GRANBLUE FANTASY: The Animation is a thirteen episode anime adaptation of the role-playing video game developed by Cygames for Android and iOS platforms. The anime was directed by Yuuki Itoh at A-1 Pictures, whilst character designs were by Toshifumi Akai. The music was produced by Nobuo Uematsu, Tsutomu Narita and Yasunori Nishiki.
GRANBLUE FANTASY: The Animation aired as part of the spring 2017 season of anime, and is available in the UK on both Crunchyroll and Daisuki.GRANBLUE FANTASY: The Animation focuses on a boy named Gran and a speaking winged lizard named Vyrn. They encounter a blue-haired girl named Lyria who is fleeing from the Erste Empire. To escape from the Empire, Gran accompanies Lyria on her journey and they head out into the vast skies.
Gran’s goal becomes to find the legendary Island of the Astrals, where his father should be waiting for him.
Immediately, anyone who’s ever played an RPG should be in familiar territory here. That is effectively what GRANBLUE FANTASY: The Animation is; a JRPG, just without all of the grinding. The whole floating islands thing gives it quite a Skies of Arcadia vibe.
The story runs for 12 episodes. The 13th episode is an “extra” one, which is pretty much just a beach episode with Gran replaced with the female protagonist of the game, Djeeta.
After introducing Gran, Vyrn, Lyria and Katalina, and they depart from Gran’s home, the story pretty much falls into a formula. Gran’s group travel to an island, they find out about some trouble going down, they lend their aid, and then they depart after receiving a plot coupon. Rinse and repeat, and that’s pretty much the entirety of GRANBLUE FANTASY: The Animation summed up.
Of course, being an RPG, more characters join Gran’s party as they continue travelling forth, and there’s a few recurring characters who always seem to show up wherever Gran and company are going before they can get there.
Gran is pretty much your bog-standard RPG hero, and Lyria fills the role of girl with mysterious power who may or may not be the hero’s love interest.
GRANBLUE FANTASY: The Animation is rather inoffensive. It’s not a spectacular series by any means, but it’s not a bad one, either. It lacks something to make it stand out amongst other fantasy series, though it may hold greater appeal for those who have actually played the original game.
There are moments when the anime does break from its formula, and those happen to a couple of the better episodes.
Episode 8 was pretty much just a sidequest – the only impact it had on the overall plot was Gran acquiring a new sword. Regardless, it was a fun episode, with Mary & Karva bringing along some pretty great entertainment.
The aforementioned “extra” episode, episode 13, veers straight into cute girls doing cute things beach episode territory, though Djeeta also gets to show off that she’s a far more capable protagonist than Gran.
Those are only a couple of episodes out of thirteen though. The entire series is average, maybe slightly above at best. However, at least one element of the anime is very noteworthy: the soundtrack. One of the people responsible for the music is none other than Nobuo Uematsu of Final Fantasy fame. Together with Tsutomu Narita and Yasunori Nishiki, he’s created some brilliant compositions that go with the whole fantasy theme perfectly – whether its a town theme or something appropriate for flying on an airship, all the right notes are hit.
Of course, the songs may originally come from the game, but I haven’t really played it to know for sure whether that is the case or not. Doesn’t detract from the quality of the soundtrack either way, though.
As you can see from the screenshots above, GRANBLUE FANTASY: The Animation has its own distinctive visual style. That’s another factor that helps it stand out somewhat from other fantasy series, though how much it helps it is up for debate.
Apparently the game has plenty more to offer, so perhaps the best way to experience Granblue Fantasy is to play it. The official Granblue Fantasy website has methods for obtaining the game and start playing it, so if may be worth checking that out if you’re interested.
GRANBLUE FANTASY: The Animation is pretty much just an advert for the game itself. This is most egregious in the episode 12, where loads of the characters just happen to show up to help out during a crisis. The same thing can be said of the extra episode as well, though a quick recap at the beginning suggests that Djeeta actually recruited them.
A pretty generic fantasy adventure that does have its moments. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but there isn’t really any major flaws to it, either. May hold greater appeal for those who have played the original game.