Granbelm – Ep. 1 (First Impressions)

Granbelm completely flew under my radar though I’m kind of surprised it did. I mean, a magical girl mecha anime?! That’s not something you see everyday.

As far as I can tell, the plot goes like this: there used to be magic in our world, now there isn’t, and those who can still use it duke it out in an alternate dimension every full moon. What does the victor gain out of this? Uh, something I guess. I assume to make a wish since a lot of the competitors shown so far talk about wanting status, power, recognition, all that jazz.

If it sounds like I can’t talk in great detail about the plot, that’s honestly because the premiere is very light on it. Within its very first scene, Granbelm shoves its protagonist, Mangetsu Kohinata (Miyuri Shimabukuro) into the magical dimension without much warning or foreshadowing. Although the ball immediately gets rolling as a result, it does feel too sudden. How and why Mangetsu gets transported is left a mystery and you know very little about her character apart from the fact that she has average cooking skills. Having her all clueless does allow the viewer to relate with her but it also leaves a lot of details in the dark. Who exactly is Shingetsu (Atsumi Tanezaki), the mage who befriends Mangetsu? Who exactly is everyone else fighting in the royale? I’m sure the show will elaborate sooner or later but elaborating now would’ve been nice.

Still, I did have a lot of fun with the premiere if only because of the sheer amount of spectacle. Giant robots fighting, a myriad of weapons, magical spells and explosions, tons of buildings getting destroyed in the process, all of which set against a purple twilight sky. It’s all here and it all looks good too. Honestly, I’m really stunned this is Studio Nexus animating all this. I grew to like them after Comic Girls but that show did not require anything intensive by any means. If this is what they can actually pull off then darn, I want to see animate action more often. My only gripe with the art is maybe the mech designs. They just look far too bulky for my liking. I really dig the puppet strings the pilots use for controls though. 

I don’t know if spectacle can necessarily carry the show. Even in shows where that element is my favorite part, I still find a lot to like about the story and characters. Granbelm will need to follow suit if it’s to stay in the watch list. I did end up enjoying the first episode so for now, it’s safe.

OP: “Tsuki o Ou Mayonaka” by Eir Aoi

ED: “Negai” by Uru

Thanks for reading!

Watch Granbelm on Crunchyroll

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