I honestly thought that this week was the last episode so when it ended on a black screen with “to be continued” I was ready to throw a shoe at my T.V. What can I say, I’m pure grace! Thankfully there is one more episode left.
I did end up taking quite a few screencaps of course. You can see them here if you would like!
What I Thought Would Happen
I thought Shingetsu and Mangetsu would unite to defeat Suishou. I mean there weren’t really that many places left for the story to go. I knew they would have to face her in Granbelm although it would have been hilarious if they just like pushed her down a flight of stairs at school and that would be that.
I’m actually a little disappointed now that they didn’t end up creating a completely mundane and anticlimactic end for Suishou. It would have definitely subverted all my expectations.
What Did Happen
Shingetsu and Mangetsu united to defeat Suishou in Granbelm.The episode was pretty much exactly what anyone would expect (aside from the fact that it ended in the middle of the action because there’s another episode to come). All the action was entire in Granbelm which as you may know is not my favourite but it was one of the most intense fights we’ve seen.
And as expected Mangetsu did sacrifice herself for Shingetsu. I don’t know if the sacrifice will stick or if she’ll end up Disney ending alive for some reason next week. Either way, the grand gesture will have been made so it’s fine.
The one unexpected bit for me was the sudden development we got for Suishou. Apparently, she’s been alive for 1000 years and winning Granbelm after Granbelm without ever being awarded the prize. At face value, the narrative seems to be telling us that she was a mage candidate at some point but has lost her humanity over the centuries. I still think she might be a doll-like Mangetsu which is why she can’t become the mage. I guess we’ll find out next week!
What About the Characters
I kind of let the cat out of the bag in the previous section. Oh well. So Shingetsu is still herself. All fragile and conflicted but efficient and naturally gifted. Mangetsu is also still herself, cheerful and helpful. Selfless to a fault.
But who is Suishou. Aside from what she is, her characterization got a little shaken up as well. We do see that the years and countless battles have clearly taken a toll on her. She seems to be suffering from some type of PTSD. I’m also not entirely certain that she actually wants to win the Granbelm. It’s possible that after all this time, she’s simply exhausted but is going on out of habit and because by now it’s the only thing she knows.
There was definitely something deeply lonely and sad about the Suishou we met this week. That’s not like her at all. But I guess, we all have our crosses to bear.
What I Liked
I liked the opening flashback. Both visually and narratively, it was very touching. It also brought us closer to the main antagonist so that we can get some conflicting emotions at her inevitable defeat.
As I mentioned, this was one of the most exciting Granbelms I have seen and it was coloured coded in pink which is consistent with the idea that the Granbelm takes on the colours of the looser.
What I Liked Less
I still have little to no connection to the Armanox and unless I’m seeing the girls in the cockpit or inserted at the corner of the screen I have trouble remembering which robot belongs to which pilot and really caring about what happens to them.
Moreover, since the powers of the robots have never been properly established, I don’t actually know what they can do. They seem to be able to do new(different) things every episode. I have no clue what the limits of their powers are. I never know if a blow actually did damage or not until they show the robot explode or something. It’s another element that makes the fights more difficult to follow for me and just more difficult to get invested in.
Although I know I said I liked the flashback, I’m not entirely sure I needed Suishou to be sympathetic. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t actually dislike this turn it’s more like I’m not sure how I feel about it. Suishou is a truly wonderful troll in my opinion and I was A-o.k. with embracing her dark side. I don’t think it’s bad to have unambiguous villains. We’ll see how this softening of her character plays out in the end.
This episode was a part 1 so I don’t think it’s fair to judge it before I see next week’s. It’s a good set up though as it ended before I even noticed how much time had passed and I really want to see what happens next.
Mood: Slightly surprised
Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!
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Images from: Granbelm. Dir. M Watanabe. Nexus. 2019.