GRANBLUE FANTASY: The Animation Review

granStory:
Gran would like nothing more than to leave his village and set off to find his father, long sense missing after he pursued a tale of a mysterious island. But those dreams go on hold when a girl plummets to the forest, dropped from a military ship and with little knowledge of what she is.

Violence:
This is the only reason this show got bunked up to YA. Creatures are cut in two and in a dream sequence our heroine is walking in a lake of blood. Although this show still remains tame overall, it’s juuust enough that I felt I needed to bump this one a rating higher. That said, even if violence isn’t your thing, it’s really not that bad in this one. I’d say this is an avoid for you if any blood at all sets you off. Otherwise, this show is pretty tame.

Language:
Tame. Sh-t and d-mn are the most common, but they happen rarely.

Nudity:
We’re spared this for most of the entire show. Until the last two episodes. Then the overly skimpy outfits and boob fixations began. A shame as most of the show is in the clear for this sector.

Theology/mythology:
The ideology of this world doesn’t seem to put much stake in God or any normal variant. However there are these “beast” creatures that seem to have demigod abilities and are treated as “guardians” of specific elements or locations. If that kind of thing bugs you… Also, magic is used in this world. No details are given on how it works though.

Personal impression:
Remember that Phantasy Star title awhile ago? Yeah, this is like that one but with less character development and far more obvious “see isn’t this a cool world? Wouldn’t you like to play this as a game?” vibe.
Overall A-1 really did a nice job with what they were given. The world is crisp and the animation nice to look at. It’s nothing unique at all, but it’s not bad either. In fact, the relationship dynamics between the main cast are kinda cool. No typical anime romance triangle garbage. Just old school comradery. And we get two female leads that have a solid relationship with each other that has nothing to do with the male lead. So not a horrible show character-wise.
Until that second to last episode when they dump in every other party member you could have chosen instead in the game version out of nowhere. But if that makes you cringe, it gets better. The last episode goes back and switches to a female lead and the story doesn’t change AT ALL. It’s such an obvious shrill for the game that it hurts. To make the pain more grotesque they then take full advantage of the new all female cast and drag the rest of the episode into a -yooou guessed it!- beach vacation. Because anime boobs. I should have known the clean of fanservice angle would die, but this method really takes the cake.
The only redeeming bit about that last episode is how surprisingly more reliable the female lead seems than the male, Gran. When we finally see her in combat, she often isn’t even looking at the enemy, slicing one after another as if she’s making a grocery list while chatting on the phone. Think Wonder Woman on crack. It was actually kinda cool, in a funny and very unexpected way.
Overall, this show isn’t offensive (until the end) but it also offers absolutely nothing new. If you like the game or like generic RPG stuff, this will do the trick. But there’s nothing else to be had here. Nothing at all.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 13
Languages: sub and dub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Fantasy, adventure
Company: Aniplex
Production: A-1 Pictures
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

Kado: the Right Answer Review

23002Story:
After a tiring negotiation with a metal making company, Shindo and his partner’s flight out of Japan is halted by a giant cube falling from the sky and engulfing the entire plane. Humanity is about to face a creature far more technologically advanced than they can imagine.

Violence:
Generally, there is very little violence in this show. However, the last few episodes have a few graphic scenes. We’re talking hearts getting pulled out. It’s a pretty quick scene but veeeery violent compared to the non-existent violence most of the series enjoys.

Language:
Nothing too bad. A few d-mns and a sh-t here or there. It’s not common enough to cause concern.

Nudity:
Another thing we’re spared. The alien is naked when we first see him, but not for long and we see no details. There’s also a scene of a girl being naked later on, but nothing is shown and it’s typical anime shenanigans.

Theology/mythology:
The creation of the universe and evolution is discussed more than once. Nothing religious in nature really, but if you don’t want to get into theories on the creation of the known universe, you might want to skip this show as that comes into play eventually and is rather important.

Personal impression:
This is one of those shows I normally don’t give the time of day to. For one thing, it’s mostly rendered in 3D animation. I haven’t mentioned much on my feelings about using 3D in anime, but as is common in the community, I generally dislike it. Although I will be fair and admit that my reasoning largely lies in that I find it’s often used incorrectly. But that’s a different article. Another reason this show might have been passed up by me initially is because of how tortuously slow the first episode is. Slow starters are not at all uncommon, but for a story like this I would have liked at least a bit more of a clipped pace, especially as the episode ends on such a huge cliffhanger, making the pacing VERY heavy on only one end.
But credit where it’s due, unlike most slow starters, this series knew how to spin that cliffhanger just enough for me to actually click on episode two. Not an easy thing considering how bad I found the animation to be overall.
But then the “cube” appears and you can easily see why heavy CGI was used in this show. I still have reservations on 3D animation, especially as the quality of it in this show seemed to fluctuate a lot between scenes, which was quite distracting, but overall I understand why they opted for it in this case.
And I’m glad I gave it a chance and kept watching.
The alien we meet eventually and the concepts he (it?) brings to the table concern other dimensions, a difficult topic on its own, but the show further digs itself into old school science fiction by seeking to address how mankind would deal with such a huge leap in technological advancements. These questions, with the title of the show always in the background as characters each seek out their “right answer” to the issues they face, made this series the best sleeper for this past season by far.
The characters… Well, some of those could have used work (especially considering the “big reveal” on one of them near the end), but the story itself more than made up for it. It’s been a while since a story alone made me suffer poor animation with a smile, but this show did a truly amazing job with it.
If you like science fiction.
This is the next huge flaw in the show (besides, ya know, the animation definitely not being for everyone). If you don’t like classic science fiction elements, which are far less about space battles and far more about questioning humanity’s thirst for technology and the possible pit-falls of that, you probably won’t like this show. As I said before, the characters are pretty standard once you strip them of their setting and circumstances. They may be a bit more grounded than some shows, but they aren’t unique. In fact, some are incredibly forgettable. So if you aren’t on board with the story itself, you’re gonna be mighty bored, if not straight up confused.
As a science fiction nerd myself, I really enjoyed it. Something I definitely didn’t see coming. Especially considering how slow it was to take off.
So if you enjoy the more classic and realistic side of science fiction, and don’t mind a feeeeew rushed wrap ups at the end, this is actually a really great show. So long as you don’t stare into the soulless eyes of the early 2000s era game clip animations much…

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genres: science fiction, fantasy, drama
Company: Toei Animation
Production: Toei Animation
Official streaming: Crunchyroll

WorldEnd: What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us? Review

worldendStory:
William is a human in a world that pretty much hates him. Luckily he manages to land a job watching over a “weapons” warehouse for the military. But the weapons are nothing like he expected…

Violence:
The blood doesn’t kick in until the mid to last part of this series, so be well warned on it being rather high. I got more than a few instances of Trinity Blood levels with this show. If blood freaks you out, go ahead and skip this. Because once the action starts, it’s not something you can skip through…

Language:
Nothing super bad. Mostly d-mns and sh-ts here and there.

Nudity:
As seems to be a requirement for most shows with an unholy large (haha) female cast, we get some bath scenes and uncomfortable innuendo between the male lead and tons of very underage girls because anime. The worst are the “massage” scenes. Yeah, they’re just as despicable as you can imagine. No actual details shown, mind you. But, let’s face it, such technicalities don’t really make these scenes any less creepy.

Theology/mythology:
Ok, we got fairy things, which are called “leprechauns” because THAT makes sense, the idea that souls are reborn as other things, that people magically became evil beasts over time and are destroying the earth… yeah. It’s very convoluted and as usual nothing is really explained in detail. Although in this case I wish it had been…

Personal impression:
Ok, Japan, we get it. You like titles longer than Rapunzel’s hair. But would it kill you to at least have them match the tone of the show? Please?
Usually when I run into anime with titles like this, it ends up at the bottom of my watch list. And for good reason. These shows are often birthed from light novels. Boring light novels counting on their horridly long titles to draw people in because the plots are about as deep as female pant pockets (spoiler alert! We often don’t GET pant pockets and when we do they hold maybe one penny. Tightly). But once I got around to actually giving this show a go, I was shocked to hear traditional Irish music pop out of my speakers only a few minutes in. Fast forward to now and, well, this was a pretty shocking show for me. I honestly expected the absolute worst and this anime… wasn’t.
Now the next line of business: was it good? Well, yes and no. The tone and end messages of this show were surprisingly mature and well done. Even the direction and visuals were decent throughout. To be honest, only the Irish music on the soundtrack was memorable, but it was VERY memorable and quite impactful in how it was used. That said, there was a huge issue that bugged me the entire show which makes me hesitate to recommend this title.
The creepy harem vibes.
Yep, they couldn’t just keep a good story and decent characters going they just HAD to have the not-super-remarkable-but-can-do -everything-and-has-all-the-world-experience-hero-that-ALL-the-ladies-want cliche. And in the case of this show, I found this aspect particularly cringey as the lead is an adult (and actually far older than that, we find later) and the love interest? Yeah, she’s about 16 or so. Yeah. It’s creepy. Now, granted this has unfortunately become a standard in anime. The whole innocent girl falls for guy simply because he gives her so many “firsts” is a huge cliche not just in Japan, come to think of it, but also here in the US and… wait… does the heroine actually SAY she loves him because he is her “first” or… Oh. Oh she does. Oh lord the show even admits it….
Yeah. That was painful. Really, really painful. And I found that aspect to distract badly from the tragedy that was the ending. Which is a huge loss of potential as they didn’t HAVE to go the shallow “I love senpai!” route for me to care about a character’s potential death. Her being a “big sister” to the other fairies, the story of her watching as her own older sisters left and never returned, the reveal of another sister losing her identity, but pretending she’s ok for the mental health of those around her, ALL of those things are heartbreaking and would have painted enough of a sad picture for me to root for the heroine. She doesn’t HAVE to be waifu to matter. And the more she was forced into that role, the more disconnected with the show I became.
So… was it good? No. It was ok for fantasy. Decent, even. But I can’t call this good. I just can’t. Not when entire episodes were dedicated to her becoming the perfect housewife. It was just too much cringe for me.
But, hey, if you can overlook that? This is a great fantasy show. The world building alone is pretty solid. Just don’t look too close at the romance stuff. Like, at all. It’s not pretty.

Personal rating: Young adult

Episodes: 12
Languages: sub
Official rating: TV14
Genre: Fantasy, drama, action
Company: Kadokawa pictures
Production: Satelight / C2C
Official streaming: Crunchyroll