It’s been a little over three weeks since the first Granbelm episode review. Sorry about the delay. Since this is a non-seasonal/non-polled series and I’m one of ten people who cares about it, my plan was to cover it whenever time allows. Evidently however, the disadvantage with that it is could take a while between posts. Perhaps I should designate a day of the week to write these after all.
That aside, it is nice to finally blog past the first episode. I only wrote a First Impressions post back in Summer 2019. If I recall, I did actually want to write a review for this episode, and it probably would’ve led to me covering the whole show, but I never got around to it. I was falling behind on the watch list and I was feeling under the weather too. Believe me when I say writing this series of reviews is a do-over.
So after an action-packed premiere, Granbelm takes a breather in its second episode. Things start off with Mangetsu waking up in Shingetsu’s home (naked of course because this an anime) and explaining to her folks where she went off last night (I love that they called the cops on her). Once that matter is taken care of, a shroud of mystery is formed around our protagonist. Thing is, according to Shingetsu, magic is a rare ability so anyone who can use it is of some level of renown. One then has to ask how a seemingly ordinary girl such as Mangetsu, with neither background in or knowledge of magic, can use it. And if these first two episodes are anything to go by, she’s a potentially very powerful mage to boot. Suffice to say, this is something to keep in mind as you continue watching.
The main concern here is whether or not Mangetsu should and/or wants to participate in Granbelm. Shingetsu first tries to make that decision for her by erasing her memory but to her surprise, the spell doesn’t work (again, Mangetsu has a bizarre amount of potential in magic). She thus spends the rest of the episode persuading Mangetsu to forfeit the tournament, arguing that it’s too dangerous and insisting that magic is more a curse than a gift (which hints at her own feelings about it).
Meanwhile, Mangetsu dodges the topic. Along the way, we learn how she’s a huge pushover at school by caving into people’s requests and running errands for them. Her cooking lunch for everyone actually happens to be one such example of this. These two things end up going hand in hand with each other as Mangetsu confesses to Shingetsu that she wants to participate in Granblem. Her reason: she feels there’s nothing special about herself. No skills, no talents, nothing. Her being a pushover is her way of trying to deflect that as then she feels she has something she can do and a purpose to fulfill. In that sense, being a mage and more importantly, one of the select few participants in Granblem, would be another means for her to feel special, the best in fact.
When I first watched this episode, I felt perplexed and even a bit annoyed at this revelation. On one hand, I can relate with Mangetsu’s fear of ordinariness and I like the idea that she’s a more selfish person than she initially lets on. At the same time however, I sided more with Shingetsu that such feelings are really just in Mangetsu’s head as it is often the case for a lot of people. More importantly, I wasn’t sure if this justifies her involvement in Granbelm. Chances are, the other participants have more legitimate and more personal reasons to fight, let alone win. Meanwhile, our protagonist, the one we’re actually following and rooting for, wants to fight because it’d simply and literally is just something for her to do? What would Mangetsu even do with her wish if she were to win anyway? It just sounded so weird to me.
Of course, I now know exactly what the deal is with Mangetsu. As I said in the last review, almost everything about this character is deliberate. And I’ll admit: rewatching this episode and knowing where this arc ultimately goes, things do hit a lot differently for me. I can’t exactly say why as that’ll get into spoiler territory but I will say that I sympathize with Mangetsu’s decision a lot more this time around and it’s a lot sadder hearing her talk about how there’s nothing unique or memorable about her.
Thanks for reading!
Watch Granbelm on Crunchyroll