Granblue Fantasy the Animation
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 7 of
Granblue Fantasy the Animation ?
I probably should have expected it, but the fight against the eponymous Iron Giant, a creation of the formerly missing Archduke, only takes about half of this week's episode to finish. That doesn't mean that it isn't important or impressive, albeit not as much as it could have been with more build-up. Probably the most interesting development during the fight is that Lyria can act as a sort of booster pack to each of her party members, calling upon the energy of primal beasts that the team has defeated before. It's a very useful power, and it certainly makes a case for why the Empire wants her back; she'd be a perfect complement to Doll's powers, which we see powering up the Colossus prior to its attack. While Lyria's powers appear to work best with Gran and Io, they could never have won the fight without her, brief though it may be. Even Gran's breastplate couldn't have saved him from Colossus' sword if he wasn't already powered up when he collided with it.
The entire fight is symptomatic of the series' approach to its storyline, which is to speed through in order to keep the plot moving. I have to admit that while it doesn't always work for me personally, it does prevent things from stagnating. There's no need to worry about an entire episode spent dress shopping or sitting around in a café chatting. The one thing we can consistently count on Granblue Fantasy to do is to propel its story forward.
That said, this episode does take a little time out for character development. When the Archduke is revealed, we can see that he's one of the bull-people who comprise most of the island's population. Since we haven't seen a whole lot of mixed human/animal people groups before, that makes his status as Io's protector a slight surprise. (Although it's perhaps more noteworthy how much bigger he is – he's practically a giant himself.) We learn that he took Io in after she was orphaned. After finding her on the street, he used his magic to cheer her up before offering to teach her if she'd come with him. Perhaps I've seen too much Law & Order: SVU, but I can't help but think that his proposition sounded sketchy; luckily, he becomes her substitute dad instead. All of this explains Io's terror at seeing what he's been doing, as well as her determination to make sure that he's returned to normal – she's already lost one father, and she has no intention of losing a second.
Of course, this makes her decision to join Gran's party somewhat jarring. If this pre-teen girl was so distraught at losing the Archduke, why is she so quick to leave him as soon as she's gotten him back? That's obviously a question Rackam and Catalina are asking themselves as well, because when she announces her intentions to them at the wharf, both of them make faces somewhere between “horror” and “disgust.” I can't blame them – the last thing they need is another kid to watch out for, and Io is pretty annoying, albeit a little less so now that her younger age has been made more clear. The bigger question is whether or not Siero has officially joined the group, because that might be one irritant too many for poor Rackam—although it would save the writers the trouble of having them pop up whenever Gran's party needs directions to a new plot point.
It looks as though Granblue Fantasy is going to continue along this same basic path for the foreseeable future. If it's not working for you, I suspect this is where viewers may really start to drop off, but if you're just enjoying the easy yet superficial way the tale is unfolding, let's just hope Io becomes less shrill in the coming episodes.
Granblue Fantasy the Animation is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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