First things are first, episode four of Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash was a great episode. The slow pacing, the animation, the music, everything gelled together perfectly in a way that made this a wonderful episode to watch. Even the usage of an insert song felt appropriate; especially compared to the previous insert song sequences.
This episode wasn’t a happy one though. Compared to the relatively slice-of-life fantasy feel of the previous episodes, this one was more intense and focused; with the death of Manato taking centre-stage. And this is where all of the good qualities of previous episodes collide to make it such a heartbreaking experience.
With the characters having been relatively established in earlier sequences, each moment that they get to spend together as a group works extremely well. From the brief scene between Manato and Shihoru that started off the episode, to their newfound effectiveness as a team, everything about them screams natural progression from the lost and confused children at the start of episode one.
So, it’s extremely heavy when things go south. The stakes felt believable as the team comes under surprise attack from a group of goblins, and what I’ll assume are hobgoblins, placing Haruhiro in immediate danger as he goes out of his way to rescue Manato, only for everything to have been for naught by the end of their escape.
Excellent usage of animation, music and voice work really sells this extended action sequence, as the fear among the characters is palpable and the threat feels ever encroaching. The only series this season that puts its entire voice cast to better use is ERASED, so major props to the cast for this entire sequence. In specific, Yoshimasa Hosoya, Haruhiro’s voice, needs to be given the main focus of the praise here.
His outburst towards the priest at the end was painful. Every moment he spoke was full of emotion and extremely charged with a newfound sense of loss and suffering. I’ve not really heard many others who could have probably pulled that scene off, and I’m going to be really curious to hear who they cast if Funimation decides to dub this series.
Other than Manato’s death, this episode also managed to provide some world building for the realm that our characters have ended up in. With discussions about gods and an overlord who commands an army of the dead, more about this world has been revealed; and while not utterly ground breaking, it definitely adds to the experience.
As was said at the top, this was a great episode. With a lack of any fanservice conversations or moments, unless you count seeing Yume’s feet as fanservice, this episode honestly surpassed expectations. Looking forward, however, it’ll be interesting to see whether the action will pick up, or if we’ll continue to receive a slice-of-life with some heavier consequences hanging over it. No matter what, Grimgar is definitely worth watching. If you haven’t started it yet, I highly recommend getting on board.
Episode 4 Rating: 9/10
Grimgar streams new episodes Sundays exclusively on Funimation.