Granblue Fantasy the Animation
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Granblue Fantasy the Animation ?
After only six episodes of this show, I already have a list of characters I would be happy never to see again: Sturm, Drang, and Siero. All three of them remind us that Granblue Fantasy is based on an RPG by managing to feel like NPCs who pop up to either give you quests or prove that you're on the right track with the main quest, and right now I'm having a hard time imagining them serving any other purpose. Especially Siero – when Lyria and Katalina comment that they left the diminutive being behind on the previous island, Siero's reply is along the lines of "I'm everywhere and nowhere." Yes, I thought, that's because you're an NPC. This is further driven home when Siero has shown up to give Gran and the gang another quest: the beloved Archduke of the island they're currently on has mysteriously vanished, and people are afraid he may have teamed up with the Empire. Would Gran and his friends, as the saviors of the previous island, be willing to work their magic here as well?
Honestly, this episode is the one that has felt the most like a game adaptation, and it isn't doing the series any favors. Almost everything about it feels very rote, from getting the mission to walking around town questioning locals to finding out that there's a specific location that can only be reached by airship. And surprise surprise, they learn this from one of the Archduke's retainers who just so happens to know that he's not in any of the other possible locations! It's all gearing up for a boss fight next week, which isn't necessarily a bad thing – just a predictable one.
Of course, being a game-based show isn't always a death knell, and Granblue Fantasy is still a decently fun show. New character Io, the girl with the pigtails from the opening theme, is the sort of brassy female character we've been lacking thus far, and she'll likely made a good counterpoint to the basic sweetness of most of the other main players, particularly Gran and Lyria, who are just nice and earnest people. I'd say that she may also prove a romantic rival for Gran's affections, except that Gran and Lyria seem just a bit too oblivious for that to be a viable plot point. Io's presence also adds a mage to the party, which they've technically been missing, since Lyria's powers are much more specific than general magic, and she's already proving her worth when she spots a hidden staircase in the oddly deserted quarry. Then she charges down it yelling, which is not her brightest move, but hey, she's clearly young.
As with previous episodes, this one takes a straight path through all the basic checkpoints without stopping for anything like character development or side conversations. Fortunately, the animation fills in some of what the storyline leaves out – Rackam and Katalina are seen frequently exchanging glances over the heads of the younger party members, giving the impression that Rackam was just humoring Gran when he made him captain, and when Gran has to sign his name on a docking form, it looks like that's a difficult task for him, which may speak to his education. (Reading skills do not automatically translate into writing skills.) Later, Lyria is visibly shaken when the multi-titled knight working for the Empire reveals that they have a little Lyria clone of their own, referring to her as a “doll.” Unlike Lyria, this other girl is expressionless and doesn't seem to have much free will. Is this why Lyria herself is so valuable to the Empire? Or has this other girl simply been browbeaten into submission? That's the most interesting point raised this week, and hopefully once they finish fighting the so-called Iron Giant next week (no, not that Iron Giant), they'll start to explore the question of the other girl.
Hopefully, they can do it without Siero popping up with a quest.
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