX says:

              Of course, maybe he looked at her and figured a short, slight girl had the potential to make a great thief or assassin since it’d be easy for her to hide and sneak around without being noticed. And a mage doesn’t need to be big or strong. Maybe if we see Renji’s team later we can see what her role is and why he chose her and the others.

            • skylion says:

              …oh yeah, she’s anything sneaky you need her to be…

  5. zztop says:

    The afterwords of Grimgar’s author reveals that:

    1)he passionately loves home console and online roleplaying games, and this love inspired him to become a fantasy light novel author. Grimgar’s setting was based on those games.

    2)he’s quite a reclusive person, and has problems socializing in public. He preferred online RPGs because “he had problems getting along with other people in person”.

    3)At one time, he was addicted to online RPGs: “…times for sleeping or eating, I used solely to think about games. I would dive into the blood-rushing, heart-pounding world of online RPGs every night and return to the mundane humdrum of the real world in the morning. I lived in the world of games and games kept me alive.”

    The full afterwords:

    • skylion says:

      It was gaming that inspired me to create stories as well. Actually it was a trip to the Henry Ford Museum on weekend, where I read the Hobbit for the first time during the car trip, that gave me inspiration.

      I was already playing the early first edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. So when the family got back from the trip, I made up an adventure for D&D with Model T cars, for halflings, with what they heck, WWI era rifles and grenades!

  6. skylion says:

    Comment Section Bonus

    Show ▼

  7. BlackBriar says:

    It was okay, I guess. Not much else to say about it Instead of quickly calling this another Sword Art Online knockoff, the setting is closer to that of Log Horizon where everyone has to function far more manually than expected. The difference is the people here have no idea where they’ve come from or where they’re going.

  8. […] sure. But that’s really just the backbone. Just as we had in last season’s well loved Grimgar, we have a sense of character, and a sense of need right of the bat. Very broad strokes. But, the […]

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