I was going to make another “The Disappearance…” title but I think I’ve personally overused that formulation. Instead, I’m focusing on the camping part.
As Granbelm is getting ready to wrap things up, it’s looking pretty gawsh darn good. It was always a surprisingly pretty show. Why surprising? I’m not sure. I just constantly find myself going, huh, this show is actually very pretty…I’ve been watching for 11 episodes, I should have picked up on that by now. And I’ve been doing galleries, the latest one is here!
What I Thought Would Happen
Mangetsu had started out her long dark journey of the soul in the closing tab of the last episode, it was only natural for her to continue it. To wander the city in search of meaning and look within herself to find if there’s anything there.
Her friends, those few who remember her would need to rally by her side. Of course, first, they would need to find her and who better to do that than Shingetsu. In a way, she’s Mangetsu’s mother and all.
And of course, we have the magically awake Kuon’s sister who probably wants revenge on Suishou for just about everything. That revenge may best take form in helping Shingetsu win the Granbelm. As you can see I had this episode pretty well figured out.
What Did Happen
The writers disagreed though. Yes, Mangetsu did a bit of soul searching but it was over pretty quickly. She came to her conclusion that helping Shingetsu was really her purpose and for the moment, that meant cheering Shingetsu up and bolstering her moral for the coming fight.
What better way to do that then getting all their friends together and going camping. For general information, please no one ever take me camping in order to cheer me up. I will escape the first chance I get!
And so, every magical girl and forgotten family member that’s still around came together to have a nice little evening under the stars. It was cute!
What About the Characters
I wrote in one of my galleries that I found Singetsu and Mangetsu similar to Homura and Madoka. In that post, I meant simply by design. One is taller with long straight black hair, sharper features and purple coded costume the other shorter with short pink hair, more rounded features and a pink costume.
However this week, the similarities seeped into the characters themselves I think. We found out that stoic and seemingly cool Shingetsu is actually insecure and has always felt lonely and apart. Despite seeming aloof she’s actually profoundly attached to Mangetsu and quite emotional. This may even lead her to make a grave mistake.
On the other hand, Mangetsu is almost suspiciously pleasant and seemingly harmless while possessing a great power that’s not really her own. She wants to do good but it’s hard to tell what if anything is really her own will and what she has been manipulated into. Ironically her best friend who loves her dearly is the cause of her very difficult situation. She’s shy and a little overwhelmed but when she makes up her mind she can be a tower of positivist. She seems to have resigned to disappearing for the greater good.
I’m not saying it’s the same show but the parallels between the characters really jumped out at me. I liked recognizing them and enjoy seeing these similar characters in such a different situation.
Also, Kyubei is Suishou even though they are incredibly different and somehow both the best.
What I Liked
As always I liked Nene and her family! In fact, it was just kind of fun seeing everyone together like that. A nice little break in the tension. Sure you could call it filler but it was useful filler. This was a good spot to slow down and break everything up a bit before barrelling to the finish line.
The images were very pretty this week. Of course, I’m partial to non Granbelm episodes (as in episodes that take place in our world).
There was the glorious return of Mangetsu’s very average cooking running gag. Always cause for celebration in this house!
Although it was sad, I found it quite powerful that Kuon’s sister had forgotten her. It’s perfectly consistent with the story, yet somehow the possibility hadn’t crossed my mind and when that happened, I was rather shocked. Similarly, I knew Shingetsu liked Anna but I hadn’t realized how much. The episode drove home just how guilty Shingetsu is feeling right now.
What I Liked Less
There were a few moments of melodrama that I could have done without but it was fine.
Kuon’s sister was fantastic in the opening scene but to me, she seemed so out of place in the rest of the episode. Why would you invite this stranger and why would she go. It was off to me.
I’m never going to be someone who finds camping fun. It’s fine. I guess I would have enjoyed seeing them all go on a shopping spree and try on clothes. Heck bikinis even. Or go to an onsen. We haven’t had our fanservice episode yet
No matter how I look at it, to me this episode was filler. Filler that I was happy for but not something I have a lot to say about. It was a great calm before the storm.
Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!
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Images from: Granbelm. Dir. M Watanabe. Nexus. 2019.
8 thoughts on “Granbelm Episode 11 – Laid Back Granbelm”
What I find interesting is how while the characterization is sort of like Madoka, with the seemingly more insecure Mangetsu becoming more mature at the end and the more stoic Shingetu ending up as en emotional mess, the roles in the plot are kinda reversed. The “Homura” character is the chosen one with the big magical significance and destiny that holds everything together. It’s almost funny how everything is resting on her shoulders, not Mangetsu’s.
Well I always saw it that way for Madoka as well but that’s a personal interpretation… Homura was directly responsible for Madoka’s destiny and fighthing hard to change it. It’s just that in the end she didn’t make it. I wonder if Granbelm will take a similar direction with Mangetsu ultimately sacrificing herself to save the day? I’m not saying the two shows are the same but the parallels were really fun for me. I actually think that if it’s a deliberate hommage, it’s really well done!
Homura might have been responsible for Madoka’s destiny, but it doesn’t change the fact the one with the special destiny was Madoka. In Granblem, the character with the special destiny is Shingetsu. That’s a pretty big difference.
I do agree Mangetsu is gonna sacrifice herself, but it will probably happen next episode, leaving Shingetsu to fight alone in episode 13. The whole Granbelm is a test for Shingetsu after all. She has to be the one to beat Suishou.
Definitely not filler. The last two episodes are gonna be amazing.
I hope so
Hm, to me filler is stuff you can cut out without any loss to the over-all story. This episode sits at the emotional core of the show’s theme, I feel. They might even be preparing to bring Anna back, maybe even Kuon – though I personally hope not.
See, magic is powerful and re-write reality and weaken existances, but it’s hard to wipe out all traces. From Mangetsu’s perspective, the camping trip strengthens bonds and traces. It could be purely personal, or it could be plot relevant (see my fears of the show bringing back lost people) – but in either case that’s mostly what the show’s about. Mangetsu says that magic gets in the way of people seeing the world’s beauty as it exists, which makes some sort of sense (as magic is about what people want to achieve, and while they’re looking at their goals, they’re not looking at the world around them with the same attention). Specifically, Mangetsu is Shingetsu’s magical crutch – if Mangetsu hangs around, Shingetsu won’t get better, as she’s not going to look around.
Kuon’s sister certainly felt out of place on the camping trip, but I felt the show portrayed her as such, with the way she’s positioned in the scenes and how she rarely talks or does anything, until she gets the spotlight (may I say how much I like Yukari Tamura’s voice? She’s getting fewer and fewer roles as she’s aging; I dislike that about the industry – her voice is as great as always). Her awkward presence on the trip is one of the things that makes me worry they’ll bring back the lost. I sort of fear the ending.
I still think the camping scenes were emotional fanservice. The actual meat of it was in Singetsu’s and Mangetsu’s conversation for me and that could have been condensed. Maybe I’m wrong.