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This Week in Anime - What the Hell is Happening in Granbelm?




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Kougeru



Joined: 13 May 2008
Posts: 4422
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:17 pm Reply with quote
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and I'm sure the final one will be a stunner. Just don't make it too painful, please?

I said this on the review thread, but it looks like my post was never approved so I'll try again, episode 12 is NOT the final episode. The producer confirmed 13 episodes: https://manga.tokyo/interview/interview-with-granbelm-producer-takayuki-nagatani/
Quote:
I really hope that viewers will watch all 13 episodes before judging this anime.


All that aside, I really think this is the most underrated anime of the season, possibly the year. I really wish more people give it a chance. It's not even at 7/10 on MAL because people watched half of episode 1 and rated it low because it was confusing or something. I don't know their reasons, but it didn't seem logical to me. This show took a bit to build but while it did, it gave us a feast for the eyes thanks to it's amazing production schedule and an obviously large amount of love for the genre. Then the story itself has been great. Everything about this anime just has so much heart in it.
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TanyaTheEvil



Joined: 11 May 2018
Posts: 141
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:32 pm Reply with quote
I absolutely loved this review. Also this is one of my favorite anime of the year. That last sentence in the review I so agree, Please don't make it too painful in the end
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VerQuality
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Joined: 01 Oct 2016
Posts: 67
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:11 pm Reply with quote
I never thought I'd be saying this in a Symphogear season, but Granbelm has become the anime I most look forward to each week, and it may even end up being my favourite anime this year. This column really nailed a lot of the reasons this series is so great, but I'd add that the ost, animation, and overall artistry of this series has been absolutely top-notch pretty much straight to (and getting Kamille from Zeta Gundam to do the next episode previews is a thing of beauty as well). Granbelm is the full package, and assuming it doesn't royally screw up the ending (and I don't recall seeing a final episode undermine a rock-solid season since Mai Hime).
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kotomikun



Joined: 06 May 2013
Posts: 722
PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2019 10:57 pm Reply with quote
Nick wrote:
gender-swapped Bakugo

...you're lucky I wasn't drinking anything when I read that.

Seriously, though, great review (if that's the word we should use for this column), covers pretty much all the complex craziness of this show... so far. Not many shows are able to combine smart philosophical depth and ridiculous anime shenanigans (both in narrative twists and in combat) without it seeming tacky. This one has to do that while also differentiating itself from its obvious source of inspiration, and its many other imitators, most of which fell far short. But sometimes things surprise you.

Besides just being well-written in general, I think it works because instead of just trying to be like Madoka, it's taking some of its basic concepts and reframing them, then going off in its own direction. "Homura" is stoic and powerful not because she's worked hard to save someone she cares about, but because God gave her power arbitrarily and the one time she tried to help someone with it--by making Anna think she was the magically gifted one--it backfired spectacularly, so she tries to distance herself from people. "Madoka" is outgoing and caring and has enormous power for unknown reasons, but... well. spoiler[Recent revelations make Mangetsu closer to the Madoka from the end of the series: no longer a real person, forgotten by almost everyone. Homura becomes unsure if Madoka was all in her head, but Shingetsu literally dreamed up Mangetsu and accidentally made her a real girl... for the time being, at least.]

Really is hard to guess how this will all wrap up, but since Mangetsu seems convinced that spoiler[she will end up sacrificing herself to fulfill Shingetsu's vision], it's probably a safe bet that that won't happen, because it's too obvious. Same goes for Shingetsu winning the battle but deciding not to eliminate magic after all. Some sort of third option will probably appear. Maybe Suisho wins but it turns out she's the manifestation of Shingetsu's self-hatred. Hard to rule out anything at this point.

Also, am I nuts, or does Mangetsu's hairpin look suspiciously like the Crunchyroll logo?
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MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
Posts: 3566
PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2019 5:25 am Reply with quote
Kougeru wrote:
All that aside, I really think this is the most underrated anime of the season, possibly the year. I really wish more people give it a chance. It's not even at 7/10 on MAL because people watched half of episode 1 and rated it low because it was confusing or something. I don't know their reasons, but it didn't seem logical to me. This show took a bit to build but while it did, it gave us a feast for the eyes thanks to it's amazing production schedule and an obviously large amount of love for the genre. Then the story itself has been great. Everything about this anime just has so much heart in it.
Is MAL not the wasteland of the Anime world? This is the site after all where shows get rated before they have had their first episode broadcasted and get reviews after only 1 episode. From an interview I read, actually I think it was the same one you posted, the team felt very passionately about this project, Very few Mecha shows ever seem to show that kind of commitment.
kotomikun wrote:
Also, am I nuts, or does Mangetsu's hairpin look suspiciously like the Crunchyroll logo?
Yes I think it does.
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zrnzle500
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Joined: 04 Oct 2014
Posts: 3577
PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:21 am Reply with quote
kotomikun wrote:
Seriously, though, great review (if that's the word we should use for this column), covers pretty much all the complex craziness of this show... so far. Not many shows are able to combine smart philosophical depth and ridiculous anime shenanigans (both in narrative twists and in combat) without it seeming tacky. This one has to do that while also differentiating itself from its obvious source of inspiration, and its many other imitators, most of which fell far short. But sometimes things surprise you.

Besides just being well-written in general, I think it works because instead of just trying to be like Madoka, it's taking some of its basic concepts and reframing them, then going off in its own direction. "Homura" is stoic and powerful not because she's worked hard to save someone she cares about, but because God gave her power arbitrarily and the one time she tried to help someone with it--by making Anna think she was the magically gifted one--it backfired spectacularly, so she tries to distance herself from people. "Madoka" is outgoing and caring and has enormous power for unknown reasons, but... well. spoiler[Recent revelations make Mangetsu closer to the Madoka from the end of the series: no longer a real person, forgotten by almost everyone. Homura becomes unsure if Madoka was all in her head, but Shingetsu literally dreamed up Mangetsu and accidentally made her a real girl... for the time being, at least.]

Really is hard to guess how this will all wrap up, but since Mangetsu seems convinced that spoiler[she will end up sacrificing herself to fulfill Shingetsu's vision], it's probably a safe bet that that won't happen, because it's too obvious. Same goes for Shingetsu winning the battle but deciding not to eliminate magic after all. Some sort of third option will probably appear. Maybe Suisho wins but it turns out she's the manifestation of Shingetsu's self-hatred. Hard to rule out anything at this point.


I also think that Granbelm differentiates itself from both Madoka and other dark magical girl shows, even aside from the mecha elements, but I'd argue that the other dark magical girl shows aren't trying to be Madoka either. Many, including reviewers, often conflate being a dark magical girl show with imitating Madoka, even when being a magical girl show that is dark are the only substantive similarities between a show and Madoka. Aside from a couple early entries, the subgenre has generally eschewed the traditional monster of the week format that Madoka had adhered to some degree (with its own twist), and usually go for a battle royale format or something else entirely, like Spec Ops Asuka. None really try to imitate Madoka's aesthetic or its characters, and I think few would argue that most dark magical girls are thematically similar to Madoka. Beyond the trappings of the subgenre, how exactly are other dark magical girl series imitating Madoka? I'd argue Symphogear bears more similarities to Nanoha than almost any dark magical girl show does to Madoka, and I wouldn't say Symphogear is merely imitating Nanoha.

I think rather than trying to be like Madoka, they are just inhabiting the genre space and (part of) the demographic space that Madoka opened up. I think they also have more influences than just Madoka, such as the batte royale format and the themes that generally come with it, and, for many, an irreverence towards its parent genre like magical girl parodies (not that dark magical girl series are intended as parody or satire). I think it does us best to evaluate the common flaws of the subgenre on their own merits, and not just wonder "Gosh golly, they just don't seem to get Madoka" over and over again. I think the comparisons to Madoka imply a false solution to those problems - to just be like Madoka better - when the real answer is to tell their own story, like Granbelm. The real potential of the subgenre is in telling stories that could not be told within the confines of the traditional magical girl series, to audiences outside the genre's traditional target demographic, not just copying Madoka well enough.
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Probablytomorrow



Joined: 04 Aug 2019
Posts: 19
PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2019 11:17 am Reply with quote
Mangetsu's existential crisis hits a lot harder when you realize she's barely been the main character of her own show.
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Yuvelir



Joined: 06 Jan 2015
Posts: 412
PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2019 7:58 pm Reply with quote
Madoka tried to seem like a bright mahou shoujo show for a bait&switch before it went dark.
Granbelm kept the con for almost half of its run.

Quote:
gender-swapped Bakugo

Bakugo wishes he had half of Anna's face game.

zrnzle500 wrote:
I also think that Granbelm differentiates itself from both Madoka and other dark magical girl shows, even aside from the mecha elements, but I'd argue that the other dark magical girl shows aren't trying to be Madoka either. [...]

I think rather than trying to be like Madoka, they are just inhabiting the genre space and (part of) the demographic space that Madoka opened up. [...]

While you're right about everything you said, I also get where people are coming from.
Many of the dark MS shows abuse the shock value and character misery that Madoka had to their own demerit, and I think that' a big part of it.

The other is that spearheading a genre means that subsequent works will be directly compared - FPS games were called "Doom clones" for a long time.
In the case of dark mahou shoujo it's a bit worse because this is a spin-off genre, it's born from subverting the cheery, wholesome and optimistic of traditional mahou shoujo shows. Specially in the space of anime for adults where honest/pure/basic mahou shoujo shows like Soushin Shoujo Matoi or Houkago no Pleiades are rares than the dark brand. The spin-offs outnumber the mainlines and it's hard not to brand them as trying to imitate the one that started the trend. Afterall Madoka was ridiculously popular and lucrative, so it's easy to think that anyone trying to follow its steps is doing so with an impure mindset (even if it's a false assumption for several reasons).
So while Symphogear is closer to Nanoha than Mahou Shoujo Site is to Madoka, the circumstances make it easier to scoff at the latter as a clone.

(on an aside, I kinda want to congratulate Prisma Illya, that ridiculous and fanservicey spin-off, for being closer to the tone and themes of 'true mahou shoujo' than that of the dark or parodic variants. At least for a couple of seasons)

Probablytomorrow wrote:
Mangetsu's existential crisis hits a lot harder when you realize she's barely been the main character of her own show.

I almost forgot she was pretty much framed as THE CHOSEN ONE in the first episode, with an echo of it on the sixth.
Little did we know...
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