Minna-san, Anime rants e youkoso! (Everyone, welcome to Anime Rants!) So far Granbelm has been nothing but animated ecstasy for me, and I hope to get that kind of feeling again watching this third episode. Episodes 3 and 4 are important in the structure of a 12- or 24-episode series. For many, it’s the point that decides whether audiences will stick with the show or not. Anyway, here we go with the anime ranting! We’ll begin with characters.
There was character development for Kibo (Mangetsu’s little sister), Nene, and their friendship. They’re so cute together. I might as well ship them. But I have a bad feeling something will happen to that pair of lovable lolis. Nene might lose in a magic battle and take it very badly, for example. That could be bad news. I also wonder why Nene is living all alone when she has two siblings (are they triplets?) and a mother who seems nice.
In addition, we saw some development between Mangetsu and Shingetsu. In a moment of vulnerability, Shingetsu gets teary-eyed and nearly cries. It’s painful for her to have Anna hate her so much, especially when Clare and Mrs. Fugo seem to love her. Mangetsu assures her friend she’s not a demon, and gently holds Shingetsu’s face in her hands.
On that note, I’m still not clear on what kind of mage family misunderstanding could lead to Anna calling Shingetsu a demon and hating her so much. I’m starting to suspect it’s just intense jealousy on the part of Anna. She realized Shingetsu was more powerful than her, and she couldn’t stand it. Plus, Anna’s little sister and mother loved Shingetsu so much that Anna became envious of the attention and affection.
It’s great to see Mangetsu having so much fun learning to pilot her White Lily. This might not come up until waaay later, but Shingetsu and Mangetsu might have to fight each other one day in Granbelm. That will make for some dramatic character interactions. Shingetsu has an unusual and unexpected reason for wanting to win Granbelm and become the recognized Mage. She wants to erase all magic so that the bitter Granbelm battles will end.
The unknown little girl with silvery hair has mysteriously appeared at least once before this point. In episode 3, she says her name is Kuon and there’s a scene of her talking to her older sister, who for some reason is blindfolded and can only respond by humming strangely. Kuon reveals later in the episode that her sister is under a curse. She takes her sister’s place in Granbelm and summons her own Armanox.
Now let’s briefly touch on visuals and audio. I like how the lighting changes when Shingetsu uses magic to make sure they’re not overheard in the classroom. In fact, I like the lighting all throughout the changing scenes o this episode. It reminds me a little bit of Madoka Magica. Random: I still think the robot designs are somewhat cool, but mostly, they are just so cute! The backgrounds and scenery are good, too. Especialliy in Magiaconatus, the imagery just blows my mind. It feels almost like being high.
Kuon sounded like Tooru Honda, and when I looked it up on Anime New Network, it was true. She is voiced by Iwami Manaka. Also speaking of voices, Yuuki Aoi is one of my top 3 favorite female seiyuu, and she plays Suisho Hakamada. That’s the blue-haired girl who often says “nya” and “nyu.” Related to sound, the music was wonderful. The piece starting at 12:40 is beautiful. I also love the battle music (you can hear it around 15 minutes in I think). And the piece that starts at 18:18 is really intense and perfect for an emotional battle.
Moving on, we’ll examine story elements and world-building. For the first half of the episode, I thought the pacing was a little too slow and the plot less focused than before. I was glad when everybody entered Magiaconatus again for the next battle. Once the fight got started, it was intense and I loved it!! Damn, Anna is savage!
Magiaconatus is interesting. According to Shin, the magic sealed away in that space reacts with the memories and hearts of the mages/pilots, resulting in an illusionary world where the fights happen. The unique and colorful, yet grim, world of Magiaconatus might really exist inside someone’s heart. This is pure speculation, but I wonder if it exists in the hearts of the seven mages who sealed away all magic. They could have preserved their hearts in the floating island of gears in the center of Magiaconatus.
Apparently, available magic power for Armanox pilots declines when the Armanox sustains damage. It takes some time for the available power to rise to usable levels again. This seems only fitting, since we already learned in episode 2 that being defeated in Granblem means having all your magic drained away. You can also expend too much magic power at once if you get carried away, resulting in not being able to attack or defend well. The fight between Anna and Shingetsu showed us these things.
So did this succeed in being a gripping third episode? I personally loved it, but I think it fell a little short of what I’d hoped for, which was something more shocking or intense to “hook” audiences. But the plot is still progressing pretty smoothly. The most important thing was that it wasn’t boring. Establishing and developing the characters more is just as important as thrilling fights in a short anime series.
That’s about all for this week’s rant about Grenbelm! For taking the time to read this, thank you so much! Please have a safe and happy day. 🙂
(Images from: Granbelm. Dir M Watanabe. Nexus. 2019.)