So I guess we’re doing that episodic blogging thing again. Hopefully it works out better this time around. Granbelm is uh, hard to pin down actually. So this could end up being another space fishing level debacle. Or maybe it ‘ll turn out great, only time will tell.
If the first episode of Granbelm was good at anything it was setting a tone. The whole episode has this frenetic pacing to it that does a good job of mirroring protagonist Mangetsu’s confusion about the situation she’s found herself in. Dropping straight into the middle of an ongoing battle between a bunch of giant robots she spends the majority of the episode running around trying to figure out what’s going on while avoiding getting killed by the aforementioned giant robots. The fighting itself matches the tone by being in and of itself ridiculously energetic, at times it can be hard to follow with all the beamspam and teleporting going on, but this actually works in the show’s favour, once again feeding back into the confusion of the whole thing.
Mangetsu herself is a likeable enough protagonist, while there’s not been much time to establish her beyond some fairly standard “ordinary protagonist” character beats her disorientation about what’s going on manages to do a surprisingly good job of building on that already. Her reactions to the mid episode exposition break are pretty fun as well, and she contrasts well with the more serious Shingetsu. The rest of the cast introduced so far mostly just did a lot of yelling so it’s difficult to get a solid read on anyone just yet. Shingetsu’s extremely angry opponent was fun though.
The robots themselves definitely get the biggest focus though, with the big setpiece battle between four of them continuing on and off throughout the episode. The choice to have all the “Armanox” designs be superdeformed in contrast with the more standard human character designs is an odd one but it sort of works, the designs are chunky and pleasing to look at even if the elaborate magical circles and such can look a little out of place next to the chibi mechs creating them.
Did I mention magic? There’s magic. The show’s premise frames the girls more like traditional magical girls than more standard mech pilots, Mangetsu’s initial summoning of her Armanox definitely feels more than a little transformation sequence-y. It’s more of a visual trapings thing than anything else so far but it’s definitely a dynamic I can get behind.
Overall it’s very hard to judge Granbelm from its first episode. It’s difficult to draw any coherent themes from what we’ve had so far but it definitely had some cool robots.