Granblue Fantasy tells the story of Gran who wants to look for his father who left to find the island of the astrals. It doesn’t seem like Gran has much hope of making his dream come true until a girl literally comes crashing into his life and Gran gets swept up in an adventure.
This sounds like it should be a really cool fantasy series and up to a point it kind of is. There are dragons (well primal beasts), villains, magic and swords, flying ships, and everything else you would need for a great fantasy. The issue is, the story is kind of calm and pleasant and even the more intense moments barely rise about minor concern for the characters. So instead of getting some epic fantasy story about a small group of plucky adventurers, what we get is kind of the after-school special version of that where everyone just wants to be friends and the villains are completely hopeless.
That doesn’t mean the show isn’t fun. Each week I found the episode to be perfectly watchable. The characters are sweet, a little boring, but fine. The animation and visuals are pretty good and are probably better for someone who can stream at full resolution without their internet frying itself. The music is upbeat and pleasant. It all just kind of works and everything does its job.
For me though, this series is a bit of a miss. I’ve watched it through, I still don’t know how the journey ends, and I’m kind of fine with that. I have no investment in any of the characters or their journey at this point. If the show had run another 12 episodes I probably would have kept watching but I doubt my opinion would have changed.
There were a couple of things that did bother me about this show though.
The first is Vyrn, the flying lizard thing. I genuinely have no idea why he exists. He isn’t funny, he isn’t mascot like, he doesn’t add any insight, and he doesn’t even save the day at one point just to prove he has a reason to exist. If we add on to that he has an annoying voice and his flight defies any kind of common sense (not such a huge issue in anime but when you already dislike a character and you are nitpicking it is a legitimate issue) Vyrn really does bring a lot of scenes down. I’d have happily forgotten his existence except that he just has to add his two cents in even when they add nothing to the progress of either character or plot.
The second thing that bothered me was how useless most of the empire’s soldiers seemed to be. You know, storm-trooper jokes aside, I somehow doubt that any empire is going to last any length of time if their troops can’t capture a boy with a flying lizard, a girl and one trained soldier. Not to mention, all of the leaders of the soldiers just came off as either crazy or stupid and neither of these traits seems particularly promising for longevity either.
Lastly, I just wanted their adventure to have more focus and purpose. They keep flitting between goals and it just meant so much of what we were watching felt kind of like whimsy rather than purposeful.
Still, let’s end on some positives. Because they are on an adventure you get to see a wide range of locations and meet some really fun bit part characters who actually outshine the main cast (too bad they drift in and then out of the story). Some of the fight sequences are very cool. And did I mention this anime has dragons in it?
I’m not actually going to recommend this one. If you’ve watched it or you like a light hearted meandering adventure story in a fantasy setting, you’ll probably have some fun here, but it is pretty forgettable.
That said, I’d love to know your thoughts if you caught this show during the season.
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