Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash Level 8 Light Novel Review

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash Volume 8

The party is finally splitting up and there are some dire consequences to be found.

It’s honestly going to be impossible to review this one without spoilers so if you haven’t read this far in the series, check out the links below for some of the earlier books or check out one of my other light novel reviews here.

For those still with me, level 8 really stepped things up. As much as I loved the last couple of volumes as they left Grimgar and travelled through the Dusk Realm but the end of the volume where they finally emerged back into Grimgar was a bit of a relief. The question became what now that they’ve gotten back to Grimgar considering it isn’t their world either (though at least there are more humans in Grimgar and they’ve gotten a bit used to it).

Well, it turns out a lot can happen when the party finally arrives back. They aren’t anywhere they know in Grimgar, in fact they are a long, long way away from their familiar territory and hunting grounds or allies that might help them. This presents a number of fairly immediate problems because even though Haruhiro and the gang have undeniably gotten stronger even before their trek through the Dusk Realm (and they most definitely found strength through enduring that), they are still very small fish in the larger pond.

So the team splits up in order to scout the surrounding area and figure out what to do next.

Honestly, as soon as they made this decision it was clear what was going to happen and yet they still managed to make this interesting. Ranta and Merry end up with one group made up of orcs and other inhumans while Haruhiro and the rest end up kind of attached to a mercenary unit that may or may not be assisting a samurai village.

As the team learn about this part of Grimgar, the Samurai villages, Arnold – a force of nature, and everything else that is going on, they are continuing to search for Merry and Ranta however Ranta as always has an interesting knack for survival. When up against an unbeatable enemy, make the enemy a friend remains his standard practice and while it might be argued in this instance his instant bow act saved Merry’s life, it would be difficult to say that Ranta has particularly grown as a character.

That said, his presentation in this volume was perhaps the most nuanced yet as it seemed he was well aware of his failings but desperately wanted to save Merry and couldn’t think of a better way to go about it. It made me quite interested in where his character might go, assuming of course he lives long enough to go anywhere from this point.

However, this does set up for a climax where Haruhiro and Ranta face off. Now, anyone who has read seven books in this series will be on their edge of their seat for this confrontation. While these two have been in the same team since the beginning, the friction between them has never gone away and finally seeing them on opposite sides for real is one of those character moments you are just grateful actually eventuated and they didn’t back away from it at the last minute.

Haruhiro Vs Rantar

While the conclusion is yet to be decided and I’m kind of hopeful that eventually they pull the team back together, Grimgar has a penchant for being very realistic about some things. Water once spilled can’t be returned to the glass and all that. Is this the end of Ranta in the group or will they find someway to save him?

Outside of the interesting team dynamic moments, I must say Grimgar continues to introduce some weird and yet interesting supporting characters. While such a large cast might be a problem if handled poorly, here they manage to keep the focus on how each encounter changes the core group so characters coming and going from the story around them is actually handled fairly well with enough reminders of who the important support cast are for us not to forget (even though it has been awhile since we’ve seen them as Haruhiro’s group have been separated for a fair while now).

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash Volume 8

The story continues to move at a good pace giving each moment enough time to have the appropriate emotional weight without lingering overly long on any one point and while Ranta’s dialogue remains fairly insufferable, it has become pretty accepted at this point that it is part of his character.

If anything, I’d have to say my only real criticism of the story at this point is that it has become decidedly serialised. Earlier books could be read more or less independently, though needed to be read in order, and these later ones pretty much build to a climax but leave so much still be to be discovered. That would be fine if all the books were out and while I have volume 9 to read and ready to go I suspect that I’ll soon want volume 10 and unfortunately it is pre-order only and Volume 11 isn’t out until October. That would be why I haven’t been in any rush to get through these volumes because I want the story relatively fresh when I read the next book.

Grimgar remains a really great read and I think the writing has gotten better since book 1. The story and world building are great, the character development remains believable, and the books haven’t fallen into a repetitive pattern as each new adventure really does build on the last but take us somewhere new to learn more about the world and characters. I very much recommend this series to anyone looking for a more serious isekai (though early books do still have too many random fanservice moments just because).

Affiliate Link:
If you’re interested in reading Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash Volume 8 it is available on the Book Depository.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
avatar
Three great ways you can support
100 Word Anime:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Advertisements

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash Level 6 + 7: Biting Off More Than They Can Chew

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash Level 6

The review below contains spoilers for the previous books and there will also be spoilers for level 6 as it directly leads into the events of level 7.

Review:

It has been awhile since I reviewed book 5 of this series and I finished reading this one ages ago and immediately went into book 7 so I feel a little bad about taking so long to write the review. Part of the issue with level 6 of Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash is that unlike every other book in this series so far, book 6 didn’t finish within its own volume. It literally just leaves us hanging at a fairly critical point and I’m not the biggest fan of completely unresolved stories so naturally had to read the next book before I could even think about reviewing it. While level 7 also doesn’t bring things entirely to an end, it does at least resolve the crisis they were facing and I felt it was a nice resting point (which is good considering I’m waiting for the actual release of the next few novels in the series. But this is all just kind of meandering around the point of what books 6 and 7 bring to the table.

Grimgar7a.jpg

Considering the world of Grimgar has always been deadly to the characters with their inherent weaknesses and inability to survive without assistance, upping the stakes in the story is actually kind of challenging. We know that these characters can die from something very small if they just let down their guard or have bad luck so they don’t really need to escalate things very much to have us in a life or death situation. With that said, the way these two books bring another level of tension to the story is actually fairly solid.

The characters are still exploring the Dusk Realm with the Tokkis but now many other teams have joined in. And it is this increased number of people that leads to the problem. The Dusk Realm starts fighting back with much larger giants and more threats than ever before. Which is what also leads to the single stupidest decision ever made in Grimgar and we see the issue with Haruhiro and the others inherently following the leads of the other teams. Soma and the Daybreakers, as well as a bunch of other teams decide to try their hand at taking out these new enemies. And to be perfectly frank it all falls apart very quickly.

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash Level 6

We also get a lot more relationship drama with Haruhiro being the standard mopey protagonist who bows out from pursuing the girl he likes just because he thinks she’s with one of his other team members (without ever actually asking her or confirming anything). It isn’t exactly Haruhiro’s finest moment as either the leader or a character, but what it does do is set the scene for some of his best growth yet over the course of these two books. Yes, he makes mistakes. Yes, he is mopey and whines a lot. And yes, he doesn’t get his team out of the dusk realm pronto when things start going south.

However, Haurhiro’s greatest strength is that he learns from each mistake. They might cost a lot but they are lessons that he burns into his very soul and resolves to avoid making again. Level 7 finishes with one of the best moments for Haruhiro. He isn’t suddenly some amazing leader and fighter, but he overcomes a challenge that really should have left him dead and he does it almost entirely alone.

Basically, Haurhiro is a character I can get behind. Right from the beginning he’s been weak and he’s full of faults, but what he achieves despite all of his weaknesses is amazing. The fact that he’s still trying and hasn’t just laid down to die is incredible. And the story presented here showcases all his faults and his greatest strengths and it is incredibly satisfying.

The inclusion of Lala and Nono in these two volumes is a bit more of a mixed bag in terms of characters. On the one hand, they are important catalysts and unlike other teams they don’t baby Haruhiro and his group and they certainly aren’t going to carry the weak with them. On the other hand, they just aren’t developed enough for their characters to really feel like they are anything more than plot devices at this stage. They point the way at the end of level 6 and show up in level 7 mostly to deliver an interesting moment where Haurhiro faces a moral choices and makes a choice that most people would say is probably right but it leaves the group in significant trouble.

I kind of get why these two characters are presented the way they are. The story is primarily told from Haruhiro’s point of view even though it isn’t in first person and Haruhiro does not understand these characters or really know what to make of them. It makes sense that the audience is also left with that impression. However, considering their significant impact on the plot at the end of both books, these two characters needed a little more.

The rest of the team really do get sidelined though in terms of development. They each have their moments, and the group dynamic as a whole really gets explored during level 7 when they don’t know if they’ll ever get back to Grimgar, but as individuals they all just kind of blend into the group. It really feels like this story exists to push Haruhiro in his role as leader and while the rest of the team are growing their achievements aren’t as interesting and aren’t focused on.

I really enjoyed the two volumes and the story presented here. Level 7 ends on a bit of a cliff-hanger but it does feel like enough is resolved that I was happy with that as an ending point. I continue to really enjoy spending time in this world with these characters so even my complaints aren’t really complaints as much as areas that might have been a bit stronger. I found these books very easy to read and there is a nice mix of action and reflection over the two volumes. If you’ve read up to this point, these two are definitely a fine addition to the series.

Affiliate Link:
If you’re interested in reading Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash Volume 6 and Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash Volume 7 they are available on the Book Depository.

Thanks for reading
Karandi James
avatar
Three great ways you can support 100 Word Anime:

Patreon2

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com