Anime Reviews

Hai to Gensou no Grimgar (Grimgar: Ashes and Illusions)

  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy (MAL)
  • Studios: A-1 Pictures
  • Episodes: 12 – 24min (Completed)
  • Date: 11 January 2016 — 28 March 2016

Summary (MAL)

Fear, survival, instinct. Thrown into a foreign land with nothing but hazy memories and the knowledge of their name, they can feel only these three emotions resonating deep within their souls. A group of strangers is given no other choice than to accept the only paying job in this game-like world—the role of a soldier in the Reserve Army—and eliminate anything that threatens the peace in their new world, Grimgar.

When all of the stronger candidates join together, those left behind must create a party together to survive: Manato, a charismatic leader and priest; Haruhiro, a nervous thief; Yume, a cheerful hunter; Shihoru, a shy mage; Mogzo, a kind warrior; and Ranta, a rowdy dark knight. Despite its resemblance to one, this is no game—there are no redos or respawns; it is kill or be killed. 

It is now up to this ragtag group of unlikely fighters to survive together in a world where life and death are separated only by a fine line. 

My Review

As a lover of adventure and survivalist settings, this anime struck a chord with me. Surprisingly though, it wasn’t the beautiful and fantastical world that the troupe adventured in that hooked me. Neither was it the very real danger of death that the group faced whilst trying to survive. Rather, it was the sweet synergy and romance between the cast as they struggle to deal with their emotions and their reality.

The overall tone of the series was set for the dramatic. It was somewhat depressing but with moments of happiness and hope. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey that Grimgar was able to bring me. Among its kind (Isekai), Grimgar is able to take the trope and bring in a more sentimental feel. We end up caring for, empathising and hoping with all our might that these unique bunch would pull through.

Should I watch Hai to Gensou no Grimgar?

Among the Isekai genre, this anime is able to bring in the sentimental and the dramatic to the otherwise commonly fun and harem filled trope. The survival premise of death is just like Sword Art Online, except it truly engages with our emotions to bring us a feeling that not many anime could bring. I would recommend watching this if you’re a fan of those RPG styled anime but more importantly, if you’re looking to feel sentimental while having some good fun. The romance in Grimgar is also rather pleasing and is enhanced due to the world they live in. I don’t see why anyone shouldn’t be watching this gem of an Isekai.


      1. Fair enough. I do think isekai is such a weird term because the concept of fantasy or sci-fi involving someone going to another world isn’t anything new. One could argue Digimon and Escaflowne could be isekai. Also, I would make a case that Now and Then Here and There was a brutally dark deconstruction of isekai long before it became a term. If that anime came out in the 2010s instead of 1999, people would hail it as the Madoka Magica of that genre and get super popular!


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Anime Hanabi

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