What an emotionally charged episode of Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash we received this week. I wasn’t expecting them to deal with the aftermath of Manato’s death as well as they did, but I’m definitely impressed with the end result.
Picking up immediately following the ash spreading ceremony from the end of episode four, this episode focuses on the effects of loss and how one would move past it. Each moment is highlighted by some sort of emotion, whether it’s the guys’ rage in the tavern over their failures, the girls’ distance as they recruit a new priest for the party, or the climactic scene between Haruhiro and Yume where all the sorrow over what’s occurred just comes pouring out.
Each of these scenes is handled excellently, providing a real feeling of human emotion that is sometimes missing when an anime aims for that sort of reaction. Rather than trying too hard to get an emotion out of the viewer, it felt as if the personal reactions of each of our leads was far more important, and led to a much better episode than this could have been otherwise.
Actually, this episode was loaded with wonderful scenes that did more than just highlight the effects of Manato’s loss. There were plenty that gave subtle development to each of the characters, except for, again, Shihoru who really just chewed scenery this entire episode, such as the start of Haruhiro’s slow growth into the party’s leader. In particular, Haruhiro’s confrontation with Renji over the gold coin he had gifted them was pitch perfect, only eclipsed by the scene between him and Yume that followed.
The only real weak link in these scenes has already been mentioned a couple of times, but Shihoru does nothing. Her most notable action in this episode is misunderstanding what was occurring between Haruhiro and Yume at the end; though to be fair, if you didn’t know what was going on and say the two in the position they were in, you’d misunderstand as well.
This is horrible as her reaction to the loss of Manato is just as, if not more, important than anyone’s save for Haruhiro’s (as he is our lead character). Earlier episodes spent a decent amount of time building up implications towards her affection for Manato, and in the sequence where her reaction to his loss should be far more visible is glossed over it drains away some of the impact to those earlier scenes. It really feels like wasted potential for her to receive some character development.
Overall, this episode was a wonderful and emotionally charged episode. Shihoru’s lack of scenes is disappointing, and kind of inexcusable, but the rest of the episode was exceptional. It’ll be interesting to find out more about the new priest in their party, Mary, and her uncooperative nature come the next episode.
Episode 5 Rating: 8.5/10
Grimgar streams new episodes Sundays exclusively on Funimation.