I love using quotes from the show as post titles! Short of having themed titles like I did with The Promise Neverland and Given, it’s my favourite way of naming posts. Mostly because I’m horrid at coming up with titles. Almost as bad as creating written banter for opening paragraphs. So let’s talk about Granbelm.
Want to see what the episode looked like? You can do so right here on my gallery post!
What I Thought Would Happen
I thought Anna and Shingetsu would hug and Anna would now be helping the main to win Granbelm just like Nene is. Maybe the adorable little sister would be coming in and out of the show being adorably delighted that her family is reunited once more.
I also hoped that this would mean Siushou would be picking up the slack on the villain front and we would get to see more of her.
Also, as I figured we would need a new focus of dramatic tension, I thought the cursed white-haired sister would get worse and a race for the cure might start. Potentially even pitting old allies against each other as ends vs means becomes an issue.
What Did Happen
Anna’s little sister was indeed adorable though it was in an anguished way instead of a delighted way. Shingetsu is super talented and powerful which has been a source of constant torment in her life because people are mean and also feelings.
Meanwhile, it seems Dawnstorm was right and Anna is far from OK, instead, she’s gone off the deep end, forsaken family, Granbelm and everything else just for a chance to hurt Shingetsu. Feelings! And they decide to settle the score like two mature adults by fighting with huge yet chibi looking mechas in Granbelm.
On intense and emotion robot fight later (which takes up most of the episode), and things are “settled”. I’m not sure actually, the resolution is a little open-ended. It feels like a conclusion to Anna’s episode arc but I’ve been wrong about that before. Heck I was wrong about precisely that last week.
What About the Characters
I understand what Anna’s progression is and although I’m not exactly thrilled about the jealousy as a motivation thing (I guess you could read into it and assume that the huge Fugo family crystal is putting some type of spiritual pressure on her which is driving her a bit crazy), I still understand it as a concept.
The execution of Anna’s character arc is what I’m less than thrilled about it. Probably due to a lack of time, there’s a lack of transition in her evolution so a lot of her shifts are too sudden for me to emotionally engage with. I haven’t had time to sympathize with her emotional state before she overthrows it.
For her part, Shingetsu turned out someone whiny this week. She brought down her stoic facade but what was underneath was so so in my opinion. I think they should have pushed it more, made her out to be a self-righteous spoiled brat. In my opinion that would have been more amusing than the victim of her circumstances archetype, they are painting her as.
The rest of the characters stay firmly in the background and pretty much true to themselves. Nene is back for a bit and as awesome as ever. Suishou also shows up to be equally awesome but in a very different, very trollish, sort of way.
I’m having a bit of trouble connecting with Mangetsu. She’s a lot like me which to me is one of the most boring things you can be. I do really enjoy the running gag of her putting all this effort into cooking for people and everyone else being rather indifferent about it. It’s a great character moment even if it really doesn’t tell us much.
What I Liked
Suishou. I should just put this point in as a reusable block.
To be honest, I think this week’s mecha battles were one of the best. It was fairly easy to follow and everyone’s goals and motivations were clear from the stat so that viewers can pick a side and sort of understanding when the tides are shifting.
Nene’s return and her adorable golden piglet communicator were a bright sprinkle of good humour. I’m happy to see that she wasn’t completely written off the show.
What I Liked Less
The attack on Anna’s mom did not serve much of a purpose other than add yet more tragedy. It seemed excessive to me.
This is by no way Granbelm’s fault however, at the 15-minute mark or so, Crunchy started seriously lagging, freezing and loading every few seconds. I watched 5 shows that even, Granbelm was the only one with issues. Since I wasn’t that vested in the mecha fight I simply let it play, picking up this adorable Yuri webtoon to read while it’s buffering.
Guys, I loved that webtoon – I’m going to tell you about it if you like. I’m currently operating on 4 hours of sleep because of that webtoon!
I don’t think I can properly assess Granbelm due to the unique technical difficulties I experienced. However, I am noticing that in the early season I seemed to be alone watching this and I was surprisingly enthused by it. Recently a lot of bloggers seemed to have picked up on it and are singing it’s praises while I’m a little over it. Am I a reverse sheep (just as bad – maybe worse than sheep)?
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.
5 thoughts on “Granbelm Episode 7 – A Bog of Despair”
This generally played out the way I thought it would. To me Anna is a perfectly consistent character with a rather straight progression and no majore shifts. She’s just unstable. I remember how she treated the girl who lost the first Granbelm; well, then Suishou gave her a little of her own medicine (strategically placed? I think so), and now she’s in the same situation. I notice that the girl who lost in the first episode and Anna are the only ones who have their eyes open behind the crystal. If the show had more time, I suspect the writers might bring them together again in some way.
As it is, there are some things I didn’t quite catch. Did Anna attack her mum? The end-credit scene last episode didn’t hint at that, and now she’s suddenly out? Not sure what happened here. I’ve even briefly pondered the effects of crystal bonding. But that’s way out there.
Thematically, I think Anna is a foil for Mangetsu. Remember how she freaked out at the thought of being no longer special? That’s very much comparable to Anna’s situation, so the question is one of differences. What reigned her in that day was being confronted with Nene’s feelings and memories. (Anime usually does that thing were people who pay attention to others get a better outcome, so no suprises here.)
That’s also why Shingetsu can’t be a spoiled brat. She needs to represent the other end of the pole. Always in control (people who are always in control are often whiny when they lose it, because there’s little else they know to do when their best laid plans fail).
I find Granbelm’s sory is perfectly fine, but not good enough to be a draw in its own right. It doesn’t help that the mecha battles often confuse me: for example, I can’t tell if Shingetsu did something to defeat Anna, after getting over herself (the ultimate humiliation: defeating her as an afterthought once you’re done moping), or if she just waited Anna out, as she knew she couldn’t handle the power. The thing is that these two interpetations have different implications, and I don’t know which one to choose, or if any of them is even close to what happened. If I cared more about the story, I’d go back for a re-watch, but I don’t care enough. I generally have little problems with the show and like it a lot more than I thought I would. On Derek’s blog I called it “Mai Hime light”, and I still think that’s a pretty good way to characterise the show.
Finally, you can talk about how awesome Suishou is anytime, and it’s always going to be true.
I also got the idea that Anna attacked her mom for the crystal but I don’t think the show actually confirmed or even inferred it.
I don’t mind an unstable character. I wish there was more build up. She was a very sweet little girl. A classic bitch and now just nuts. I would get more attached if the jumps weren’t so big. And I really liked Anna in the beginning of the show so that may be why I’m mopey about it
(Waves flag as one of the few other people who has been following this show since the beginning.) I’m kind of with you in some ways. I do like the Mecha battles and some characters (mainly side characters like Shishou and Kuon. That looks like such a wonderfully complicated relationship I want to know more about.)
And I do want you to talk about that webtoon you seem obsessed with. It seems like you geek out on a high level sometimes 😁.
Shhhh don’t let my secret out!!! Yay. I shall tell you then!