Granblue Fantasy the Animation
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 11 of
Granblue Fantasy the Animation ?
Last week's episode raised the question of if Sleeping Beauty had cursed herself to sleep. This week confirms that theory, but it also adds another twist on the old tale – Prince Charming may be able to wake her up, but only if she consents to it. From a folklore variation perspective, this is a particularly interesting direction to take the Sleeping Beauty theme, because it insists that the savior figure prove that the world he's offering is worth waking up for rather than assuming that true love's kiss is enough to make anyone want to return. Ultimately, it's Lyria who has to decide that she wants to come back to her friends. Gran can only try to convince her.
Fortunately for this prince, this Sleeping Beauty wants to wake up. It's more that she's afraid to than anything – Pommern's words about her being a weapon rather than a person have really taken a toll on her psyche (which is perhaps further proof that she's more human than not), and Lyria's subconscious has conjured up a series of truly horrible nightmares about her destroying her friends, most specifically Gran. She's grown to be afraid of herself, convinced that she's the one who will finish the job of killing Gran and that her selfish wishes have caused Katalina to lose the place where she belonged. This last conviction is perhaps the biggest indicator that she's not thinking clearly – if she and Katalina were on the run from the place Katalina “belonged” just because she worked there, then her friend is probably better off without them. It also wasn't Lyria herself who initially killed Gran, it was Pommern – Lyria was merely the excuse. Turning all of Pommern's actions around and laying them at her own feet is one of the clearest signs of her own adolescent humanity – it's easy to believe the horrible things someone says about you if they say it enough times or with sufficient conviction. That's how bullies do a lot of their emotional damage, especially in middle or high school. What Gran really needs to do is to get through her self-recrimination and remind her that just because Pommern said it, that doesn't mean that it's true.
Time-wise, this actually doesn't take all that long. It's prefaced by Lyria in her mind-library and Rosetta taking the rest of the party to meet Yggdrasil (who has another fabulous character design), followed up by Pommern's attack on the island where Lyria and Gran handily beat him. But it doesn't need to take up most of the episode to make its point, and Lyria and Gran's interaction in her mind is the true centerpiece in terms of emotional impact. (The music works especially well in that scene too.) The fight against Pommern is probably the weakest element, as it feels less triumphant than it might have due to the rush to get it in before the episode ended; it almost would have worked better to spend a little more time with Yggdrasil or Rosetta and save the fight to open next week's episode.
Rosetta still remains an enigma, but we do at least know why she's so interested in Gran – she knew his father. Whether this means that Gran's dad is no longer living or just piqued Rosetta's interest in his son is unclear, but she clearly feels the need to keep an eye on Gran's adventures, whether she helps or not. Her ability to communicate with the nonverbal Yggdrasil seems to indicate powers similar to Lyria's, so there may be a question of whether or not she's fully human as well. She feels a bit like their backup plan – if the danger can't be overcome with just the party, Rosetta will swoop in and help out.
Whether or not Rosetta is strictly human or Lyria is a weapon constructed by the Astrals, what's really important at the end of this episode is that everyone has chosen to be where they are. That renewed commitment is taking them back to the sea, where Leviathan struggles, crippled by pollution, and a battle on the high seas looms. Hoist your colors high, everyone. Let's see how these ships handle on the water.
Granblue Fantasy the Animation is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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