Granblue Fantasy the Animation
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 10 of
Granblue Fantasy the Animation ?
What if Sleeping Beauty cast the curse on herself? Anime has played with that particular tale before, exploring the idea of Sleeping Beauty not wanting to be awoken, and now Granblue Fantasy takes its turn at the tale with Lyria's voluntary coma. Technically speaking, there is a catalyst for Lyria's collapse – last week she was kidnapped by the Empire, and now Pommern, the mustache-twirling villain who orchestrated Gran's death at the beginning of the series, has her in his clutches. He tells Lyria that no matter what she thinks, she's really not a person at all, just a tool for the Empire's use, reminding her of the time she killed an impressive amount of monsters without doing a thing. This, he tells her, is the proof that she's too dangerous to keep traveling with her friends, because obviously she has no control and could go off at any time.
There are definitely flaws with Pommern's words – especially his gun metaphor, which implies that someone would have to pull the trigger for Lyria to become dangerous, which none of her companions would, but Lyria is both young and naïve enough for his statements to find their mark. What he didn't count on was Lyria willing herself into a catatonic state before slipping into a coma. I'm also not entirely certain that he realized she'd reach out to the dragon who protects the city, causing it to blow the Empire's vessels out of the sky before unleashing a massive wave to drown the remaining soldiers; if he didn't, there's a definite irony to the effect his speech had on her. More importantly, from a plot perspective, Lyria's unconscious actions force another player to reveal herself – Rosetta, the lady who controls vines, steps in to save Lyria, Gran, and the rest of the bunch from drowning.
Just who is Rosetta, though? She's clearly been following the group for quite some time, and she's obviously a more powerful mage than Io. I'm inclined to agree with Rackam that they probably shouldn't trust her, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and Rosetta's the only one offering any answers about Lyria. You can't blame Gran for seizing on the one hope he's got – since Gran and Lyria are tied by their shared lives, he would be the logical choice to awaken her. There's also the whole Sleeping Beauty metaphor that the episode's got going – the scene of sleeping Lyria on the tangle of thorny vines and roses after Rosetta's pulled her from the water is both beautiful and unsubtle in terms of where things are headed. She may prove more bad fey than good, but right now, she's all they've got.
Folklore aspects aside, this episode is simply steeped in character guilt. Of course, Lyria's own feelings of responsibility have put her in her present state, but Gran and Katalina are also suffering from a surfeit of emotion. Gran's guilt comes from the fact that he was seconds too late to save Lyria from her self-imposed exile – if he hadn't left her alone, if he had been faster, if he had been a better friend – you can see the self-recriminations running through his head. Katalina, on the other hand, feels similar culpability as the person who rescued and rehabilitated Lyria in the first place. When the Empire had Lyria in its clutches, she was a shell of a person, her self-protective lack of emotion leading her captors to see her as something less than human. Katalina broke through that shell, forcing Lyria to feel and interact with the world, giving her the freedom to have dreams and ambitions. Pommern suggests that those feelings are what makes her unstable, perhaps a perversion of her Empire-designated state of “weapon,” and Katalina's former work for the Empire may be making her second-guess her own actions. This conflicts with her love for Lyria though, and she can't quite come to terms with how her actions brought the girl to this state. It's a shame that she can't have a talk with Vyrn about it, because somewhat to my surprise (and my unreasonable bias against mascot characters), Vyrn proved himself this week when he provided both an ear and good advice to a conflicted Gran.
Next week, the gang is headed into the jungle to meet a specific beast who can help Gran wake Lyria, really putting Rosetta's trustworthiness to the test. It still fits with the Sleeping Beauty theme, so I'm curious to see what kind of primal beast this will be, while my inner romantic is definitely building some castles without foundations for how Gran will bring Lyria back.
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