This anime got my attention.
Granbelm Episode 1
Magic girls fight in an imaginary space using giant robots that are actually a materialised version of their heart? Okay, Granbelm, I’ll bite.
Admittedly outside of the giant robots we’ve essentially got another magical girl battle royale going on which have kind of become a dime a dozen in a post Madoka era. That doesn’t mean these kinds of stories can’t be fun, particularly if they have a bit of energy behind them and Granbelm certainly has that. About the only time this episode took a pause for air was when Shingetsu sat down with Mangetsu to try to explain the basic origin of what was going on and that didn’t last long before a formerly downed enemy got up and went back on the attack.
As an anime original there’s a definite novelty here in that no one will really know what to expect and there’s no sneaking a peak at the end of the story. While we might compare elements of Granbelm with other magical girl stories, there was a definite feeling of freshness about this one as Mangetsu scuttled about what used to be the school building trying to evade attacks by robots.
Of course the standard tropes are there. The heroine’s transformation has her in pink and white and despite not having a clue about magic or how to use her giant robot thing, after being told to envision what she wanted to happen she suddenly becomes super powered. We’ve also got a number of mages that look like they missed the boat for Magical Girl Raising Project in terms of personality. Then the crystals the girls have strongly remind me of the crystallised souls the girls were given in Madoka Magica. About all we’re really missing is a cute mascot animal but I guess that’s hard to squeeze in when we’ve also got giant robots in play (though I won’t be surprised to see one turn up later).
However, there’s one undeniable fact about this first episode of Granbelm and that is that it is really fun to watch. It draws you right into the action and you learn enough about the characters and the world on the way with only a minor exposition dump to bridge a few gaps that passes quickly. The music is amazing with the soundtrack while the robot fight was going on reminded me of an old school sci-fi as did the noises the robots made as they moved and attacked. Visually it is rich in colour but not an eye-sore.
About my only worry here is that next week when we return to the ‘real’ world this will become a stock standard school anime only occasionally broken up by the kind of content we saw this week. Hopefully that isn’t the case, but it is definitely a possibility.
supporting 100 Word Anime.
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Images from: Granbelm. Dir. M Watanabe. Nexus. 2019.