I’m Left Not Disappointed As I Expected Nothing, But I Am Left With One Question

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Grimms Notes Episode 12 Review

There were almost no expectations riding on this episode. Given after eleven episodes Grimms Notes still hadn’t really properly explained its own premise or really justified the motivations of the group I guess we’re supposed to care about there seemed little point in hoping that this final episode would do much to bring things together. If anything, Grimms Notes managed to miss even those low expectations.

Loki - Grimms Notes Episode 12

Perhaps the worst thing this final episode does is give the villain about two seconds to explain their motivation and then have the heroes dismiss it without further consideration or discussion of the implications. It really demonstrates that this anime never intended to actually care about its own premise or the underlying reasons. The group of heroes are saving story zones because FEELINGS and that is GOOD and anyone destroying story zones must be BAD. Don’t ask any questions beyond that because the story is utterly uninterested in them.

Curly and Loki - Grimms Notes Episode 12

Outside of the overall plot of this anime being completely toothless, this final episode does well enough with a fight against the Jabberwock and then Loki (Curly somehow vanishes and is never seen again so why she bothered to even make an appearance is something that might be questioned). However, the heroes get royally taken down by Loki.

Grimms Notes Episode 12 - Tao transformed into John Silver

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At which point Ex here’s a voice and uses the weird power we kind of got told he had to connect with heroes he hasn’t met, but we’ve never seen outside of the episode when we’re told he’s special, and he connects with Ludwig Grimm.

Now I’m stumped. Given the title and references to fairy tales and folk lore (though a large number of the story zones have not been based on Grimms tales at all), I kind of would expect a twist that maybe Ex could connect with Jacob or Wilhelm Grimm but Ludwig? Unless there’s some grander plot where Ludwig is apparently seeking to steal control of the story-zones from his famous folklorist brothers that just makes no sense. And if there is some grander plot, why on earth didn’t we get to watch that?

Grimms Notes Episode 12 - Ex transformed into Ludwig Grimm
Good question Ex transformed into Ludwig.

And true, maybe the source does explain all this nonsense but as is my usual stance, if I have to seek the answer outside of the anime, the anime isn’t very good.

So I’m left confused, and mostly indifferent to the mess that ultimately was Grimms Notes. Now, it isn’t unwatchable. Not even slightly (and I apologise for the quality of the screen caps but that is definitely an internet/streaming issue on my end and not the anime). The thing is though, that in the vast sea of anime, there are significantly better anime out there to spend your time on. So unless you are in the mood for nothingness peppered with story references, maybe don’t bother. That said, I’ll get around to a full review of this one later.

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Karandi James
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Alice The Disciplinarian In Wonderless Land?

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Grimms Notes Episode 11 Review

For a penultimate episode this was pretty meh and also pretty confusing. I’d always assumed that they transformed into characters they had met. Ex’s first transformation kind of broke that pattern but otherwise mostly they are characters we’ve seen in the world, or I assumed characters the others met before they met Ex. But clearly Reina had never been to Wonderland and met Alice for real so now I’m just plain confused.

Reina Excited to Meet Alice - Grimms Notes Episode 11

Grimms Notes did at least break the formulaic mould it had created in this episode. While it all seemed to follow the usual pattern, the villains threw a curve ball in at the end which is what will lead us into the final episode (or at least what I assume is a final episode), so points at least for that.

Alice - Grimms Notes Episode 11

Turns out Alice and the White Rabbit have joined forces with the Queen of Hearts to remove any trace of wonder from Wonderland. They act like the disciplinary committee from an anime high school and arrest anyone who is seen doing anything that might be vaguely fun by the looks. Turns out these people end up on trial and are then sentenced to death.

Which seems dark but don’t expect the episode to linger on that point.

March Hare -  Grimms Notes Episode 11

Anyway, Reina’s absolutely crushed her hero, Alice, is behaving in such a way and more or less spends the episode trying to talk her into believing in the power of stories. It is all very cute with some fun messages to be had, but this anime just doesn’t have the narrative strength to pull it off in any manner other than stale.

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As for Tao and Shane, they’ve more of less become the peanut gallery since their focal episode and could more or less vanish without appreciably hurting the plot at this point. Even the fight scene had them do one attack and then promptly vanish from existence while Ex and Reina finished it off (or tried to).

Shane and the March Hare Episode 11 Grimms Notes

I guess we’ll see what the villains have planned next week and maybe it will save this show from quietly slipping into forgettable sub-par history.

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In The Absence of A Reasonable Argument, Rely on Sophistry

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Grimms Notes Episode 10 Review

Well, the villains finally take the time to speak with Ex regarding their ambitions in Episode 10 of Grimms Notes. Curly asks Ex whether it is more important to protect Jeanne D’Arc’s life or her fate and Ex utterly fails to answer, mostly because despite 9 episodes of dashing into story zones and correcting fates, Ex has never really addressed the big question of whether or not his actions are right.

Grimms Notes Episode 10

Just when you think he might be developing something resembling a reasonable character who at least contemplates his actions, he throws aside thinking it through or the consequences and just accepts that Jeanne is committed to her fate, as written in her book, and so he’ll trust in her feelings.

Grimms Notes Episode 10

The problem with that argument is that we don’t know how much Jeanne is actually in control of those feelings. Her rising up and leading the French was written in her book of fate. As was her acceptance of their ultimate betrayal and her death. So trusting in the feelings of someone being controlled by fate as a justification for defending that fate is at best a flawed argument and is more likely a form of self-deception so that Ex doesn’t need to ask himself the big question of whether or not he’s actually the one doing more harm than good by assisting Reina in tuning story zones.

Grimms Notes Episode 10

The ongoing avoidance by this story of looking at this big question is really starting to bug me because exploring it and having the characters really deconstructing their motives could have been a really interesting affair. Instead the good guys are good because they are and no matter how logical the villains seems they are the villains of the story. The nebulous story tellers have so far escaped being questioned for their questionable morality in creating characters who are clearly sentient but are then forced to live out lives that involve avoidable suffering.

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It all just seems like a strange premise if the story isn’t willing to actually address any of these issues.

But hey, another story tuned and back on track. Jeanne can lead that army, at least until she is killed.

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This Story Is Getting A Little Grimm

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Grimms Notes Episode 9 Review

This week on Grimms Notes, Reina, Ex, Tao and Shane find themselves in a desert when Aladdin shows up to offer them some water. As you would expect, he also helps himself to Reina’s book and so they hunt him down so that Reina can deliver a suitable slap to the thief.

Grimms Notes Episode 9 Aladdin

Aladdin’s story is more or less what you would expect at this point given the way Grimms Notes has been unfolding. He found the magic lamp as his book of fate told him but then it was stolen from him and he was kicked out of the city. Determined to get things back on track they start crossing the desert but are soon attacked by villains and this is where something unexpected happens.

Grimms Notes Episode 9 Reina

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In the midst of battle, Aladdin steps in between a villain and a weakened Reina, and takes a lethal blow. With the main character dead you would think the story would be over and the story zone would collapse on the spot, but instead they point out that when they tune the world another person, similar enough, will just take his place. Wow, talk about disposable.

Grimms Notes Episode 9

The more I learn about story tellers and story zones, the more I think we should let Loki and the other chaos tellers just have their way. There seems little advantage to anyone in maintaining the status quo. Then again, there’s probably still something we haven’t heard yet about some kind of major consequence if we do in fact just let the bad guys win, but it makes it hard to get behind Reina’s tears as she tunes the world this episode. Part of me just wondered if perhaps things would be better if she didn’t.

Grimms Notes Episode 9 Loki

This series remains that little bit interesting, a lot confusing when it comes to what is driving the characters, and mostly I wonder how many episodes it has and whether we’ll get to an end point. Are the ‘villains’ making their move and if yes, why did it take them this long? What have they been waiting for? What move are they making? And do I actually want the ‘heroes’ to stop them?

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The Outlook Is Grimm

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Grimms Notes Episode 7 Review

I keep wanting the next episode of Grimms Notes to be the one that turns it all around. The one that reveals the motive of the heroes and presents the villains in an actual menacing light. The one that explains why story ones exist and who these mysterious authors are who are inflicting such pain upon their creations. And yet, seven episodes in and there’s still no sign of that.

Grimms Notes Episode 7

We did get a slightly more detailed look at one of the ‘villains’ as she inserted herself into the story to meet with Ex and the others but even then, other than a cryptic comment or two she provides nothing in the way of new reveals. The story of the week is much the same as any other though as always you have to wonder if resetting things to how they are ‘supposed’ to be is actually the right things to do.

Grimms Notes Episode

Our heroes never question their actions. That is what bothers me more than what they are doing. But even when asked about their actions they don’t pause and reflect for even a minute. They seem utterly convinced that keeping stories on track according to the books of fate is the absolute right thing to do. Yet they haven’t provided a convincing argument to the audience to make us want to get behind that motive.

Grimms Notes Episode 7

Otherwise there is little to note here. The story is ongoing in much the same pattern it has been with no real ups or down in animation or any other area. This show kind of just exists at this point.

Grimms Notes Episode 8 Review

Alright, so by the end of this episode Ex actually does ask if they are doing the right thing but the question is quickly dismissed under ‘no choice’ and ‘too late’ comments so it doesn’t actually get explored.

Grimms Notes Episode 8

Outside of that, this week the focus is on Tao and kind of Shane as we visit their story zone. And this is a bit of an issue because it really does prove that these story zones are literally just looping round in circles which makes you wonder why anyone sees the point. I mean why defeat the oni if you know that as soon as that is done there will be a new hero and a new oni threat and the whole thing will just rinse and repeat.

Grimms Notes Episode 8

The other issue being that neither Tao nor Shane are particularly complex characters so the backstory on them and how they met and ended up deciding to leave their story zone is pretty weak, as is their resolution to keep a story on track that doesn’t exactly seem like it is doing anyone any favours.

Grimms Notes Episode 8

Grimms Notes continues to not really do anything particularly note worthy but nor is it unwatchable. All and all, this one isn’t showing any sign of improvement but it isn’t getting any worse.

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FINAL FANTASY VII ACTION DOLL: CLOUD STRIFE
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Every Episode Makes Me Question Their Motives Even More

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Grimms Notes Episode 6 Review

Alright, no chaos teller appears this week so without the token villains stirring trouble, what does this episode of Grimms Notes bring us? Well, yet more questions about what is motivating the main group who I suppose are the heroes and yet I seriously have to question that.

Grimms Notes Episode 6 Snow White

We did learn that not every story zone has the same writer, which is lovely given the fact that a number of stories haven’t been Grimms tales so at least that discrepancy is not sorted. In point of fact, Shane and Tao comment on the fact that the writer of Snow White’s story zone must have been twisted, which I can only agree with, given these characters are looping through an absolutely tragic set of circumstances. However, despite acknowledging the ‘crappy’ fate these characters have been dealt, when Ex inadvertently upsets the path of the story, they work to put it back on track.

Grimms Notes Episode 6 Shane - "Talk about a cappy fate"
Yet, you are just going to help that fate continue?

Again, I’m wondering how people with a book of fate, who know what is going to happen to them, allow themselves to go through the things that are written. Like, if you are told that your daughter is going to come back after you poisoned her with an apple and is going to make you dance wearing red-hot iron boots until you die, surely you just wouldn’t poison her with an apple. It is almost insane that these characters continue to follow their prescribed path even though they know exactly what is coming, and it makes me much more sympathetic to the villains who offer these characters another choice.

Grimms Notes Episode 6

Then again, maybe that is the whole point of this episode. To ensure that we do feel some sympathy for the villains’ cause.

However, when the episode ends with Snow White declaring she is going to try not to change her fate too much but wants to save her mother, you can’t help but think that she is going to fail. So far the books of fate have been pretty set and when they aren’t followed bad things start happening (you know, potential collapse of an entire story-zone which we still haven’t been told what the impact of that would be – like does everyone in the zone cease to exist?).

Grimms Notes Episode 6

Anyway, our main party’s questionable motivation aside, this anime is still pretty average to watch. Some ideas are interesting but the execution is all just kind of ‘meh’. It isn’t actually bad, but neither is it something that you have to see.

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Karandi James
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Grimms Notes visual Book
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The Death of the Dream, the Birth of a Despairing Villain

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Grimms Notes Episode 5 Review

I’ll start by admitting that this was my favourite episode so far of Grimms Notes. That isn’t saying much given how incredibly flawed the anime has been up until this point, but this episode was actually genuinely enjoyable. The story of Treasure Island is inherently fun and when you throw in some transforming, gender swapping heroes who end up in swim suits and with a bow that looks like a dolphin, there’s all kinds of amusement to be found (sorry, no screen cap of that my internet connection was fritzing and the image was just too fuzzy).

Grimms Notes Episode 5 Reina
Not sure a skeleton hugging Reina is the best substitute but still a fun image.

However, what this episode highlighted more than anything else was that I just can’t back the ‘heroes’. I know we’ve probably got some deep explanation coming at some point (or at least I hope so) but as Silver pointed out how futile he felt his existence was when he knew from the beginning he wouldn’t get the treasure you couldn’t possibly argue. Even Tao didn’t bother and just threw in the ‘that doesn’t make it right’ comment that so many heroes on shaky moral ground end up using.

Grimms Notes Episode 5 Silver

Think about it. In this universe you are given a book at birth that tells you your whole story. It doesn’t matter if that story is good, bad, or otherwise, you will follow it. Doing otherwise can only seem to happen when a Chaos Teller gets involved and then this group of adventurers will come in and ‘reset’ things so that the story follows its ‘natural’ course. If you were on the losing side of a story, wouldn’t that seem a bit pathetic to you? Silver sums it up best when he points out that it was such a ‘waste of a life’. I really hope this anime does eventually address this point because if it doesn’t there’s just no saving this plot at this point.

Grimms Notes Episode 5 Silver lying

Still, if you want some island filled with traps shenanigans, some team spirit, and just some general enthusiasm, this episode has it in spades. It is difficult not to get caught up with the characters as they go about their business. That doesn’t mean it isn’t without its flaws. Reina obviously falling for a tripping every trap around was a gag I could probably have done without that many repeats of. But despite that, it was still really fun.

Grimms Notes Episode 5 Shane
Shane is very enthusiastic.

If anything, this episode gave me a little bit of hope that just maybe we’re heading somewhere reasonable with this and hopefully we have a bit of fun. The post credits scene seemed to indicate that the ‘villains’ are going to be more active in the future so hopefully that leads to some exploration of the ideas surrounding the books of fate.

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Karandi James
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GRIMMSNOTES ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK
GRIMMSNOTES ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK