Granbelm Episode 3 – Magical Mecha Melee at Moonrise

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Granbelm and I are back with another week of adorable girls and somewhat questionable mechas. Granbelm has a lot of moving parts and they don’t all work that well together. I think the lack of cohesion was on best display this week.

You may even be able to see it through the pictures of the episode. Which continue to be quite pretty, the gallery is HERE!.

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close enough!

What I Thought Would Happen

Last week ended on a mild cliffhanger/revelation as our feisty redhead antagonist Anna called Shingetsu a demon. Obviously there’s some unresolved issues there so I thought we were going to go for a mostly flash back episode showing us what went wrong between the two girls. Maybe a bit of fighting at the end to and our main characters would have a minor setback but Mangetsu would hug an upset Shingetsu and help her get over the wounds of the past.

I put too much thought into these things.

What Did Happen

Well, not that. Apparently there is past beef between the two but we’re not really told what happened. Instead, we get to know the other magical pilot girls a little better. One has white hair and wants to win to help her sister that seems to be in a sort of coma. Another has two younger sisters that help her at a distance and at the last minute we find out she’s fighting for her mother somehow.

Throughout the interspersed magical girl scenes we get a lot more world building info dump but it’s honestly a bit hard to follow and to me, just not that interest8ing. The part I liked was the little we learn about Shingetsu and her background. At some point Mang and Shing are heading home when a car stops and Anna’s mother and younger sister jump out hugging Shingetsu and telling her to come home. It was confusing but very interesting and I am far more curious about what will happen with this story thread than any of the magical battles taking place.

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that’s the sister’s hand… you guessed that

What About the Characters

We did get some development on a lot of characters and they all seem to have distinct personalities and their own very personal reasons for wanting to win Granbelm. Oh and trauma, lots of past trauma. It’s following the “dark magical girl” template but I’ve got nothing against that. When done right, I think it can create compelling characters, although I personally think it works better in plot driven stories.

Mangetsu took a step back this week. That was o.k. too. She’s better in smaller doses and I’m glad we have a larger cast to bring some variety.

What I Liked

The new characters were all promising which is a feat. However, as I mentioned, the set up for a family drama with Shingetsu and Anna’s family was the strongest part. I hope we get to explore it more.

The magic in this series is some of the most practical and useful I’ve seen. Simply cross your fingers and people believe your stories or can’t hear you talking to your friend. It’s awesome. Usually, in order not to break the plot, magic is super convoluted and has all these weird rules and limitations, Not in Granbelm, no wonder you’d want to learn all about it.

The show remains quite good visually and I’m surprised I’m not seeing it praised more on that aspect.

What I Liked Less

Again, I’m not feeling the magical and mecha side of the plot. Actually, I also am not crazy about the chibi mecha designs. The battle scenes have failed to get me very engaged at all in these first 3 episode and as far as I’m concerned, the fewer of these battles we get, the better. 

It’s a little sad that all the elements that are more unusual in Granbelm are those I dislike. Maybe I just wanted to see a cgdct show.

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then again, maybe once I actually figure out what’s going on

Closing Thoughts

My feeling form last episode is pretty much confirmed now. Essentially that Granbelm is a show that’s trying to do a lot of things but can only manage a few of them successfully. The magical mecha aspects are too messy to be compelling so far. However, the dramatic slice of life aspect holds a lot of promise and the narrative seems to have taken care to develop the characters beyond recoloured copies of each other.

Not sure how I feel.

Mood: Less Mechas please

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.

12 thoughts on “Granbelm Episode 3 – Magical Mecha Melee at Moonrise

  1. The show’s emotional moments really hit home, don’t they? I really am curious what happened between Shingetsu and Anna. I don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t that they’re adopted siblings, and that the rest of the family is missing her. The set-up of the scene was really good, too, with Anna’s little sister noticing Shingetsu and the scene turning a little disorientating before the reveal. I’m actually impressed. Many of the emotinal reactions of the characters feel just so authentic, without succumbing to melodrama.

    Mangetsu, too, is much more of a weirdo than characters of her type usually are.

    (And then the mech battles start, and my interest plummets. Yeah – less mecha, please, is a very relatable mood.)

  2. You know, it is weird liking a post on my blog, but I did enjoy reading this.
    Granbelm is still very mixed for me as well because I’m enjoying aspects of it and some characters but the overall package still hasn’t quite worked for me. I don’t mind the mecha bits but there’s a sense of disconnect between those and the school life girl drama that is going on elsewhere in the show.

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