Granblue Fantasy is Japanese only mobile title that’s currently slated for a PS4 release in 2018. It has an anime adaptation from A-1 Pictures, the studio behind Sword Art Online, The Seven Deadly Sins, Magi, Fairy Tail, and many other popular shows. Its first episode lives up to the pedigree of the studio with fantastic animation and solid voice acting, but the story is unfortunately cliche.
The world instantly reminded me of a Tales of game. The art is filled with color with the first episode being set in a quiet town in the middle of a field. The forest, village, and the surroundings looked wonderful. Some hand-drawn art even had a 3D effect in some parts of the episode which should pull audiences in that much more. The fight scenes were flashy just like Sword Art Online. The characters ran with thunderous speed towards their enemies with attacks that just sparked against enemy blows. It looked really cool and was one of the best parts of the episode. The visuals gave off a sense of that fantasy flair and it really added to the animation. The character designs were also really cool, especially with Gran, who was wearing a hoodie-like design with armor on top of it. However, sword slashes against the enemy were a bit confusing in this anime. You see the enemies being hit, but they are still able to get up. Were they struck unconscious or had they been killed? Another nitpick is that the creature sidekick, Vyrn, looks out of place during walking and battle scenes as he was animated with different quality to his surroundings. Hopefully that will be fixed in future episodes as it was definitely a distraction.
The story felt like much more of the same. Gran, the main character of this Granblue Fantasy adaptation, is a teenager who lives an ordinary life in an outskirt village, but it’s disrupted when a warship from the Empire appears and an explosion occurs. He goes to find out what falls out of it as he sees a strong blue light in the sky. This blue light comes from Lyria, a girl who has been trapped and tested on. And then it goes on just like you’d expect.
A boy meets girl, the boy wants to save her and without thinking risks his life for someone he just met. Why is he risking such lengths and his village to help her? Is he a plain hero who doesn’t think of the consequences? Hopefully in future episodes, his character is expanded upon. Lyria also feels like a cliche character; she seemed like a character who needs to be protected and can’t fight back. We’ve seen this time and time again.
Despite this, the story between a hero and a girl he wants to save doesn’t really feel old; it’s like watching your average superhero movie…we know he or she is going to come out on top, but we usually love the journey that these characters take us on anyway.
Even though there are cliche characters, the storyline was intriguing with a focus on dragons and a mysterious girl with exceptional powers. She’s probably a princess, but we’ll have to see what they do with it. The main characters are well voiced by Yuuki Ono and Nao Toyama. They sounded spot on with the characters they portrayed and don’t sound annoying at all. While they’re discussing that Gran is getting too involved in the situation, the voice actress for Lieutenant Katalina, Miyuki Sawashiro, does a great job at conveying the severity of what’s going on while also being pushed for time.
Overall, the first episode was great. Even though it had a cliche storyline, parts of it were definitely intriguing. The gorgeous art and the great voice acting was compelling enough alone to recommend this episode for a full watch.