Posted by SuperMario on 29 June 2017 with categories: Anime Reviews, Reviews by SuperMario

I remember, back in our first impression of this series, Aidan remarked that Grimoire of Zero isn’t your typical LN-adaptations, but he didn’t know what to make of it. To be honest, after watching an entire cour, I’m still unsure what to make of it myself. This show has some serious flaws, yet despite all that I never find myself losing interest in it. I guess the biggest strength this show offers is the rock-solid chemistry between Zero and the beastfallen Mercenary, and in the end, I do get out of it wanting more of these two’s adventures. They also put some serious thought into its sorcery world building and overall while Grimoire of Zero can never raise above exceptional level, I have quite a good time watching it.

One of the first head-scratching factor about this anime is the decision to adapt the whole full season for a single first volume. I watched a fair bit amount of Light Novels-adaptations anime so I know that usually it’d take between 6 to 8 episodes for one volume AT MOST. Here they intentionally stretch out to 12 episodes, meaning some of the time the plot has too stretch a bit thin; and for my money with all the developments, they could condense the story into 6 episodes – half of its actual length. For example, Grimoire of Zero took quite a bit of time until we get to meet Thirteen (episode 5), then it took 3 whole episodes for Mercenary and Zero to finally reconcile. On the other hand, stretching the story enhances the slice-of-life feel in the first few episodes, and making the show much more room to breathe. That decision of adapting only first volume, to sum it up, has a fair share of good and bad points, but that was one of the reason that made Grimoire of Zero different from its LN fantasy offerings.

Second factor that baffled me is the show’s tones. I don’t know how to explain this clearly, but I always feel this series is mono-tone. When they try to mix with other tones, it’s embarrassing. They failed miserably at comedy because of that mono-tone. For the most glorious example, the sequence where Zero and Thirteen stopped in the middle of the fight for lunch break was so off-putting it was actually (unintentionally) hilarious. Or when it wants to tackle seriously about the dark, cynical side of human (part when the girl using the Mercenary to protect herself from other beastfallens) or the true flesh-lust nature of beastfallen, it didn’t leave much of an impact. Other times, when the show tries to amp up the romance (“what is Kisssss?), it falls completely flat. Yet, despite all that, the tone the show usually goes for – not quite slow, methodically but not action-packed either – is always strong and engaging that it still holds my interest till the end. Weird, since I can’t still put my finger on what exactly the show’s general tone is.

Then the characters, which are decidedly a mixed bag all around. All the main players are developed smoothly throughout its run. Apart from the amazing chemistry between Mercenary and Zero (which for me light up the screen every single time), Albus, Holdem, Thirteen and most notably Sorena all have their time to shine. Other characters, unfortunately, are quite plain and sometimes quite offensive (I’m looking at the guy who has a fetish for Zero’s clothes) and this is unforgivable considered that the show has so much time to develop those characters if they really want to, but they just didn’t give a damn. There are inconsistencies at the end for example: the Sorcerers of Zero attack the kingdom to kill Thirteen, and the guards fight back. After Zero negates the use of magic, you expect them shaking hands in peace immediately? *you might say I’m a dreamer – but I’m not the only one lala*. Albus and Holdem are a good addition to this arc, strong enough for me to care about them, but just about enough so that when they gone I don’t miss them much. This, after all, is the adventures of Zero and the Mercenary.

The sorcerer and witch backdrop is an intrigued world building itself and at first I enjoyed seeing there are many races from completely different backgrounds that live independently in this world. Not sure if this is just this arc, but later on the show goes heavily on those sorcerer’s themes which detail the division amongst the witch’s world: the Sorcerers of Zero, the Rouge witch and Sorcerer of the State; it doesn’t bring much impact. Moreover, I do feel that the final reveal revolving Thirteen’s role is a bit of a convenient one, and despite the whole witches’ war just don’t do much to me, I still find it provides some great details regarding its world settings. So, great details, but shaky development.

In term of production, this show is slightly above-average. There nothing exceptional to speak of, although the animation quality is rather consistent. In the end, one thing for sure that Grimoire of Zero never fails to be intriguing, whether or not it is intentional is up for debate. Despite its uneven approach, I’m still looking forward for its sequel, as the main catch of the series, the chemistry between Zero and Mercenary, will become more prominent in later volumes. And honestly that is more than enough to get me on board.

4 Responses

  1. Avatar Konstantinos Travlos says:

    Probably should give this a chance.

  2. Avatar Shuf says:

    Grimoire was the biggest disappointment for me this season. I just wish it were about something like Spice and Wolf or about intelligent commentary on racism/discrimination that actually applies to the real world. Too bad we can’t just erase social stigmas (“erase magic”) in the real world. But in the end, it seemed like nothing much happened.

  3. Avatar movies4life says:

    I have to disagree with you SuperMario and Shuf, it is one of the best Animes on the market.
    I mean if you see them all what is out , is this Anime outstanding. It is about building a relationship trust in this world of war.
    And somehow no one is really evil but still have there own dark past.
    I await for season 2 soon. Where the real evils show up. ( demons).

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