When you want to set up for your finale, there is no better method than the once chosen by Grimgar.
With the penultimate episode giving us the biggest set of action sequences, and some nice conclusion to a couple of character arcs, it manages to set up everything really nicely for the finale in episode 12.
In fact, this may be the strongest episode of Grimgar since Manato’s passing, and that’s saying a lot as the series has really stepped up its game since that sequence.
As we start this episode with Mary reminiscing to her original team, and giving us a better look at their dynamics than we had received when our main party went to investigate her, we’re nicely set up for the importance of the conflicts that rage throughout the rest of the episode, at least for her.
Picking up right after with where we left off in episode 10, with Death Spots being spotted among the kobolds on the fourth floor, we move quickly along to the party reaching the fifth floor and heading off to a rest spot before they backtrack to a different spot of the fourth floor.
This is where the episode picks up its pace and presents us with some world building, as well as some closure to Mary’s character arc, as the undead corpses of her former party members attack.
It’s an interesting sequence as we finally get to know why the priest was so insistent on having Manato cremated back in episode four. With the No Life King’s curse on the land causing the dead to come back, it makes a lot more sense as to why “ash” is a major part of the series’ title.
Other than the world building, this sequence also gives us some visually impressive action sequences as the party fights back against the undead in an attempt to give Mary a chance to counter the No Life King’s curse.
Having Mary responsible for dispelling the curse and putting her friends to rest was a great choice, and makes this sequence a nice finale to her character arc, as she faces her greatest failure, and has to overcome it.
This sequence also starts the closure to the other character arc that built up in the latter half of the series: Ranta and Haruhiro’s issues with one another.
As the party is set upon by Death Spots, their attempt to flee the fifth floor takes them through a sequence quite reminiscent of the Mines of Moria from The Fellowship of the Ring. However, with much of the chase being reliant upon the placement of scaffolding, the kobolds and Death Spots are much more immediate threats to our party here than the orcs in the Fellowship’s similar situation.
The fact that we’re given some conclusions to Ranta’s character arc for the series in these moments is great, as he proves to be a far more able team player than he had in previous episodes. It’s great to see and makes his “sacrifice” at the end all the more painful as we wait to see how the party manages to rescue him.
Overall, as the penultimate episode of the series (though I do hope that it has done well enough to justify more), episode 11 was standout. Everything worked in its favour, and other than some possible niggles about a couple of off model moments (mainly for Shihoru who has not seemed to have a consistent model at all); it was a practically flawless and thrilling buildup to the finale. Let’s hope that next week doesn’t falter.
Episode 11 Rating: 10/10
Grimgar streams new episodes Sundays exclusively on Funimation.