Darwin’s Game Episode 6 Review

Darwin6 Episode

Water and Ice

Darwin’s Game was took Shuka’s near drowning, which I was already uncomfortable with, and threw an unhealthy dose of portraying CPR as something romantic this week leading me to a serious eye-rolling fest. I really hate this trope. One character sinks in water, they are dragged out, and then, rather than administering necessary first aid, the character deliberates over whether or not to do CPR usually why we get ridiculous close ups of moist lips and blushed cheeks. You know, instead of lips going quickly blue and the person in question worrying about saving their life. This trope has to stop. CPR is a life-saver and portraying it as anything other than a life saving action is just wrong and romanticising something that is incredibly traumatic for the person on the receiving end (you know – drowning) is incredibly irksome.

Okay, that’s my own little bug but I’m sick of it and there’s not a huge amount to talk about with this episode so it kind of stuck with me throughout.

The girl just drowned. And she’s still having to tread water in freezing conditions. She isn’t kissing him. This is just stupid.

Anyway, Darwin’s Game continues to stumble along. Last week there was some vague hope that it would finally settle itself and find a direction, but this week jumps from Kaname rescuing Shuka, to the machine gun guy pursuing the water user, to the hotel where Rein and the Florist are waiting, over to the Eighth and there’s no real coherence to an episode that seems largely set-up for future events. I’ve already established that the Kaname and Shuka moment was plain stupid (as was their happily chatting as they swam through the freezing water and out of the tunnel), and to be honest none of the other sections really grabbed my interest this week because I just wanted to know what the deal with the rings was.


Naturally we don’t get an answer in this episode, though the diamond ring showing up has helped Rein figure out at least where they need to go. I’m kind of glad they didn’t all just go back to the hotel and take the siege head on. While the Florist seems to want to keep ring collecting for cash, Kaname and the others seem more determined to actually finish the event.

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One-handed Gaming Keyboard

We briefly see Wang, the leader of Eighth and it looks like he’s also figured out something about the rings and their code so possibly Kaname and the others are going to run headlong into him anyway. I wonder how long they will stretch this whole sequence out. We’ve got the Florist tearing through the guys who assaulted the tower and the rest of the known characters descending on Shibuya station but will they get into the fight next week or is this going to be a couple more episodes coming?


All things considered, this anime continues to be just kind of watchable. The game itself could be interesting if they ever get to explaining the how and the why, but so far little movement has been made on that front. Unfortunately, the characters themselves are just not compelling enough to carry the story without the sense that we are getting somewhere so while there have been some interesting moments, at the mid-season point I’m feeling this one is probably just going to be a miss.

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Karandi James

Darwin’s Game is making all the wrong moves, but if you want the episode reviews here they are.

Images from: Darwin’s Game. Dir. Yoshinobu Tokumoto. Nexus. 2020.

Darwin’s Game Episode 5 Review

Darwin5 Episode

What’s The Game?

Darwin’s Game, after having a week off, has returned and in honesty this episode is actually relatively solid. At least by the standard so far set by this anime series. For once the pacing feels like it fits the episode, Kaname only makes one blindingly stupid decision, and most of the interactions between characters feel at least like someone has had a conversation with another human before writing them. Throw in the built in tension of them being half-way through a match where they might die and things just kind of come together in episode 5 of Darwin’s Game.


We learn that the field of 300 players is almost halved and those still in the hotel are preparing for another clan to attack. A short cut over to the clan in question and we learn that they are calling in outside assistance so prepare to attack at night. This gives us a bit of time for some other drama to unfold before we get back to the basic tower fight.


There is a weird bit at the beginning of the episode where we see Kaname’s two friends who have both died playing the game in a dream sequence. if they wanted this to have some kind of impact they might have given us a few more scenes of them together as a close group of friends prior to knocking them off in episode 1, but then they couldn’t have opened with a panda killing a school boy and Kaname getting drawn into the game.

However, a bit of the episode is also given to Shuka who is still on route to the hotel and ends up in trouble. I’ll put this down as my least favourite part of the episode. Not so much because it was bad but more because of my usual issues with characters being drowned and basically this sequence had me on edge. It doesn’t dominate enough of the episode that I felt the need to skip forward but I did have a few fairly uncomfortable moments.


However, by far the best part comes from Rein. As the boys are scrambling about and making questionable decisions, she’s calmly analysing the rules for this match and realises something hasn’t added up. Through further investigation she discovers a code on the rings they’ve been collecting. While we don’t get an answer this episode, it does make me wonder what game the characters are supposed to be playing if the ring collection is really just a means to an end.


With Darwin’s Game pulling itself together and finally settling some of its pacing and character issues, what we’re left with is something that is bordering on intriguing. It still hasn’t quite crossed into being good, but it certainly remains watchable and may end up feeling quite worthwhile depending on where they go next with some of the questions the audience has been left with.

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Karandi James

Darwin’s Game is making all the wrong moves, but if you want the episode reviews here they are.

Images from: Darwin’s Game. Dir. Yoshinobu Tokumoto. Nexus. 2020.

Darwin’s Game Episode 4 Review

Darwin4 Episode

If At First You Don’t Succeed…

Darwin’s Game doesn’t appear to be getting any worse, though it also isn’t appreciably improving. Episode 4 spends the entire duration inside the hotel, largely following the confrontation between Kaname, the Analyst and the Florist. As a positive, as the Analyst and Kaname work to pull off a plan with an 80% chance of death attached to it (after factoring in multiple stages of the plan and each component’s odds of success) the episode builds some genuine tension even if the outcome does seem pretty clear cut.


I think what makes this episode work is that there’s no attempt to throw new gimmicks at the audience. Using the established situation with the established Sigils, these three characters go through the cat and mouse process before we get a final confrontation that feels fairly meaningful. While it doesn’t bring us any closer to understanding why this game exists at all, for once it didn’t feel like things were just being made up or added as needed but rather that we were consolidating known information and seeing how the characters could use these things in action.


There is a moment toward the end of the fight where we seem to be inside Kaname’s head and there’s some interesting implications from that sequence. Previously, another blogger speculated that the entire thing was actually a virtual world (which would make a lot of things make more sense), but the characters aren’t aware of it. Honestly, that sequence this episode certainly lends weight to the idea of a virtual reality or alternate dimension theory.

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Also what helps sell episode 4 is the Analyst. She’s actually a much more reasonable character than Shuka and Kaname and the Analyst working together actually kind of grounds the story. Kaname is the every-man character and having someone reasonable by his side to converse with and plan with actually helped to ground the whole death match into a more real feeling atmosphere rather than feeling like a teenage fan-fiction.


It will be interesting to see what happens next now that the immediate crisis is solved but the event is still ongoing and there are some very strong players outside of the hotel. I’m also wondering if Shuka’s going to appear in the next episode because she didn’t get any screen time this week.

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Karandi James

Darwin’s Game is making all the wrong moves, but if you want the episode reviews here they are.

Images from: Darwin’s Game. Dir. Yoshinobu Tokumoto. Nexus. 2020.

Darwin’s Game Episode 3 Review

Darwin3 Episode

No Need To Kill

Darwin’s Game is clearly working on the theory that a lot of people make the decision whether to drop or stay with an anime based on episode 3. As such, not only is the battle event starting bringing a range of pointless deaths and new abilities they also give a few glimpses as to how this game actually operates in the world without people wondering what is going on. Admittedly, there are no answers given, but just enough to intrigue the viewer and to lead them to believe that at some point answers will be forthcoming. While it doesn’t make Darwin’s Game appreciably better to watch, it at least indicates that the people behind it are putting some thought into their efforts.


At the beginning of the episode we see a crowd of people, some of which just witnessed the girl fall off the roof from last week. Cue a static effect and suddenly they simply disperse, seemingly forgetting about the entire situation. It’s been done before but it does at least take away the immersion breaking situation we had before where apparently murdering someone in the street wasn’t causing a fuss. Later we see a room of people apparently watching the match and betting on the outcome of the battle. Again, people betting on death games for amusement isn’t new in this genre but at least we’re starting to put some context around the situation.


The rest of the episode seems split between Shuka and Kaname who have started in different locations. Shuka’s got more than enough rings (for herself and Kaname it should be pointed out, assuming she ever finds him). Kaname on the other hand had one ring and gave it to another player in a desire to actually survive. Of course that seems counter productive given there aren’t enough rings in the game for all the players and not having them will lead to a ‘game over’.

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That said, outside of getting at least three rings, there’s little incentive to kill other players in the set up for this match and yet what we’ve seen in the opening is a blood bath. Players killing seemingly without caring whether they are gaining a ring or not from doing so. When Kaname finally meets a character who doesn’t seemingly want to kill him on sight just for existing he actually laughs because it is just so different from what has been established as the norm in D-Game.


Which leaves me wondering how so many kill-happy people all ended up playing the game. Were they targeted when the app was distributed? Did all the non-kill-happy players already get taken out? It just seems weird how few of the players feel like real people who could exist in the world outside of the game. I had a similar problem with Mirai Nikki. Actually, I really liked Future Diary but none of the diary holders could be considered a well-balanced individual. Anyway, episode 3 isn’t a disaster by any means and it kind of indicates more thought to the story than the first two episodes demonstrated. Hopefully that means that at least the anime won’t get any worse and if they actually played their cards right we might even get to decent.

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Karandi James

Darwin’s Game is making all the wrong moves, but if you want the episode reviews here they are.

Images from: Darwin’s Game. Dir. Yoshinobu Tokumoto. Nexus. 2020.

Darwin’s Game Episode 2 Review

Darwin2 Episode

The First Rule of D-Game…

Well, after the first double length episode Darwin’s Game was kind of confirmed to be trash horror at best and certainly not a mystery as the tag would indicate (unless the mystery is how this got green lit) and episode 2 doubles-down on that and presents terribly misleading dialogue, characters who are inconsistent, and makes no effort to even suggest that anything will ever be explained. I’m actually good with horror not giving us a reason until the end but I do need to believe that there is some explanation forthcoming. So far there’s been little to reassure that there’s anything more to this than ‘just-because-we-can’ logic.


From the episode opening that picks up with the naked Shuka still lying on Kaname and him freaking out over her ‘start a family’ comment from last episode, the anime exposes itself as being incredibly cheap as Shuka clarifies that she meant start a clan together in the game. So why say ‘family’ in the first place? Not to mention her explanation as to why she was naked was just outright lazily done and completely unconvincing.

But why worry about the little things. It’s time for a shopping trip and a pseudo date between the two. Naturally this is because there’s an ‘event’ that’s about to happen but largely we get more dialogue between Kaname and Shuka that explains practically nothing and we watch Kaname wait for Shuka to try on clothes. Can I just point out that Shuka explains that mentioning the game in public is against the rules, as in there are written rules, and for some reason Kaname still hasn’t opened them and read the stupid things. How dumb is this guy? Yet we’re supposed to believe he is somehow going to survive a game he hasn’t even read the rules of?


And oh yeah, we get a cut of this cage fight between these two that seems to be an excuse for yet more exposition that says nothing. I really like conversations between characters that are deliberately ambiguous and tell us only what we already know (sarcasm). This is not how you build mystery. Actually, let’s watch Darwin’s Game as a lesson in how not to write a narrative or characters and that will probably make this all feel worthwhile.

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Another cheap shot the story takes in an attempt to build something resembling tension, and because it apparently must throw a fight into every episode, is the appearance of a hooded character who has bought information about Kaname from the ‘Analyst’ – or the cute girl sitting in front of all the glowing monitors. You think he’s some big-bad heading in to town but mostly he just takes Kaname’s phone, lectures him for a bit, throws his phone back and then starts a fight with him. A fight he really hasn’t made any real preparations for and seems pretty haphazard really. A fight he ends up having to surrender when Shuka shows up so really what was his plan?


There’s so many things wrong with this sequence. Also, I’m still confused as to whether the public can see these fights or not. You would think if they can they’d intervene and the players would have all been arrested by now for street violence, and yet there’s no indication that people can’t see them. There’s a real break in logic that is killing my ability to suspend disbelief. Also, Kaname suddenly not only acts sensibly but actually plots out a decent move in his fight against the sudden opponent. Kaname acts so stupidly 90% of the time but then we’re supposed to buy into these flashes of brilliance when things get tough. It really is hard to swallow.


Then the ‘event’ starts and the episode ends but we have a pointless death of an unnamed character to finish the episode because apparently we can’t have an episode without a death in a death match. Makes as much sense as anything else in this episode did.

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Karandi James

Darwin’s Game is making all the wrong moves, but if you want the episode reviews here they are.

Images from: Darwin’s Game. Dir. Yoshinobu Tokumoto. Nexus. 2020.

Darwin’s Game Episode 1 Review

Darwin1 Episode

Another Death Game

Here’s another anime built around a death game that some unsuspecting protagonist has been caught up in and now cannot escape. This one comes as an invitation to an app on your phone and once the character starts it they are bitten by a giant snake and then suddenly a target within the game. The problem with this latest iteration of the death game genre offered up by Darwin’s Game is that like most of the others there will probably never be a satisfactory explanation as to why the game even exists or how other people aren’t aware that there’s a whole troop of people running around killing each other. I mean, a policeman got cut down inside the police box in this episode and nobody seemed to bat an eye or investigate the screaming, running teen who went in there right before it happened.


With a double length opening episode, Darwin’s Game had plenty of time to establish its concept and characters. The problem is, the concept is ‘death game’. There’s nothing more to it other than the cool visual effect when a player dies that is left for even non-players to see. Our protagonist did have a chance to get some information but instead of actually revealing anything useful we get another chase and fight sequence for the episode and we end still completely in the dark about anything conceptually.


Which would be okay if they’d done anything for their characters. Only so far we have Kaname, the poor soul who’s friend decided to invite him into the gate seconds before he was killed in the opening sequence (great decision making and really good friendship move there). Other than the usual flopping between being bewildered by the game and belligerent at the unfairness of being forced into it he’s exhibited pretty much zero distinctive personality traits and having an unusual ‘sigil’ within the game doesn’t make him anymore interesting. He also meets Shuka who is our pretty stock-standard crazy girl for the death game genre so far. Of course by the end of the episode I was getting a strong Yuno vibe from her (Future Diary crazy girl). I guess we’ll see if either of these two end up feeling like their own characters in a couple of episodes or so.

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Visually this one has also so far failed to impress. The censored violence is par for the course with black shadows concealing the edges of severed heads the like, as if that somehow makes it less horrific that a guy just had his head chopped off. We also have the really ridiculous blood spray effect with the first fatality in the opening sequence. It is laughably bad and given it occurs in the first few minutes doesn’t exactly set a tone for you to take the show seriously though given it’s tagged as a mystery/shounen and not a comedy I guess we’re supposed to be taking it somewhat seriously.


Darwin’s Game has a lot of problems and it is only one episode in. That said, I’ve watched worse and I made it all the way through King’s Game so I’ll probably watch this one through. Not sure yet whether I will cover the episodes though. If the only thing I have to say each week is that it remains pretty dreadful then I’ll probably just pass and wait until it is finished and write a whole series review. I’ll wait until next episode to decide.

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Karandi James

Darwin’s Game is making all the wrong moves, but if you want the episode reviews here they are.

Images from: Darwin’s Game. Dir. Yoshinobu Tokumoto. Nexus. 2020.

Granbelm Episode 13 – The Last True Mage

Granbelm ep13 1 1

I had two alternative titles for this post. One was Well, That’s Over the other was An Impractical Swimsuit. I feel like these competently summarize my thoughts on this finale. It’s unfair that final episodes tend to have a disproportionate impact on our overall impressions of a series but for better or for worse, the last episode just counts more. Let me tell you what I thought of Granbelm’s

Or you can skip all the silly words nonsense and just go look at the pretty pictures! I’ve arranged them in a gallery right over HERE.

Granbelm ep13-3 (5)
I hate it when this happens

What I Thought Would Happen

Shingetsu would make the decision to become a mage girl, wishing to prevent all future mages from coming into existence. In doing this, Shingetsu would return to a world where Nene and Shisui (Kuon’s sister) are still alive while only Shingetsu remembers Mangetsu existed.

Shingetsu and potential future allies would continue to fight against powers other than magic that humanity creates in the future, but thanks to Mangetsu’s sacrifice, magical girls are purified and no longer forced to fight in the Granbelm.

What Did Happen

Well, kind of exactly that (if anyone picks up on the reference I’ll be impressed!) but with a lot more mechas. I figured we would have to wrap up the mecha battle but I honestly thought it would be a very quick scene. Instead it took up a good chunk of the episode and as usual I had a bit of trouble connecting to the scene.

This said, after finally defeating Suishou once and for all, Shingetsu finally get to talk to the Magicaunotus, in the form of Suishou again and make her wish. I think my attention may have drifted as at first I was under the impression that her wish would make her lose all her memories of the defeated mage candidates as well as Mangetsu but a few minutes later that didn’t seem to be the case anymore and I’m not entirely sure why.

The price for Shingetsu’s wish is that she would become inconsequential in the real world (invisible and unnoticed for all time) but the last scene leaves us with ambiguous hope as a new transfer student joins Shingetsu’s class and wishful thinking has us believe it just might be Mangetsu somehow.

Granbelm ep13-1 (4)
go home – you’re drunk

What About the Characters

I wouldn’t say this episode did much for the characters but it sort of simplified the them if you will. Mangetsu became an actual symbol of hope, her hazy see-through image popping in to offer words of encouragement before disappearing again.

On the other hand, Suishou was defined mostly by her plot role. In the end, we didn’t really learn what she was, the supposition that she is just a manifestation of magic itself as she seems to disappear without a trace. Why did she want to be mage? I don’t know. At some point she seemed to say the Magiconautus itself created her to be a referee in Granbelm and I’m guessing at some point she decided humans were unfit to have magic so she would take it instead but why and what she wanted to accomplish with it weren’t really discussed. This was pretty disappointing to me as I was attached to the character and was really hoping to learn more.

And the there was Shingetsu. We didn’t really see anyone other than those three. Shingetsu’s character hasn’t really changed much. When we met her she was always a fragile yet powerful young woman who had a bit of trouble connecting with others and wanted to rid the world of magic because of the harm she believe it caused. She was dedicated to this and willing to go to any length to attain her goal and well that’s pretty much the exact same Shingetsu we saw in episode 13.

She did seem a bit more at peace in the closing tag though and looked fantastic with a ponytail!

Granbelm ep13-5 (1)

What I Liked

I liked the closing tag. I’m a sucker for happy endings no matter how sugary they may be. This one had a bit of bitterness in it as Shingetsu seems more isolated than ever but she also seemed very content with it so maybe it’s all for the best. I do wonder why she kept going to school if no one knows she’s there. It’s not like she’ll be able to get a job in the future. Can she even take exams?

I loved seeing grown up Nene. It’s not like it was a big change but still it’s the sort of thing I enjoy.

What I Liked Less

As always the mecha battle was the low point for me and on top of it, it seems that there was a few shortcuts this time around as the animation wasn’t as smooth as usual and they even resorted to a few still shots.

This said, if you’re going to dedicate your climax and most of your finale to a mecha battle then you got to commit. There’s a point in the battler where Shingetsu is about to give up feeling completely overpowered, Magetsu appears next to her saying “You can do it”, then Shingetsu immediately  goes “Oh cool, I can do it” and completely destroys Suishou. There’s no time at all for the turnaround, no struggle. For me, it pretty much negated the dramatic impact of the scene. Although it was kind of funny.

This isn’t really a negative but tonally this episode was a lot cheesier than Granbelm has been up until now, with loud swelling music and grand declarations. It also really revved up the Magical Girl elements of the show. Like I said, not a bad thing but there wasn’t enough time in this last episode to properly establish them and to me they ended up feeling a bit out of step.

Personally, I would have enjoyed a bit more exposition. I sort of left the series thinking “was that it?”. I think there’s another episode worth of material just to establish certain elements.

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I’m gonna miss that little psycho


Closing Thoughts

To me Granbelm has been a study in balance. It did some things extremely well and others not to my taste at all. Now that it’s all said and done, those two seem to have evened out and left me fairly neutral on the series as a whole. It should be said, I personally didn’t enjoy this last episode (or the previous one for that matter) and that is definitely weighing heavily on my impression. Had the series stopped at the camping episode, I would have considered it much more favourably.

But that’s just me, I’m sure there are fans out there that thought this finally was just pitch perfect and that Granbelm is the show of the season. Every anime has its die hard supporters. In any case, if you have been watching Granbelm, I do hope you enjoyed it.

Granbelm ep13-4 (7)


Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!

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Images from: Granbelm. Dir. M Watanabe. Nexus. 2019.

Granbelm Episode 12 – Puppet Masters

Granbelm ep12 5 10

I honestly thought that this week was the last episode so when it ended on a black screen with “to be continued” I was ready to throw a shoe at my T.V. What can I say, I’m pure grace! Thankfully there is one more episode left.

I did end up taking quite a few screencaps of course. You can see them here if you would like!

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they’ve really lt the groundskeeping go

What I Thought Would Happen

I thought Shingetsu and Mangetsu would unite to defeat Suishou. I mean there weren’t really that many places left for the story to go. I knew they would have to face her in Granbelm although it would have been hilarious if they just like pushed her down a flight of stairs at school and that would be that.

I’m actually a little disappointed now that they didn’t end up creating a completely mundane and anticlimactic end for Suishou. It would have definitely subverted all my expectations.

What Did Happen

Shingetsu and Mangetsu united to defeat Suishou in Granbelm.The episode was pretty much exactly what anyone would expect (aside from the fact that it ended in the middle of the action because there’s another episode to come). All the action was entire in Granbelm which as you may know is not my favourite but it was one of the most intense fights we’ve seen.

And as expected Mangetsu did sacrifice herself for Shingetsu. I don’t know if the sacrifice will stick or if she’ll end up Disney ending alive for some reason next week. Either way, the grand gesture will have been made so it’s fine.

The one unexpected bit for me was the sudden development we got for Suishou. Apparently, she’s been alive for 1000 years and winning Granbelm after Granbelm without ever being awarded the prize. At face value, the narrative seems to be telling us that she was a mage candidate at some point but has lost her humanity over the centuries. I still think she might be a doll-like Mangetsu which is why she can’t become the mage. I guess we’ll find out next week!

Granbelm ep12-3 (4)
don’t worry about Suishou – Suishou always wins

What About the Characters

I kind of let the cat out of the bag in the previous section. Oh well. So Shingetsu is still herself. All fragile and conflicted but efficient and naturally gifted. Mangetsu is also still herself, cheerful and helpful. Selfless to a fault.

But who is Suishou. Aside from what she is, her characterization got a little shaken up as well. We do see that the years and countless battles have clearly taken a toll on her. She seems to be suffering from some type of PTSD. I’m also not entirely certain that she actually wants to win the Granbelm. It’s possible that after all this time, she’s simply exhausted but is going on out of habit and because by now it’s the only thing she knows.

There was definitely something deeply lonely and sad about the Suishou we met this week. That’s not like her at all. But I guess, we all have our crosses to bear.

Granbelm eo12-2 (2)
Shingetsu on the other hand…

What I Liked

I liked the opening flashback. Both visually and narratively, it was very touching. It also brought us closer to the main antagonist so that we can get some conflicting emotions at her inevitable defeat.

As I mentioned, this was one of the most exciting Granbelms I have seen and it was coloured coded in pink which is consistent with the idea that the Granbelm takes on the colours of the looser.

What I Liked Less

I still have little to no connection to the Armanox and unless I’m seeing the girls in the cockpit or inserted at the corner of the screen I have trouble remembering which robot belongs to which pilot and really caring about what happens to them.

Moreover, since the powers of the robots have never been properly established, I don’t actually know what they can do. They seem to be able to do new(different) things every episode. I have no clue what the limits of their powers are. I never know if a blow actually did damage or not until they show the robot explode or something. It’s another element that makes the fights more difficult to follow for me and just more difficult to get invested in.

Although I know I said I liked the flashback, I’m not entirely sure I needed Suishou to be sympathetic. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t actually dislike this turn it’s more like I’m not sure how I feel about it. Suishou is a truly wonderful troll in my opinion and I was A-o.k. with embracing her dark side. I don’t think it’s bad to have unambiguous villains. We’ll see how this softening of her character plays out in the end.

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this is probably what m brain looks like

Closing Thoughts

This episode was a part 1 so I don’t think it’s fair to judge it before I see next week’s. It’s a good set up though as it ended before I even noticed how much time had passed and I really want to see what happens next.

Mood: Slightly surprised

Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!

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Images from: Granbelm. Dir. M Watanabe. Nexus. 2019.

Granbelm Episode 11 – Laid Back Granbelm

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I was going to make another “The Disappearance…” title but I think I’ve personally overused that formulation. Instead, I’m focusing on the camping part.

As Granbelm is getting ready to wrap things up, it’s looking pretty gawsh darn good. It was always a surprisingly pretty show. Why surprising? I’m not sure. I just constantly find myself going, huh, this show is actually very pretty…I’ve been watching for 11 episodes, I should have picked up on that by now. And I’ve been doing galleries, the latest one is here!

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me writing Granbelm posts

What I Thought Would Happen

Mangetsu had started out her long dark journey of the soul in the closing tab of the last episode, it was only natural for her to continue it. To wander the city in search of meaning and look within herself to find if there’s anything there.

Her friends, those few who remember her would need to rally by her side. Of course, first, they would need to find her and who better to do that than Shingetsu. In a way, she’s Mangetsu’s mother and all.

And of course, we have the magically awake Kuon’s sister who probably wants revenge on Suishou for just about everything. That revenge may best take form in helping Shingetsu win the Granbelm. As you can see I had this episode pretty well figured out.

What Did Happen

The writers disagreed though. Yes, Mangetsu did a bit of soul searching but it was over pretty quickly. She came to her conclusion that helping Shingetsu was really her purpose and for the moment, that meant cheering Shingetsu up and bolstering her moral for the coming fight.

What better way to do that then getting all their friends together and going camping. For general information, please no one ever take me camping in order to cheer me up. I will escape the first chance I get!

And so, every magical girl and forgotten family member that’s still around came together to have a nice little evening under the stars. It was cute!

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and pretty

What About the Characters

I wrote in one of my galleries that I found Singetsu and Mangetsu similar to Homura and Madoka. In that post, I meant simply by design. One is taller with long straight black hair, sharper features and purple coded costume the other shorter with short pink hair, more rounded features and a pink costume.

However this week, the similarities seeped into the characters themselves I think. We found out that stoic and seemingly cool Shingetsu is actually insecure and has always felt lonely and apart. Despite seeming aloof she’s actually profoundly attached to Mangetsu and quite emotional. This may even lead her to make a grave mistake.

On the other hand, Mangetsu is almost suspiciously pleasant and seemingly harmless while possessing a great power that’s not really her own. She wants to do good but it’s hard to tell what if anything is really her own will and what she has been manipulated into. Ironically her best friend who loves her dearly is the cause of her very difficult situation. She’s shy and a little overwhelmed but when she makes up her mind she can be a tower of positivist. She seems to have resigned to disappearing for the greater good.

I’m not saying it’s the same show but the parallels between the characters really jumped out at me. I liked recognizing them and enjoy seeing these similar characters in such a different situation.

Also, Kyubei is Suishou even though they are incredibly different and somehow both the best.

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maybe she could try a white onsie on

What I Liked

As always I liked Nene and her family! In fact, it was just kind of fun seeing everyone together like that. A nice little break in the tension. Sure you could call it filler but it was useful filler. This was a good spot to slow down and break everything up a bit before barrelling to the finish line.

The images were very pretty this week. Of course, I’m partial to non Granbelm episodes (as in episodes that take place in our world).

There was the glorious return of Mangetsu’s very average cooking running gag. Always cause for celebration in this house!

Although it was sad, I found it quite powerful that Kuon’s sister had forgotten her. It’s perfectly consistent with the story, yet somehow the possibility hadn’t crossed my mind and when that happened, I was rather shocked. Similarly, I knew Shingetsu liked Anna but I hadn’t realized how much. The episode drove home just how guilty Shingetsu is feeling right now.

What I Liked Less

There were a few moments of melodrama that I could have done without but it was fine.

Kuon’s sister was fantastic in the opening scene but to me, she seemed so out of place in the rest of the episode. Why would you invite this stranger and why would she go. It was off to me.

I’m never going to be someone who finds camping fun. It’s fine. I guess I would have enjoyed seeing them all go on a shopping spree and try on clothes. Heck bikinis even. Or go to an onsen. We haven’t had our fanservice episode yet

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Closing Thoughts

No matter how I look at it, to me this episode was filler. Filler that I was happy for but not something I have a lot to say about. It was a great calm before the storm.

Mood: relaxed

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.

Granbelm Episode 10 – Loved By Magic

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My alternate title for this post was “The Forgotten Girls”. It sounds a bit like a YA murder mystery. Having multiple titles for a post is usually a good sign. I don’t tend to have that much inspiration if the episode was boring!

And I have to say, this was one of the most visually interesting episodes Granbelm has aired. You can see exactly what I mean by visiting my gallery over HERE.

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pretty girl to start off the post!

What I Thought Would Happen

I figured Mangetsu would find out what she really is and freak out about it. (Low hanging fruit I know). Meanwhile, Kuon would have a setback, failing to defeat Suishou and save her sister so she would have to go to Shingetsu and Mangetsu for help.

Seeing Mangetsu distraught, Kuon and Shingestu would rally to her side and the power of love would prevail! Allowing the three of them to start coming up with a plan to defeat Suishou together in the next episode.

What Did Happen

Mangetsu found out what she really was and freaked out. And that’s about it for what I got right. Kuon had way more than a setback and she ain’t rallying to anyone’s side. In fact, Shingetsu has her own issues to deal with as Suishou has now turned her sights on her and she is doing a spectacular job at tearing poor Singetsu’s little mind apart. Suishou also hinted a few times that she may not be human, or entirely human, but we do not know what she is. Another doll perhaps?

With all of this happening, Mangetsu ended up going to Nene for comfort after finding out her own family didn’t know her and that she no longer had a reflection. Mangetsu»’s had a weird day… We find out Nene’s forgotten Kuon and that there are probably countless girls that have died n Granbelm and have been erased from history by the Magiconautus (?) which begs the question: why?

The girls are starting to suspect that there may be more to Granbelm than they had been led to believe. Kuon’s sister or her ghost or something is having a grand time while all this is going on.

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there are still so many questions

What About the Characters

I love the Mangetsu twist. It works so well with the character and really fixes all my issues with her. Clearly, this was planned out from the start because it fits with everything we’ve seen. Yes, she had no reason to attach herself to Shingetsu, to want to participate in Granbelm or give her wish away. It didn’t make sense because it wasn’t supposed to. Mangetsu was never operating on normal human logic. She already had a pre-established purpose. Honestly, I’m impressed by this bit of development. I don’t see how they could have done any better.

Nene continues to be charming. This week more than ever her presence is a source of comfort and a port in the storm. It’s a good way to keep her character relevant and a nice contrast with what has happened to all the other Granbelm losers.

Meanwhile, Shingetsu is completely unravelling. Of course, we were starting to realize that she had been getting undone for a very long time now but this episode sped things up considerably. I like stoic and efficient characters so I’m not sure I’m enjoying vulnerable broken Shingetsu as much. It is, however, the logical direction for her character.

Last be never least, Suishou is the best thing that happened to this show. Of course »I love a troll so I might be biased, but a focused and clearly irredeemable antagonist has been a great way to keep this story on track. And ramping up her character from bad girl to potential demon lord has only made her more fascinating. What if she actually wins? It won’t happen but….

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Suishou is just so …Suishou

What I Liked

Suishou. I did just put this point in as a reusable block. 🙂

Actually, this was one of my favourite episodes, and I’ve liked a few. The suspense was good, the balance was decent and keeping some of the budget for the finale was a smart production move.

The time spend with Nene was also used as a small info dump to get the audience up to speed before the final battle (I assume), and it was most welcomed. I am now perfectly clear on everyone’s motivation and everyone’s suspicions which is what is really driving the story at the moment.

The strong mystery element remains and my interest along with it.

What I Liked Less

I find it difficult to tell the robots apart or remember who is piloting which mecha. This is one of the main reasons I don’t enjoy the Grandbelm battles much. I have no idea who’s who and therefore don’t know what’s really happening.

The dramas were justified but a bit much for my taste. There were a lot of young girls crying in this episode.

As I mentioned last week, Luon’s cursed sister is, in my opinion, a weaker thread and the last scene makes me think we’re going to be seeing a lot more of her.

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we won’t forget you Kuon

Closing Thoughts

A strong episode leading up to the prefinale. If this keeps up, and it is promising, Granbelm will have turned out to be one of my most unexpected personal hits. It was a rollercoaster of a show mid you but let’s enjoy the upswing!

Mood: Tired but happy

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.