What It Means to Be Alive
- Episodes : 13
- Genre : Magic, Fantasy, Mecha
- Airing Date : July 2019 – September 2019
- Producers : Nexus
Granbelm Introduction and Story
Magic existed long ago in the world, but fearing what the power would do to people, the mages of the past sealed all of the magic away in the Magiaconatus. Since its sealing, an event called “Granbelm” regularly occurs, where young mages fight in another world for the power to become the “Princeps Mage” and control all of the magic in Magiaconatus. Mangetsu Kohinata is a girl who feels she has nothing special in her life, until one night she is accidentally thrust into Granbelm!
This anime is one that starts out quite slow, but as it continues on into more detail, it becomes a beautiful and powerful story about the meaning of life and self-sacrifice. Mangetsu is quite a mysterious character at the beginning, appearing out of nowhere to fight among seasoned mages, but the truth about her link to Shingetsu Ernesta Fukumi is discovered near the end of Granbelm. Shingetsu has to make a choice—if she really wants to rid the world of all magic and disappear, or if she will win Granbelm and save Mangetsu from her fate. In terms of magical girl anime, this is one of the best we have seen in a long time, thanks to the character development, story plot and combination of mecha with magic! Granbelm deals with some meaningful matters in its characters, with everyone from Mangetsu to Anna Fugo, and by the end of this series, we found ourselves emotionally invested in their outcome.
1. The Character Development Improves Over Time
Both Mangetsu and Shingetsu are a bit generic at the beginning of Granbelm, despite Mangetsu’s mysterious nature. However, as we learn more about each young mage in the competition, we start to see how much these battles have changed them. Anna becomes crazed and bitter, wanting only to defeat Shingetsu; Kuon Tsuchimikado’s desperation and doubt in trying to save her sister turns into strength and confidence; Nene Rin learns to be happy with the people she has in her life. Of course, Mangetsu’s revelation and learned appreciation for every detail in her life is the biggest transformation, brought on by the discovery of who she really is.
2. It Deals with Bigger Questions about Life
There are sillier moments that come with being a high school student. Despite this, the girls in Granbelm are dealing with a lot of intense emotions, both in and out of combat. They don’t fully understand at first why they are fighting or what the real implications are for the combatants who lose. However, as the battles reach their climax, each girl is forced to deal with the meaning of their own lives and what they are fighting for.
3. It is a Unique Combination of Mecha and Magical Girl
The mecha and magical girl crossover has been done only rarely. At some points, it can almost be too much to have both elements included, but Granbelm does a great job of making sure the focus of the series is on the stories and characters, rather than the suits they fight in. The style of animation does well with both the mecha suits and magic involved, so it is a perfect fit! Because of this, Granbelm is truly unique among both mecha and magical girl genres.
1. The Story Takes a While to Pick Up
The story of Granbelm is complex and only has 13 episodes to tell it in. Even with this, the beginning of the anime starts out slowly, with more focus on introducing the characters and the setting. This is necessary for viewers to be invested in the show later on, but because it seemed like many people dropped every other magical girl anime early on. It’s unfortunate because Granbelm gets so much better with time, but the early episodes are usually the most important for first impressions.
2. The Ending is Unclear
The final moments of Granbelm are left with a bit of uncertainty. Shingetsu has faded away from the world and all the other combatants from Granbelm are forgotten. Yet we see in the very end hints that Mangetsu might still be alive. We’re not sure what the future holds for Shingetsu (and possibly Mangetsu?), and while we liked the open-endedness of these final moments, a more definite ending would have been nice to have, as we’re not sure there will ever be a second season.
Granbelm was one of the most surprising anime from this season, with plenty of character development and an emotional story. Though the beginning was a bit generic and the ending was open-ended, we enjoyed all the deeper questions about life this anime made us think about.
What did you think of Granbelm? What do you like about this series? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! And stay tuned for more great reviews here at Honey’s Anime!