GRANBLUE FANTASY The Animation Review – Journey Above The Sky

Journey Above The Sky

  • Episodes : 13
  • Genre : Fantasy, Adventure
  • Airing Date : Apr. 2017 – Jun. 2017
  • Studios : A-1 Pictures

Contains Spoilers


Granblue Fantasy The Animation Introduction and Story (Spoilers)

In a vast world of islands scattered across the sky, Gran and his friend Vyrn live a relatively peaceful life on the island Zinkenstill. Gran dreams of being able to follow his father across the sky, to a place called Estalucia, Island of Stars. One day, Gran and Vyrn stumble across a mysterious girl who fell from the sky. The girl says her name is Lyria, and she is fleeing from the Erste Empire, a military power trying to take over the various islands for their own. Gran agrees to help Lyria get free, along with her friend Katalina, but just as they try to escape, the Erste Empire finds them. Gran valiantly tries to defend the group, but is quickly defeated. When all hope seems lost, Lyria’s power awakens, giving Gran part of her life and summoning a Primal Beast to defeat the Erste Empire’s soldiers!

With Lyria’s gift of life to Gran comes a price – they can never stray too far from one another. In the lull after the fight, the group decides to travel together, since Lyria and Katalina have to keep running from the Erste Empire and Gran wants to travel to Estalucia anyway. Thus the friends begin their journey across the expanse of sky. As they journey, they battle the Erste Empire, make new friends that join their crew, and awaken Primal Beasts from different islands to help them along the way. Lyria grows into her power, learning that she can rely on her friends rather than fearing that she will hurt them. She wants to be able to help her friends rather than hinder them, using her power for their benefit. The group gathered around Lyria and Gran grows ever larger, with many powerful and loveable allies joining them on their long journey to Estalucia.

What We Liked About Granblue Fantasy The Animation

Granblue Fantasy is actually a popular mobile game, one that this anime is based off of. For those who have played the mobile game, Granblue Fantasy is an RPG with a great animation style, tons of playable characters and a storyline built to keep you playing. Granblue Fantasy The Animation takes all the good elements of the original mobile game and puts them on display for people who may not have had a chance to play it before. This is actually a good marketing tactic – it certainly made us want to try out the mobile game! But Granblue Fantasy The Animation is good in its own right as well.

Many of the characters from the mobile RPG get a chance to have further exploration and development, especially ones like Katalina, Rackam, Io and even Lyria herself. In particular, Lyria takes an interesting turn in character later on in the anime, when she takes a deeper look at herself and her fear of harming her friends. Lyria comes out of the situation stronger, ready to help her friends by embracing her gift more fully. And we get to see many other characters make an appearance as well, with some of the beginning episodes being a direct correlation to scenes from the mobile RPG. This is particularly true of the tutorials, which link directly to the first two episodes of the anime. While Granblue Fantasy The Animation can have some cliché moments, these compelling scenes keep it interesting enough to continue watching.

We also like that the audience who loves the mobile game can watch some of their favorite characters be more vibrant. Granblue Fantasy The Animation allows the spots where the mobile RPG might have left gaps to be filled in a bit. And if you’re one of those people who have never heard of Granblue Fantasy before, this anime is a great introduction to the world! The extra 13th episode even gives you a taste of what the game might be like through another person’s playing style, by replacing Gran with Djeeta, the female character from the game. Djeeta is a player who does more of the side quests and collects crew members to help, while Gran seems like a person who just does the main quests. Djeeta’s episode may not have been the best way to end the season, but hopefully that means that Granblue Fantasy The Animation will be getting a second season!

Discussion Time

After watching Granblue Fantasy The Animation, the biggest takeaway for us was the animation itself. We get to see some epic fights, emotional scenes, and even just average day-to-day moments, all in a very unique, fluid style that is beautiful to behold. It is done in classic fantasy manner, giving you the feeling of an epic adventure even more than the story does. That being said, the story can be cliché at times. It uses many of the classic fantasy tropes seen in RPGs, such as the “damsel in distress fleeing from an evil empire”.

One of the most fun parts of Granblue Fantasy is the number of character possibilities. In the mobile game, you get to choose your team and change them depending on what skills you need for a quest, as well as which characters you like best. Granblue Fantasy The Animation reflects this in the introduction of many of the most important members of the crew, like Katalina, Rackam and Io. There was a later episode that tried to introduce many of the other characters available for play – however, that episode felt a bit forced, flashing a bunch of characters at you with little pretext. That being said, that episode also allowed more people to get to see their favorite characters animated. Granblue Fantasy The Animation makes up for its cliché storyline and overwhelming number of characters in a gorgeous style of animation and a great reflection of a classic fantasy RPG. The anime turned out beautiful, even if the plot was somewhat forgettable.

Why You Should Watch Granblue Fantasy The Animation

Granblue Fantasy The Animation provides a good mix of what newcomers and those who played the mobile game will like. Even though some of the story can be predictable, there were a few charming and interesting scenes. The scenes with the Primal Beasts, in particular, were compelling. And each fight sequence was animated well, with the characters having fluid movement that made sense to the combat. Too often, fight scenes in anime can be cut off or pay less attention to the background characters. That is certainly not the case in Granblue Fantasy The Animation! Every scene is gorgeous, done in a classic fantasy style.

This anime shows how to convert the ideas from a mobile game and turn it into a great series. Granted, some of the episodes were directly taken from the cut scenes in the game itself. But that just speaks to how excellent the mobile RPG is – it is able to translate to another medium and still be interesting. If you’re a fan of Granblue Fantasy, the anime is definitely something to check out. It provides more to the game’s storyline, and lets you see your favorite characters developed a bit. With so many characters to pick from, obviously not all of them could be included. However, a good portion of them are shown briefly, and given some sort of introduction.

Gran and Lyria’s relationship is explored in more depth in Granblue Fantasy The Animation. A few of the other characters grow in their relationships with one another as well – but Lyria and Gran are the main focus of the growth here. Lyria is one of the more well-developed characters of the show, surpassing Gran because of her revelations with her gift just before the season finale. Gran is also a likeable character, although the extra episode with Djeeta makes us wish that she had been given more episodes! Their journey to Estalucia is a great adventure, one that could be better developed if it had more time. Nonetheless, Granblue Fantasy The Animation does a grand job of showing off what it can in the little time it is allowed.

1. Primal Beasts’ Awakening

One of the most interesting parts of Granblue Fantasy The Animation was when the Primal Beasts were each introduced. The Primal Beasts are protectors of the islands, each representing something different. For example, on the first island of Zinkenstill, the dragon Bahamut lies dormant, representing both creation and destruction. Lyria (and later Gran) are able to gain power from each of these Primal Beasts, as well as learn where the party should travel to next. They are a crucial part of the main story quest in the game, and their introduction into the anime was a welcome sight. Not only did they provide plot points to keep the characters moving along, but the Primal Beasts also usually involved some sort of epic fight. One of our favorites was Leviathan, an immense water serpent that resides on the island of Auguste.

2. Animation Style

Granblue Fantasy The Animation follows the same animation style of its mobile RPG counterpart, and it translates over quite well. Each island is beautifully unique, providing a vivid atmosphere for the audience. The detail put into the show is impressive! The characters, even background ones, are paid careful attention – and action sequences are made all the better for it. It makes us feel like we could authentically be a part of that world!

3. Characters – Old and New Favorites

With Granblue Fantasy, much of the game involves picking which characters you want to use and fight with. In Granblue Fantasy The Animation, some of that element can be seen. The more vital characters are given larger amounts of screen time – including characters like Katalina, Rackam, Io, Eugen and Rosetta. However, as we saw in the extra 13th episode, the player’s choices are taken into account as to how the game is played. And that includes which characters to use! We are given so many characters in the season finale we almost don’t know what to do with all of them. But this allows both mobile gamers, who get to see some of their favorite characters, as well as newcomers who are learning about the characters firsthand, to be happy.

Why You Should Skip Granblue Fantasy The Animation

Despite the number of good things about Granblue Fantasy The Animation, it definitely has its flaws. We do like the character development of Lyria and a couple of the other members of the crew, but some of the characters don’t seem to add much of anything in the way of character growth. The plot is also quite predictable, following a lot of the classic fantasy tropes. That leads to a few episodes with boring scenes. And boring scenes make these episodes drag on, which can turn many viewers off.

1. You Didn’t Like The Mobile Game

For some, this style of RPG mobile game is not compelling. Because this entire anime is based off of the mobile game, if you didn’t like the game you won’t like the anime. Direct scenes and plot lines are taken from the beginning portions of the game, especially in the tutorial sections (where much of the dialogue is cut directly from the game)! And the entire premise of Granblue Fantasy The Animation is built around the style of mobile game it is based on. The last few episodes clearly show that more than anything else. The merging of these two worlds is beautiful to some – not so for others. If you are among the crowd who dislikes the mobile game, your time might be better spent watching something else.

2. Cliché Fantasy Plot

If you’re at all a fan of fantasy anime, you know that this anime follows the most typical story out there. Boy finds mysterious girls running from an evil empire, helps her escape, they go on a journey, start to develop feelings for one another, and so on… This isn’t necessarily a terrible thing. Sometimes the typical fantasy plot is just the sort of plot you need. However, it can get rather boring when you can easily predict what will happen next in an anime. When there are no surprises, some of the thrill is taken out of watching.

3. Poor Protagonist Development

Needless to say, Gran isn’t the most interesting main character. He starts out well enough, with an interesting backstory to push him into his initial quest. And as his relationship with Lyria becomes more apparent to the both of them, he grows just a small bit. However, he remains the typical hot headed protagonist, rushing into fights, constantly needing help. We understand that he’s supposed to represent a specific type of player in Granblue Fantasy, but honestly, Djeeta’s character from the last episode would have been much more interesting to watch.


Honey’s Closing Statement

All in all, we thought Granblue Fantasy The Animation was a beautiful series, worth the watch. Now it’s your turn! What did you think of Granblue Fantasy The Animation? Do you disagree with anything? Did we leave out any important points in our review? Let us know your thoughts on Granblue Fantasy in the comments!

Meghan May Dellinger

Writer

Author: Meghan May Dellinger

Konnichiwa! I'm a writer/daydreamer who gets a little lost along the path of life from time to time. I love watching anime and playing all kinds of video games - everything from RPGs to first-person shooters. I hope to be an author someday, but until then, I'll share my words with the world any way I can! I love making new friends, so don't be afraid to leave a comment!

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