If it weren’t for some really glaring artistic issues in these two episodes of Grimgar, they would have been next to perfect.
With episode eight focused on the party avenging Manato’s death by wiping out the remaining goblin forces in the old city, and episode nine giving them a break for some minor character development and slice-of-life lite moments, these two episodes fundamentally worked really well.
The action in episode eight was absolutely thrilling as the goblins that the party goes up against show off a greater understanding of human fighting styles than any I’ve ever seen before. It worked extremely well and increased the intensity of the fight as our, slowly improving, party was far from perfect.
The fact that we see Yume, Haruhiro, Mary and Moguzo all suffer injuries during the fight makes it all the more thrilling, as the consequences – despite Mary’s magic making it possible to essentially remove them immediately – are present and make it even fiercer.
Only Mary’s injury near the end has me questioning why Manato couldn’t do the same thing and self-heal himself when he got shot. Was it just too late for him, or is Mary a more skilled priest and self-healing is a more elite ability? It’s a question that I doubt will be answered, but it does look a little sloppy when viewed separately.
After the fight, the rest of episode eight, and all of episode nine, dial things down a lot. Starting with episode eight’s conclusion, focusing on the party having one final moment at Manato’s grave, the show shifts focus into a bunch of little character moments for the entirety of episode nine.
And these character moments predominantly work out well. They don’t really introduce much new about the characters, save for Haruhiro and Mary, but they do manage to give a good idea of the dynamic that the party has now achieved in the aftermath of Manato’s passing.
It works quite well, and manages to make the slow paced episode enjoyable; particularly the finale as they approach the mines where Mary lost her party in the past.
However, despite the good will that the content of these episodes provides, they suffer horrendously from an animation and artistry standpoint. Characters are consistently weirdly animated, and the models looked really off compared to earlier episodes. There was also something really uncanny about how the characters’ eyes would go weird when the camera zoomed out from them. It was disconcerting and actually quite distracting.
Overall, these episodes were enjoyable. The artistic issues that plague the two episodes, however, do manage to drag the whole package down immensely. That said the next episode looks like it’ll be worth slogging through these weirdly animated ones as we are looking to receive a dungeon run from the party as they enter the mine.
Episode 8 Rating: 8/10
Episode 9 Rating: 7.5/10
Grimgar streams new episodes Sundays exclusively on Funimation.