You know, there’s technically only seven major characters in Granblem and how important they actually are even varies on a case by case basis. So I have to wonder why it gets a little tricky keeping track of everyone in these early episodes. Even on a rewatch, episodes such as this feels rather scattered as it cuts back between various perspectives. Honestly, in some respects, I’m okay with Rosa getting the short end of the stick as that means one less character to keep in mind.
I suppose the reason why the setup feels this way is because it takes a while getting to know what everyone’s deal is. In this episode, you’re reminded that Nene (Yurika Kubo) is a lot older than she appears and you learn at the end that her motivation in fighting in Granblem involves her mother. Meanwhile, the show provides a more formal introduction for Kuon (Manaka Iwami) and hints at something regarding her seemingly ill and comatose sister. I get all that (certainly more so on a rewatch) and there is nothing wrong with saving the full explanation for later. That said, it is a lot of teasing and I can’t blame anyone for feeling deterred by it. What’s worse is that mileage ultimately varies considerably with how satisfactory the explanations are.
The most prevalent thread right now involves Shingetsu and Anna as we finally learn what the latter’s beef is with the former. As it turns out, Shingetsu was to be adopted into the Fugo family as its successor (an apparently common practice for mages to do in order to keep their practice alive). Shingetsu ultimately backed out of it in fear her adoption would cause internal conflict though Anna’s relatives, including her own sister Claire (Marika Kuono), still welcomes her into their family (the fact that Claire’s hair accessory matches Shingetsu’s is a deep cut). Naturally, this all ticks Anna off as she’s effectively treated as the inferior mage and feels her family loves Shingetsu more than her. Mind you, that anger still borders on irrational. In the next fight, she sadistically tells Shingetsu she’ll erase her from existence which obviously isn’t exactly sane. At the very least, you now understand where she’s coming from.
It’s through Anna that we get to learn more about Shingetsu. For starters, we see her more vulnerable and conflicted side. She doesn’t return Anna’s hostility but she’s also at a loss on how to resolve it. An example comes when Shingetsu reunites with Anna’s relatives. Earlier in the episode, she prevents Anna from slapping her in the face, chastising her for stooping that low even. Here though, she doesn’t put up a fight, presumably in the vain attempt to let Anna vent. In addition to that, this dilemma is what motivates Shingetsu to participate in Granblem. Her wish should she be the victor is for magic to be gone entirely. That way, there’ll be no more infighting among mages, much like how it is between her and Anna.
As we learn more about Shingetsu, we see how Mangetsu factors into the story some more. While the former shows the latter the ropes in how to use magic and pilot her Armanox, the one who is supporting and the one who is supported is actually the other way around. As Mangetsu learns about Shingetsu’s personal drama, she assures her friend that the dilemma is not her fault and she shouldn’t treat herself as the villain. When Shingetsu confides to Mangetsu about her wish, the latter tells her that it’s a noble goal and assures her that she is a good person at heart. Evidently, Mangetsu is the emotional support Shingetsu has been missing and the fact it is Mangetsu fulfilling that role is something to keep in mind.
Thanks for reading!
Watch Granbelm on Crunchyroll