For me, Granbelm went into a bit of a slump a couple of episodes ago. Anna’s character arc felt rushed to me and was rather unsatisfying considering Anna was my favourite character (well second favourite but they were vying for the position at the time). On top of that find the action/plot-driven episodes weaker than the character ones. The universe and rules of Granbelm are just a little too vague in my head for me to properly appreciate those stories. But Nene is always delightful and her recent input has really renewed my interest.
Naturally, I took a whole bunch for screencaps. I think the mecha designs are, for lack of a better word: miscast. They aren’t, in fact, bad but the clash with the very dramatic tome of those fights and because they are somewhat small and bluntly details, epic moments of mecha evolution are hard to see and don’t pack much visual punch. It brings down those scenes a lot in my opinion.
What I Thought Would Happen
I thought Kuon would go rogue, going after Suishou on her own and endangering everyone else in the process. Maybe she would get herself cursed as well and the Getsu girls would have to save her, probably curing her sister in the process! This would be in later episodes though.
Meanwhile, Nene would be subtly questioning the younger Mangetsu, trying to find out what exactly is the cause of the enormous magic signature around the house.
What Did Happen
A version of my predictions played out. Surprisingly (to me) the front half of the episode was dedicated more to building Shingetsu and Mangetsu’s intimate friendship with a training sequence. It was by the book innocent female bonding stuff with soft touches and meaningful looks that are pretty standard in the not exactly yuri series. I expected this type of sequence to show up way earlier in the show, to be honest. It was a’ight.
Nene did find out something very important about Kohinata (great name) but whatever it is, she’s only telling Shingetsu and not us! Shingetsu had been planning to take it easy next Granbelm and she had taken quite a bit of damage last time, hence training Mangetsu to take the lead. But whatever she learned seemed shocking.
For her part, Kuon is indeed quite frazzled by Suishou, as such, when the Granbelm begins she immediately goe for her and it becomes apparent that she is woefully outclassed. Suishou didn’t get where she is on pure bad*ssery alone! Girl’s got some skills. At the last minute, the power of sisterly love saves Kuon but Mangetsu rushes in and it seems we’re finally going to find out what her deal is and roll credits.
What About the Characters
I can’t say much about the characters this week to be honest. It was more of the same and no one particularly stood out to me.
By now all the girls’ personalities have been pretty well established, it’s not odd that we don’t find out something new each episode. And the episode really was more plot driven this time.
I will say though, Despite Kuon and Suishou being my favourite characters, I find their arc oddly boring. It just doesn’t draw me in as much as everything else that’s going on. It’s a very odd situation. I prefer the characters out of the context of their own story.
What I Liked
Suishou. I did just put this point in as a reusable block. 🙂
I would have liked to see more Nene but the mystery that she brings is great. It invigorated the story that was becoming a bit of a tragedy of the week. As frustrating as it was to be kept in the dark, I kept yelling at my TV to just tell us already, it was also stimulating. I got the old conspiracy theories rushing around it my brain and made for a fun watch.
They keep insisting of Mangetsu’s insecurity that she is “nothing”. That her presence has no impact. Maybe she really is an illusion but then, why would Shingetsu care so much about her feelings. It’s hinted that Suishou knows exactly what’s going on, because of course she does! But how does she know? Does anyone else? What’s going on??
I’m one of those people who really likes the what’s going on here feeling.
What I Liked Less
I touched on it in the opening paragraphs. There are lots of elements in the Granbelm that are supposed to be grandiose and visceral but for me, the art style of the mechas simply doesn’t invoke those things very well. I end up either confused by the fact that the visuals aren’t what I *think* they should be or the illusion is completely shattered because no suspension of disbelief is going to fix this.
There’s A LOT going on in Granbelm and it can make individual elements feel a little shallow. For instance, it seems we’ve moved on from Anna this week. I don’t know if the other Anna is still living in her place. I don’t know how the little sister is doing. They may go back to it and weave it into future events. I’m sure they’ll at least mention Anna in passing or something. But the quick turnaround and lack of lasting impact makes her entire arc feel sort of pointless. If she had never been there in the first place, would it really change where the girls are now?
To me, there’s a weightlessness to events and I’m not connecting as much with the story as I would otherwise.
General gripes aside, the episode itself was generally enjoyable. To me, the mystery of Mangetsu’s existence remains the best part but it was also great to see Kuon come into her own.
Hopefully, they’ll let us in on the secret next week!
Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!
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Images from: Granbelm. Dir. M Watanabe. Nexus. 2019.