Granbelm might have a claim to fame as the most cryptic show I’ve ever covered for GGA. That’s not an easy feat when you’re up against things like Boogiepop & Others, but I say it in all seriousness.

Battle of The Gods

Granbelm‘s finale is in part a mirror of its first episode. It is, on this front, very positive. The show’s choreography is ramped up a notch to finally match its battery of special effects blow-for-blow. The result is that the show’s last fight, where Shingetsu finally defeats Suishou, is probably its best-looking.

There’s a lot of detail that could be broken down here, but it’s all classic mecha fight stuff. Some of it directly homaging Z Gundam. There’s a flechette storm of a thousand magical knives, heaps of lasers, teleportation, and of course, a sword that Shingetsu breaks out for the finishing blow. It’s all rock-solid.

Did I mention the lasers?

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The animation team being so small makes praising it for this all the more important. Beyond the actual fight, there’s Shingetsu’s psychological confrontation with Suishou in the depths of the Magioconatus itself. The latter is mirrored by crystal spires inside the structure’s depths, which is a really neat effect.

from "Granbelm" episode 13
Spooky!
Granbelm

Those are the positives. The unfortunate fact of the matter though is that Granbelm‘s finale feels rather wanting. It’s an invocation of an old plot device–most famously recently used in Madoka Magica–where the main character sacrifices herself to reset the world to a purer or better state. The details are largely not important, simply because Granbelm doesn’t really do much new with the idea. 

At the end of it all, Granbelm is still a solid show. It’d be hard not to be with its production values. It is still entertaining. I doubt anyone watches it will regret doing so, but the series remains cryptic to the very end. 

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The show’s final few minutes show a world in which Shingetsu has succeeded in destroying magic. She lingers, a specter, near her newly-reincarnated former friends. She finds herself in her old high school, and a new transfer student transfers in. It’s implied to be Mangetsu, somehow given a new life by her sheer force of will and love for Shingetsu. The ethereal aura that outlines Shingetsu and denotes her as a “ghost” begins to fade, and the series cuts to its final credits. It’s an open-ended finale, to say the least. Ambiguous to its last moments.

The strong point though is that you can interpret it in a plethora of ways. In that regard, at least, Granbelm knows not to overstep its bounds. It does have the feeling of a show that might worm its way to cult classic status given enough years in the rear-view. Perfect? Absolutely not, but a solid series nonetheless, and an admirable graduate of the Class of ’19.

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Jane Y. Auman

Jane-Michelle Yakumo Auman is GGA's self-identified resident weaboo, she's committed to providing unique insight on anime from a trans perspective. Jane has been a fan of anime since high school, her favorite series of all time is "Serial Experiments Lain".
Jane Y. Auman
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