Anime Film & Television

GRANBLUE FANTASY The Animation, Episode 1 Review

GRANBLUE FANTASY The Animation, Episode 1

Produced by: Aniplex, Tohokushinsha Film Corporation, Cygames
Studio: A-1 Pictures
Genre(s): Fantasy
Episode length: 23 minutes

Synopsis: This is a world of the skies, where many islands drift in the sky. A boy named Gran and a talking winged lizard named Vyrn lived in Zinkenstill, an island which yields mysteries. One day, they come across a girl named Lyria. Lyria had escaped from the Erste Empire, a military government that is trying to rule over this world using powerful military prowess. In order to escape from the Empire, Gran and Lyria head out into the vast skies, holding the letter Gran’s father left behind – which said, “I will be waiting at Estalucia, Island of Stars.” – My Anime List

Okay, I’m going to admit that I know little to nothing about the mobile game that the GRANBLUE FANTASY The Animation anime series is based on. I don’t know the story or the characters or much of anything about the series. What I do know about the app is that the music for the series was composed by famed Final Fantasy composer Nobou Uematsu and that he was reunited with art director Hideo Minaba who also worked on several FF titles. But other than that, I know nothing else – and I am fine with that. But when it comes to the anime series based on the mobile app I find myself wishing I knew a bit more just to have some kind of reference or source to get some info from.

It’s not that I want to know everything about the story and series right away, it’s just that there are some elements regarding the characters that I think a little knowledge of them would have made a huge difference as the first episode, while pretty evenly paced, could have explained just a bit more. That being said, I rather did enjoy the first episode as it presented a grand fantasy world full of magic and action that might just hold my interest for a full season. The magic on display, the swordsmanship that is put forth in the episode all seem familiar and interesting as the characters and viewers begin to explore this new world.

My only issue with the presentation of the world of GRANBLUE FANTASY The Animation is, ironically, the animation itself. There is something about the quality of the animation that just doesn’t quite mesh with the world and characters that are being presented. It’s as my wife pointed out – there was very little definition and details to the characters when given closer inspection. To me, after watching the episode twice more, because of this lack of definition, the characters looked rather stiff when compared to the crisp backgrounds and details of the world they inhabit. It was a bit distracting and took me out of the fantasy of the world a few times, but it was nothing that totally put me off to the series – much like the way that The World Yamizukan did.

Luckily for GRANBLUE FANTASY The Animation, the characters and intriguing story really save the show. Yeah, I know I said I wanted to know a bit more of the world the anime is set in, but a few more episodes should be able to flesh this out – or at least that is what I am hoping. And the characters that the series presented, the female knight Katalina Alize in particular, seem as they are going to be very interesting characters to follow as the series progresses. This, I feel, is the anime strongest factor right off the bat for the first episode. If they can continue to develop the characters properly throughout the series, I could see myself really getting into the series despite my feelings on the quality of the animation.

Of course, I would be remised if I didn’t speak of the one production factor for the anime that brought it to my attention in the first place: the music. With music for the series provided by, and based on the compositions of Nobou Uematsu, you know going into the series that this was going to be one of the finest points of the series. And so far, from the first impressions I got from the premiere episode, the music is of a quality unmatched by most fantasy anime – and is that really any surprise. Of course, I am a huge Uematsu fan, so I may be a bit biased here; but with Uematsu and fellow anime series composers Tsutomu Narita & Yasunori Nishiki there is no doubt that the music for the series matches the look and feel of the story and series almost perfectly.

I’m really hoping that the rest of the GRANBLUE FANTASY The Animation anime series is as good as I hope I am expecting it to be. I hope that the animation improves on some level but as long as the story can remain interesting, that the characters remain enjoyable, and the music remains flawless, I will definitely be a fan of this series until the end.

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