Granblue Fantasy Series Review

Overview:

Granblue Fantasy tells the story of Gran who wants to look for his father who left to find the island of the astrals. It doesn’t seem like Gran has much hope of making his dream come true until a girl literally comes crashing into his life and Gran gets swept up in an adventure.

Review:

This sounds like it should be a really cool fantasy series and up to a point it kind of is. There are dragons (well primal beasts), villains, magic and swords, flying ships, and everything else you would need for a great fantasy. The issue is, the story is kind of calm and pleasant and even the more intense moments barely rise about minor concern for the characters. So instead of getting some epic fantasy story about a small group of plucky adventurers, what we get is kind of the after-school special version of that where everyone just wants to be friends and the villains are completely hopeless.

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That doesn’t mean the show isn’t fun. Each week I found the episode to be perfectly watchable. The characters are sweet, a little boring, but fine. The animation and visuals are pretty good and are probably better for someone who can stream at full resolution without their internet frying itself. The music is upbeat and pleasant. It all just kind of works and everything does its job.

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For me though, this series is a bit of a miss. I’ve watched it through, I still don’t know how the journey ends, and I’m kind of fine with that. I have no investment in any of the characters or their journey at this point. If the show had run another 12 episodes I probably would have kept watching but I doubt my opinion would have changed.

There were a couple of things that did bother me about this show though.

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The first is Vyrn, the flying lizard thing. I genuinely have no idea why he exists. He isn’t funny, he isn’t mascot like, he doesn’t add any insight, and he doesn’t even save the day at one point just to prove he has a reason to exist. If we add on to that he has an annoying voice and his flight defies any kind of common sense (not such a huge issue in anime but when you already dislike a character and you are nitpicking it is a legitimate issue) Vyrn really does bring a lot of scenes down. I’d have happily forgotten his existence except that he just has to add his two cents in even when they add nothing to the progress of either character or plot.

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The second thing that bothered me was how useless most of the empire’s soldiers seemed to be. You know, storm-trooper jokes aside, I somehow doubt that any empire is going to last any length of time if their troops can’t capture a boy with a flying lizard, a girl and one trained soldier. Not to mention, all of the leaders of the soldiers just came off as either crazy or stupid and neither of these traits seems particularly promising for longevity either.

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Lastly, I just wanted their adventure to have more focus and purpose. They keep flitting between goals and it just meant so much of what we were watching felt kind of like whimsy rather than purposeful.

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Still, let’s end on some positives. Because they are on an adventure you get to see a wide range of locations and meet some really fun bit part characters who actually outshine the main cast (too bad they drift in and then out of the story). Some of the fight sequences are very cool. And did I mention this anime has dragons in it?

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I’m not actually going to recommend this one. If you’ve watched it or you like a light hearted meandering adventure story in a fantasy setting, you’ll probably have some fun here, but it is pretty forgettable.

That said, I’d love to know your thoughts if you caught this show during the season.


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Granblue Fantasy Episode 12

Review:

All the way through this I just kept thinking it felt like the end of a season. It wasn’t giving us answers but it just felt like this was the final battle. Turns out episode 13 is an extra so that feeling wasn’t misplaced.

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So then I have to ask, what was the point? Yes, the journey continues and there are all these new characters with very cool fighting skills (meanwhile where were these guys during the last fight in this city) and all the old faces have returned but we’re no closer to the island of the astrals, Gran’s father, or knowing anything about Lyria. Though, Lyria did at least get a nice character point where she finally wants to know about herself. Still, 12 episodes of floating around, fighting the occasional primal beast, meeting people and the like; fun as it was, it really is kind of pointless.

Still, watch Gran win another fight? Okay.

Granblue Fantasy is available on Crunchyroll.


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Granblue Fantasy Episode 11

Review:

Not sure what to make of this. It is pretty stock standard go inside person’s consciousness, figure out their baggage, correct them, and then they wake up. In this case followed by a quick fight sequence and a minor reveal about Gran’s father. All and all, pretty ordinary fare for fantasy/adventure stories.

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I’m guessing the whole sequence probably would have been more touching if I actually liked either Gran or Lyria. While I don’t dislike them, I think both are pretty ordinary as characters. They don’t do anything to really set themselves a part or to have depth, or even be memorable. So when Lyria says she wants to disappear, I’m kind of okay with that. Give your full power to Gran and disappear. Gran seems to feel differently but as an audience member I wasn’t overly invested in this conflict.

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I think the only moment this episode where I really sat up and took notice was when Rosetta dropped that minor bomb-shell about Gran’s father, that Gran didn’t even hear and it certainly wasn’t explained given it was pretty much the end of the episode. It had kind of seemed like the story had forgotten that Gran was looking for his father and now they just kind of drop that in there.

Anyway, this still remains perfectly watchable and not a lot else. It looks pretty if that helps.

Granblue Fantasy is available on Crunchyroll.


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Granblue Fantasy Episode 10

Review:

According to MAL this has 14 episodes, so do we assume they aren’t getting to the island of the Astrals in this season because it seems like our current goal is to save Lyria. Really, that’s been my issue with this for awhile. They keep flitting from goal to goal without really having any sense of urgency or need to achieve anything much. Lyria’s current condition seems like an interesting enough episode goal but doesn’t feel like a worthy enough end of season issue and yet given the timing its either going to be resolved next episode without any fuss or it is going to be the final challenge for the season, and either way it won’t be overly satisfying.

Much like the fate of Lyria’s hairclip really.

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That was a short lived symbol.

Anyway, I’m done taking the empire as any kind of serious threat given the poor showing they gave again this week. Early on I kind of felt we were supposed to feel these guys were actually a problem but they’ve increasingly shown themselves to be laughable at best. One has to wonder why they have any power at all given it seems ridiculously easy to make them run for their lives.

Granblue remains perfectly watchable but isn’t exactly compelling.

Granblue Fantasy is available on Crunchyroll.


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Granblue Fantasy Episode 9

Review:

While there is nothing wrong with a show foreshadowing its plot (I would argue its fairly necessary if you want any kind of cohesion), when an entire episode seems to serve no other purpose but setting up a single event and it does it in a heavy handed and fairly bland manner you have to wonder how the writers thought they were providing entertainment as well as setting up a plot point.

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From the very start of this episode we get that there is a heavy Gran and Lyria focus. She’s having nightmares and he’s comforting her with the usual certainty that comes from unimaginative anime protagonists. There’s some other stuff on the beach and Lyria’s hearing a faint voice that Gran can’t hear. Later the group get split up to do odd jobs for an old friend of Rackham’s and Lyria and Gran get sent together to do odd jobs. They have a great time shopping but you just have to wonder why we don’t get to see Io healing those who got wounded fighting monsters or Katalina training soldiers. Both plot points seem more interesting than Gran and Lyria sightseeing but this episode isn’t particularly interested in the story going on with the war or anything else. All this episode is interested in is setting up the dramatic finish which of course is supposed to be shocking but given there was no other way for the episode to end was kind of eye-roll worthy.

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Anyway, if there was any doubt where this story was going, just listen to the conversation when Gran buys the hair clip for Lyria and you just know there are no other options. She’s about to get kidnapped. It was pretty clear earlier that’s where we were going but that conversation just keeps hammering that point over and over and over again like no one has ever seen this development in a story before.

The only thing I’m left wondering about is if we’ll finally get to address the point of how far and how long Lyria and Gran can be separated with the whole soul sharing thing.

Granblue Fantasy is available on Crunchyroll.


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Granblue Fantasy Episode 7

Review:

Rackam has definitely become my favourite character in this show (mostly due to a lack of competition but also because he kind of says what is on my mind in most scenes). Originally, I quite enjoyed Katalina as a character but since episode 3 she’s really just become background noise and hasn’t done much of anything.

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This episode they find the Archduke and then they fight a giant robot thing before they all have a heart to heart, cry and make up. Okay, there’s probably a bit more to it than that and they do get another piece of the skymap, but mostly this show remains pretty flat and ordinary. There’s nothing specifically wrong with anything that happens other than it is just not that interesting.

Granblue Fantasy is available on Crunchyroll.


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Granblue Fantasy Episode 6

Review:

Things neither improve nor get worse in this latest episode of Granblue Fantasy. We meet a new character, named Io, who is obnoxiously cute but can use magic so is probably a good addition to the team. They agree to look for the missing archduke of the island they’ve just arrived on (because of course when you are hiding from the empire sticking your nose into political situations is the best way to hide). The logic of this show continues to hurt just a little bit.

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Lyria – Gotta love her reasoning. Rock solid.

However, the episode was mostly fine and entertaining as long as you didn’t think too hard. The one point I really disliked was when Lyria asked the little shop keeper how she managed to get to the island before them (given she spoke to them on the last island and was still there when they left). We get one of those really annoying non-answers in response.

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Right, that’s really deep but back to how did you get there?

Petty complaints aside, this remains kind of cute but kind of pointless at the same time.

Granblue Fantasy is available on Crunchyroll.


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Granblue Fantasy Episode 3

Review:

So, they crashed the airship. Surprising how that happens when you don’t have a pilot (I mean helmsman) to fly the thing. Actually, this is the episode where Katalina just kind of loses her cool look. From episode 1 she’s been cool and the most interesting of the cast. This episode she’s pretty lame. And part of the reason is because we have to make the new guy look cool.

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Rackman the helmsman who spends all his time repairing an old crashed airship. I wonder if he’ll end up being helpful (eyeroll).

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Okay, I’m mocking a lot but that’s because as watchable as this episode was, it kind of doesn’t do much. We run around the island for a while, run into potential empire agents, and then while our main group are out of town to ask Rackman if he’ll be their helmsman, an army from the empire led by shrimp-crazy-guy shows up. It kind of sounds like it should be fun but mostly its just stepping through the motions and taking us along with it.

Granblue Fantasy is available on Crunchyroll.


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