It seems I will be taking over the Granbelm reviewing for Karandi. She’s still going to be watching the show so I’m sure she’ll be reading the posts along with you! I hope I don’t disappoint!
I’m also trying out this review layout. Feel free to give me your comments on it! Oh and of course you can see the full gallery HERE!
What I Thought Would Happen
After last week, I honestly thought we were going to get some more difficult to follow magical exposition mumbo jumbo, intercut with some more mecha battles. Maybe a flashback scene to how the previous girls became magical pilots. Something along those lines.
What Did Happen
After a out of the blue but quick naked scenes, the episode actually settled into a school based Slice of Life. After pushing her newfound magical powers to their limit Mangetsu had been completely exhausted and ended up spending the night at Shing’s place….without warning her parents….who reasonably called the police! When’s the last time we saw fit parents in anime??? After this, we got some more magical world building exposition. It was still a bit garbled but the jist of it is that Magical Girls are all decedents of Magicians but only one of them can claim the title for herself so every ten years, when the stars align or something, they fight to see who will become the next hokage. That sounds about right.
Why our girl Mang is suddenly involved is still nebulous but moving on. To help her out keep an eye on her, Shing transfers to Mang’s school. No one shortens the names like that, purely my initiative. Meanwhile. Magical girls all over town are on the move and all of them attend the same school. Who knew?
What About the Characters
Actually, I liked them. I can’t say they improved much. It’s not like they got more complex or interesting really. In fact Mang went from being a Mary Sue to being a Pollyanna and a Mary Sue. But they have decent chemistry. Shingetsu got a few humanizing moments that were very fun and therefore her character seemed more fun for them, even though she really hasn’t changed much. And although the antagonists (I have to learn her name at some point) is pretty one note “bad”, she did have this warning in the very last scene that made it seem like there’s more depth to her than expected. That warning wounded sincere and that’s intriguing.
What I Liked
I really liked the mundane moments. I think if they skew the show to 80-90% CGDCT content and leave the magical girl and mecha stuff as a bit of background flavour, Granbelm may in fact have a lot of promise. If you had told me this last week, I would have called you a liar…under my breath.
Shingetsu’s backpack scene was a brilliant sight gag. It managed to be funny yet sweet and relatable at the same time. And as I mentioned the show looks pretty good.
What I Liked Less
The overaching magical mecha plot just seems to bring the series down. I sometimes get the impression that the writers haven’t figured out all the details yet so they’re keeping it vague on purpose. But even the stuff we do know if pretty lacklustre. We’ve seen very similar done way better. I think there’s a missed opportunity to go in a bit deeper on the macha side of things.
Granted, at this point I was expecting almost nothing out of Granbelm so I may be a little skewed in my perception. This said, although not necessarily impressive on any level, I found this episode enjoyable. It had some sweet moments, a few laughs, a very convenient magical power! Basically I had a good time with it. If this keeps up, I might even recommend the series.
Looking forward to next week.
Mood: Pleasantly surprised
Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!
Want to see more thoughts from Irina on Granbelm?
Images from: Granbelm. Dir. M Watanabe. Nexus. 2019.
7 thoughts on “Granbelm Episode 2 – Well This Was Unexpected”
I looooooove Granbelm so far, both episodes! Thanks for your review. I don’t mind having both mecha battles and a magical SoL though. I kind of hope for both.
I think it’s an interesting mix but I feel like the mecha battles were a bit jumbled in the first ep. We’ll see where it goes
Hm, seems I’ll have to watch the show for its real-world components. To be honest, what the first episode reminded me most of was Märchen Mädchen, which ended in a production meltdown and had its final two episodes released only very recently. I low-key liked that show. The feel of the shows are very similar (down to the sudden surprise nudity, it seems). I’ll probably watch two episodes when the next one comes out. Easiest that way.
Wouldn’t say it’s suddenly brilliant but I liked the second episode a lot more than the first
So far my favourite part is Mangetsu and her stubborn refusal to hand over her crystal thing for reasons even she doesn’t quite understand but by the end of the episode she articulates beautifully. I also liked that this anime has consequences. Girl stays out all night without telling family and the family panics. Another girl lost last week in the magical girl fight and this episode has real world impacts from that.
That said, while there are bits and pieces of this that are laudable, the overall package is kind of a mixed bag.
It is. This week showed more potential than I thought was there