395th G-View: GRANBELM

We have seen several incarnations of the Moepocalypse subgenre over the years from default magical girl to ecchi military. With this show we can add mecha to the mix. Let us find out whether the mix was good or not as we take a look at GRANBELM.

GRANBELM Cover.jpg

Genres: Dark, Drama, Magic, Mecha, Moepocalypse

Themes: Yuri

Number of episodes: 13

G-Rating: 8/10

Plot Summary: Long ago, the world was rich with magic, until the wizards and witches used magic to wage war on one another, bringing the world to the brink of destruction. To prevent this, a group of wizards sealed all the world’s magic into a device known as the “Magiaconatus”. and since then, magic has been largely forgotten and wizards have been slowly disappearing, with just a few magical families existing all over the world.

In the modern age, however, magic is making a resurgence thanks to the Granbelm, a tournament involving magical girls that pilot giant robots called “Armanox” with the winner becoming the “Princeps Mage” and becoming able to wield all the magic inside the Magiaconatus. Mangetsu Kohinata finds her ordinary life forever changed when she discovers she is a mage and earns her own Armanox, the White Lily. As Mangetsu fights in the Granbelm, she meets other girls who fight to have their wishes granted.

Mangetsu Kohinata and her sister

Mangetsu and Kibou.

Put simply the main concept of the show is a battle royale tournament with the expected deeper meaning and hidden agendas. It starts off as intense and cool battles with simple eliminations but as the number of mages lessen so do the stakes grow higher, more is explained about the tournament and soon the veil is lifted revealing that, yes, the show is indeed a Moepocalypse as many viewers expected. This is not a spoiler. The tone of the show and design of the Armanox gives that away pretty early. Having said that let us go over what makes the show really cool one by one.

Anna vs Ernesta again

Chibi mecha battles of awesomeness.

1: The mecha battles. As shown in this screen grab the robots look like cute chibi mechas similar to the ones in the SD Gundam franchise. So long as the viewer enjoys battles between giant robots they are in for many visual spectacles. It may possibly appeal to some non mecha fans too so long as they do not loathe the genre. With each battle they get flashier, more intense, brutal and epic.

2: The drama.

  • The history and secrets of GRANBELM and the hidden magic.
  • The mages, their personal lives, their interactions with friends and other mages, what they are fighting for, how the tournament affects them. On the surface their goals/wishes are straightforward but when viewers see what motivates them to make said wishes it gets emotionally deep yo.
  • The morals and messages. I cannot spoil them here but trust me when I say the above mentioned character drama leads to some familiar life morals but how they are delivered can hit hard emotionally.
Anna cheering on Ernesta

Anna.

3: Anna. Just Anna. By the end of the show most will remember her and look up her seiyu to commend her performance. Oh yes indeed. Should the anime get dubbed I do not see the English or Spanish dubs coming close to this performance but the potential voice actors can try. There is another whose performance is praiseworthy but I will not give away who. The only hint I will give is I dream of an alternate universe where she is my wife.

4: The hidden stuff. Throughout the show there are some cool secrets that reveal more about what could/will/did happen including symbolic items, foreshadowing, animation effects and the end of a GRANBELM battle to name some examples. Most of what happens on the show has an explanation.

5: The presentation. Along with the above mentioned animation effects and flashy mecha battles the rest of the show is very pretty and colorful despite its looming darkness. The soundtrack is quite nice too with some cool orchestral battle tunes to the dramatic melodies. Worry not for there are some cute moments too.

Mangetsu comforting Ernesta

Mangetsu X Shingetsu/Ernesta.

6: Mangetsu X Ernesta. There is other yuri goodness on the show from the precious to the eye opening but the main draw is the growing relationship between the lead duo, the adorable Mangetsu and the beautiful Shingetsu/Ernesta. The girls help each other grow stronger physically and emotionally with many adorable and heartfelt moments. Some hit me right in my kokoro.

Not to spoil the conclusion but it was an interesting end to the story. While I think the journey was better the destination was what I expected. I leave viewers to decide for themselves how they feel upon seeing it.

Overall GRANBELM is one of the hidden gems of 2019 and another pretty good Moepocalypse show. Great mecha battles, interesting take on a dark all-girl battle royale, the cast were all interesting (One did got little screen time compared to the rest but was not useless)  and the main duo were wonderful. Recommended to Moepocalypse/Dark Magical Girl show aficionados and/or viewers interested in a different kind of female centered mecha show.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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39 Responses to 395th G-View: GRANBELM

  1. Jack Cactus says:

    This is a very niche anime and I’m very glad it is. Most mecha and dark mahou shoujo fans turned away because the show is neither cool nor edgy enough to satisfy the common demographic but by doing so, they turned down from what I believe is an extremely powerful and emotional character study.

    While the show does have some of its misgivings (I still consider Kibou a big missed opportunity), those who stuck with it to the end praised it not for its kick ass mecha battles but rather its characters. You really couldn’t hate anyone, not even Suishou because their situations always boil down to something relatable and by the end, you just want to give them all a big ol’ hug and say “things will be alright” (Yes, including you, Suishou)

    I’m glad that I wasn’t either a diehard mecha or mahou shoujo fan or otherwise I would have dropped this anime, and I think I made a very right decision. It’s not common to see me more hyped about another anime than Symphogear in the same season so I can surely say that Granbelm has a VERY special place in my heart.

    What a show, WHAT. A. SHOW (a big FEELS out of 10)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Jack Cactus says:

      Oh yea, Nene is going to prison…….I think (but NeneKibou is still so precious tho)

      Like

    • OG-Man says:

      I have a preference for neither genre so enjoying it was not difficult.

      Of course it isn’t as easy for people who made a set of guidelines on how a show in either genre should be to be good.

      It’s a hidden gem that won’t appeal to everyone but that has always been the case in Moepocalypse shows. ALWAYS.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Gurrenprime says:

    I really liked this series for most of its run, but I was truthfully a little disappointed by the ending, for a couple of reasons:
    1, I think this show’s strongest aspect was its character dynamics, while its weakest was its lore and magic system, and the final battle focused on two characters who didn’t have much development between them, and who’s biggest connection was tied directly to the show’s lore.
    2, the ending was pretty predictable I feel, without really much innovation on their part, which is disappointing since the rest of the series to that point felt really fresh coming from the perspective of a fan of both genres.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. cirno9fan says:

    To avoid being too much a downer…..I did not enjoy it. There were some good episodes, but few, so very few. Not sure what others see in it, but am glad they could find something to really enjoy about it. So far, only Mahou Shoujo Site/Madoka remain as “moeapocalypse” shows that I could truly enjoy (I might be forgetting one…)

    Like

  4. mikubikki says:

    also the flower forget-me-not at the end of episode 12, they are given or used to decorate gifts with the hope the recipient will not forget the giver and It also symbolizes faithful love and memories :3

    i am glad i picked this anime up, i absolutely love the characters development*some given lots of screen time and some get less, the mecha battle too, even tho i hope the mecha can be a bit underwhelming but nonetheless it is worth to take a look. might not for everyone taste but definitely worth it. at least mangetsu and shingetsu are together in another way ToT. bless those 2 cinnamon rolls

    Liked by 3 people

  5. kitsu260 says:

    Oh, the ending was bittersweet but actually appropriate since their take the sacrifice as serious and irreversible, Shingetsu been the one who most since she even barely exist now but also the happy ending to the other character come with the high prize that their don´t what their lose.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Little Viktoria says:

    Ernesta is my sex bomb for this season ^^ So pretty and alluring.

    (spoilers for ending)

    Not my favourite kind of ending, but what can you do. It wasn’t a bad one by any means. Ernesta is happy, which is the most important thing. Anna is happy (sounds almost like one of my favourite shows ^^). Suishou looked playful and relaxed. I’m sure that gorgeous Shisui was running to make it to a lovely sister-yuri date with Kuon (my second favourite).

    I choose to believe that it was Mangetsu in all her beauty who stepped back into Ernesta’s world, this time with a free body to match her free soul.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OG-Man says:

      Let’s hope others avoid the comments section till after they finished the show.
      You know the mages not beaten by Mangetsu are gone. That or maybe they all survived in your headcannon or they showed an extra scene in the Crunchyroll subs.

      99% sure the girl in front is Mangetsu reborn.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Yuri and Me says:

    They don’t show her face but my brain and heart automatically assume the transfer student was Mangetsu. Shingetsu got more colorful as she came in. What impressed me the most is animation. It was top-notch animation. Fighting scene gave me goosebump every time. Aoi Yuuki really outdone herself as the villain goddess Suishou(Thank for the “kiss” scene by the way)…

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Teagan Blayn Litcott says:

    I’ve left it off after episode 2 tbh… The looming darkness that promised tons of drama turned me off, and apparently I’m also not a fan of mechas or giant robots either. I’m really grateful for this review and the comments too, because I’m one of those weirdos who not only tolerate spoilers, but actually actively seek them out to see if anything (very) bad happens to the characters, so I can prepare for it. I’ve burned out enough times as is.

    I might binge it at some point though just for the graphics, but in general I’ll stick to more lighthearted shows personally.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Somebody says:

    While it was definitely Mangetsu at the end there I do wonder if she could see Shingetsu. I like to think yes sorta how Shingetsu was the only one that could see her when she dissapeared. Overall was a great show but like with most the ending was meh. At least since it’s open ended my head canon of Mangetsu and Shingetsu together lives on.

    Like

  10. Nick says:

    Well show in the books, what a ride this one was.

    Right off the start I do need to mention that I’m not a huge mech fan anymore (I think it dates back to Aldnoah.Zero, but that’s a conversation for another time) so while I did like Granbelm, I didn’t love it. The mechs still were a bit of a turn off for me overall but I stuck with it as I liked the characters and the story. Another moepocalypse show, which I don’t mind at all, so I had a pretty good idea of what to expect along the way. I think my personal favorite part about the show as a whole is the characters and their dynamics. Everyone had a reason to fight and they were decent reasons too not just being bad because they want to be bad or something like that, so that’s always good.

    Other things I liked about it are definitely the animation and voice acting. The battles were excellent, the later ones more so, but overall I enjoyed watching the big battles that were in nearly every ep. The ones near the end were really good, animation wise they were a treat to watch. The voice acting too was excellent. Huge praise to Aoi Yuuki, she stole the show in those final eps. Just wow.

    SPOILERS AHEAD!

    The ending I will admit was a predictable, I had a feeling things would end up in an open way, for the viewer to decide how it all played out. I’m guessing it was a reborn Mangetsu who walked into the room at the ending, but as for if she could see Shingetsu, I don’t know, maybe? I guess it’s up to how happy an ending you want to make it for yourself. I don’t mind a bittersweet ending honestly, sometimes that’s just how things all play out. Also it was nice to see Shisui there at the end too, I liked her.

    But yeah, all in all it was a good show, it had a good amount to like about it, but the mechs were turned me off at times. Still happy I stuck with it to the end, it was a ride worth being on. And sorry if I missed some of your reviews, I’ll make a better effort next season to stop by here more often.

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Right on dood. It’s a nice mix of dark magical girl and mecha action that gave even viewers who weren’t mecha fans something to enjoy. At least the viewers willing to see it through to the end.

      The ending was to be expected but the best one could hope for given the circumstances.

      Nene-Nee X Kibou live on and that makes me as happy as Ernesta X new girl.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Elfen Lied says:

    Probably an unpopular opinion, but… I like to believe that the transfer student is a new girl who shares traits from both Mangetsu and Anna. To get both her GF and her BF back at once would be the best possible outcome for Shingetsu.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. LuzeP says:

    The ending is kinda predictable, yes but also understandable. It’s still Moepocalypse show, not guaranteed happy ending. A bittersweet ending is good enough. I love Ernesta and Mangetsu interactions a lot. I’m pretty sure the new student is Mangetsu. Based on the reaction of Ernesta, she’s smiling, not that surprised. She knows maybe Magiaconatus gave her the last present. The only thing Ernesta wants when she’s lonely is Mangetsu. And the story is about them. Not anybody else. Overall I gave 9/10, I really liked this show. Great cast, some great moments, kiss! I loved the chibi mechas battles too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      That’s how it goes with these shows. The odds of a happy ending are slim but from my experience viewers will get upset regardless of whether the girls who died stay dead or they all come back. Kind of lose-lose but again that’s what’s expected watching Moepocalypse shows.

      Precisely how I saw the ending. Quite simple when you think about it.

      Like

  13. Mauron says:

    Ernesta was great, and I knew early on she’d likely be my best girl, and I was right.

    Shiusho was tempting, but only had a chance of taking the top spot if less was at stake. Maybe in the idol spinoff.

    I would love more of Nene-nee’s imoutos. Maybe in the idol spinoff?

    Drat, now I want an idol spinoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Platon says:

    The end was expected to end the way it ended. Even the credit scene crossed my mind that this can happen.

    Great show.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. rob says:

    Where is my romance! THE TWO PRINCEPTS with a title like that I was expecting some yuri!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. The Otaku Judge says:

    This series skipped me by, but I might give it a watch now that the summer shows I was following have come to an end. Madoka with mechs sounds like something I would enjoy.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. chikorita157 says:

    While I am not normally interested in mecha anime, I have to admit that genre combined with magical girl made for an interesting story. While it’s not perfect, I liked how Ernesta and Mangetsu pairing developed.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. yurimylove says:

    umm… I still haven’t figured out who the second Princeps Mage is ^_^;

    Like

  19. K says:

    The way things ended was expected but with the way things played out, I think it was the logical outcome. The journey to that conclusion was a wild ride, though. I had a great time tuning in every week watching things play out. I found the magic/mecha blend interesting to say the least, which makes me wonder if the mechs here could fit in a Super Robot Wars game.

    Mangestu and Ernesta aside, Nene was best girl, to me. I liked her tenacity and how she remained involved with things even after losing.

    Something about Suishou; Looks like she was a doll, just like Mangetsu, which got me thinking, her calling Mangetsu a doll and telling her she had nothing, how much of that was her projecting her insecurities about being a construct onto Mangetsu, who was the same as her but not quite as bitter about it. I also see that as a way for her to cope with the fact that Magiaconatus would never have chosen her, kinda.

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Having ARMANOX appear in an SRW game would give them more validity with mecha fans.

      Nene-Nee was really cool.

      I imagine many fans who noticed Suishou’s hand came to a similar conclusion about her character.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Pingback: OG’s Top 10 Favorite Anime 2019 | The Yuri Empire

  21. Pingback: OG’s Top 10 Favorite Anime of 2019 | The Yuri Empire

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