Granblue Fantasy the Animation
Episode 8

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 8 of
Granblue Fantasy the Animation ?

Somehow this episode of Granblue Fantasy was far more entertaining than it ought to have been, considering that it didn't do much to further the plot. Still, it was the kind of low-stakes fantasy adventure that's fun to watch, with ruins, treasure, and a decent ending gag, which is definitely what I needed this week. I'm also hoping it marks the last we'll see of Siero for a bit, although I'm not holding my breath.

The story kicks off when the gang arrives at the next island. As payment for their help, Siero the Walking Plot Device offers to make them a good deal on all of the supplies they'll need for the next part of their journey, and gee, since they're at loose ends, would they mind fulfilling this random quest that just so happens to take place on this island? Since it involves exploring ancient ruins, everyone's willing to do it, so our Junior Indiana Joneses set out. The ruins in the forest have a vaguely Incan look to them and are naturally riddled with traps, so no sooner have they set foot on the pavement than people start dropping through the floor. The end result? Somehow even Vyrn falls through and the crew is divided into two teams: Gran, Rackam, and Io in one and Lyria, Katalina, and Vyrn in the other.

I won't spend too much time wondering how on earth Vyrn, who never even touches the ground, fell as well, but the split into groups does allow for some conversation about how he and Gran ended up together in the first place. Apparently, they're childhood buddies (and Vyrn is full grown?), and Vyrn is the only one who's really stuck by Gran for most of his life. He may not always be helpful, but he is always there, which is really the more important thing for a kid who feels abandoned. That fact also helps to explain why Gran is willing to take foolish risks without asking for backup – Vyrn's been his only constant companion, so there really hasn't been anyone he could rely on for physical aid. That's why his connection to Lyria (and her magic hair antenna) is so important; he can always tell where she is, so he knows he can count on her. Sensing her presence makes him feel less alone.

The same could doubtless be said for her, but that doesn't come up this week. Instead more time is spent focusing on the interactions between Io and Rackam, which I really hope aren't intended to be romantic foreshadowing, and the fact that Gran apparently can't read a map or a compass or find his way out of a paper bag that's open at both ends. At least he can follow the sounds of a fight – that's how his part of the group meets up with Mary and Karva, two local ruin explorers hoping to score some treasure. The two are under attack by a sand golem, and the fight is one of the more interesting parts of the episode. It's not necessarily because the choreography is fantastic, but because you can see that defeating this monster is more about solving the puzzle of what will kill a self-healing creature than simply stabbing it. The part where Gran slam dunks a bomb into its gaping maw is good, but it's more about how they all figure out what to do together—and Gran casually sliding down the pile of sand that remains when they finish it off.

The major plot point appears to be when Gran pulls out the sword that was the real treasure of the ruins, causing everything else to melt away. Could anyone else have removed the sword? The shining lights that accompany Gran's efforts suggest not, and when Mary and Karva refuse to take it in place of all the gold that vanished, that seems to indicate that the sword will be important to Gran in the future – it's possibly integral to defeating the Empire and finding his father. We'll have to keep an eye on it going forward.

Although this was more of a silly episode than anything, it was also one of my favorites. We learned more about Gran and Vyrn, had some good humorous visuals, and ultimately still moved the story along. I hope we get more of these goofier stories going forward, because they help to make the series feel more like its own tale and less like a series of game checkpoints.

Rating: B

Granblue Fantasy the Animation is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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