Have you ever wondered what life would be like if, instead of our world being as it is, we lived in a fantasy style world filled with magic and various creatures? Of course you have. However, have you ever wondered what struggling to survive in this setting would be like? If not, Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash, or Hai to Gensou no Grimgar, paints quite a realistic and highly interesting story of just that: a fantasy style world where you have to play your role, support your party, and salvage loot from your fallen enemies to survive.
Originally written by Ao Jūmonji as a light novel series, Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash was adapted into an anime series written by Ryosuke Nakamura. The story takes a different spin on the fantasy franchise as well, while also maintaining that fantasy feel we all know and love. There is no grand overall adventure or goal, the party is very contained and, as such, very personal, and the magic is more calm and on a somewhat “normal” scale. The goal each day is to survive.
Our story follows a single party, or group of characters, who come together after awakening in a strange world, having no memories of their past world. We have in our party:
- Haruhiro, our main character and Thief
- Manato, our party leader and first Priest
- Yume, our Hunter
- Moguzo, our Warrior
- Ranta, our Dark Knight
- Shihoru, our Mage
- Mary, our second Priest
It begins as Manato chooses the rest of our main cast here, excluding Mary, as the members of his party, and due to his efforts they survive quite a while together. Being weak they could only fight the world’s weakest monsters: goblins. Over time they manage to be capable of defeating many at once and venture to one of the goblins’ main locations. Here our party suffers from a huge tragedy. This tragedy involves Manato appointing Haruhiro as the party leader. This also requires our party to find another priest as well: Mary. The rocky relationship between Mary and the party gets better after they each find they have something in common and learn about each other’s pasts. The main focus of the anime shifts somewhat after the tragedy. It’s no longer only about survival. It’s now about loss, Haruhiro stepping up as a leader and truly learning about his party members, and resolution.
Haruhiro is our main character and is full of faults. He becomes quite aware of this and learns more about himself in order to become quite the asset to his party. After assuming the role of leader, he is forced to try even harder and learn more about each of his party members in order to become an effective leader, something that he is striving to be. Manato, our former leader, is an intelligent, thoughtful person with many talents. In battle he assumes many roles even though he is a healer. He quite often assumes many responsibilities even outside of battle and is without a doubt the reason the party survives during their early days. Yume is our spunky and energetic hunter. She looks out for Shihoru carefully and wants her to be more open in the party. She isn’t the best archer at first, but she polishes her skills like everyone else.
Moguzo is our soft spoken strong man. He’s very big but is quite caring and handy at carving and cooking. He often takes over for the others each morning for cooking duty. Ranta is our impulsive loud mouth dark knight. His behavior often causes problems between him and Haruhiro, but he is quite skilled during battle, looking for more vices. Shihoru, like Moguzo, is quite soft spoken. She only opens herself to Yume, but knows her faults as well, trying to improve both her magic and her expression towards the other members of the party. Mary is our second priest in the party. She keeps to herself and takes her duty as priest seriously. She doesn’t interact much with the others at first. With a past of her own, she carries quite the weight on her shoulders.
This anime has an interesting concept, a fantasy anime that doesn’t focus on questing, but instead focuses on the grunt work and the actual survival and struggle of our party in this world. I was impressed thoroughly by the story and each of the characters. The pacing was different, but was smooth. Each week I found myself constantly antsy waiting for the next episode. This anime left me impressed and wanting more after its end and has me hoping a second season will be announced. It also has me interested in reading the light novel series once it all releases in the West. All-in-all I would recommend Grimgar to anyone, especially those fond of an interesting story. The interactions of the characters and the everyday life of them had me hooked and, of course, I enjoyed every episode.
What were your impressions of Grimgar? What did you like? What didn’t you like? Feel free to comment below with your opinions regarding the anime.
-All pictures directly from the anime.