Image source: アニプレックス on YouTube

The characters of Granblue Fantasy The Animation have so far encountered and defeated hydra, Tiamat, and Colossus. If only it were that simple in the game.

[Note: This article contains spoilers for Granblue Fantasy The Animation.]

Granblue Fantasy The Animation is based on the smartphone game, Granblue Fantasy. A free-to-play game with in-game purchases, profits from the game’s highly lucrative—and at times controversial—random character/summon draw system have allowed for a long and absolutely gorgeously animated series.

The plot of the anime follows the main story of the game: In a world of floating islands, a young protagonist, Gran, encounters a mysterious girl, Lyria, who is said to be of a long-lost race that is endowed with powerful magical abilities; together, they go on an adventure to find a lost land at the edge of the world. Plus, there’s summoning of giant mythical creatures. It’s all very base template RPG fare, but that’s also one of its biggest appeals in the current climate of fantasy stories that seem to require some kind of twist as their big draw.

Granblue Fantasy Is Old-school Fantasy Anime Reborn

As mentioned above, the art style and animation is also top-notch, rendering the action sequences in smooth flashing and dramatic motion that you’d normally expect to see in an anime opening, not the main body of an episode. Compared to the game where the battle system is a side-view, command-based affair with sprites, this is a massive upgrade in overall aesthetic.

It’s not just the obvious look, but the apparently durability of the enemies that has taken creative license in the anime. While Gran’s take-down of Hydra by summoning Bahamut (to be specific, it’s Proto-Bahamut) in the anime is the same as the events of the video game, the encounters with Tiamat and Colossus are… a little different, to put it lightly.

Image source: TVアニメ「グランブルーファンタジー」 on Twitter

In the anime, Tiamat is taken down in an epically action-packed sequence where Gran, blessed with Lyria’s magic, leaps off of a flying airship, dodging magical blasts and floating rocks to land on Tiamat, run across her giant body, and smash a crystal that is controlling her. It’s a battle that is essentially started and ended in a single blow. I wish it had been that simple in the game.

In the game, combat with Tiamat is essentially the same as in every combat; you have four characters in your main party and two in back-up in case any of the main party, you know, gets killed. It’s your standard RPG boss fight which, if memory serves—it was a long time ago—I performed rather poorly at. Tiamat’s elemental alignment is wind. In the game, that means that characters, skills, and summons with a fire alignment get bonuses to damage and defense against her. At the time, I didn’t have very many fire element characters, and those I did have were very low level. There was no slash, smash, win. It was a long slog of trying to survive while my little sprite characters got thir asses handed to them. The fact that my main character went down rather early, preventing me from using summons, was also quite painful.

Image source: TVアニメ「グランブルーファンタジー」 on Twitter

I fared better against Colossus, namely because my water element characters had been properly leveled and I had more than one of them. Still, there was no dramatic moment with Lyria powering up Io’s ice magic for a giant piercing spear that impales Colossus. It was more of waiting for my support summon Leviathan to recharge—because lord knows I was never able to get the damn thing myself.

Obviously the anime is made to have the battles be more cinematic and resolved more dramatically than like in the game. Still, as pretty and entertaining as it is, I can’t help but watch the battle scenes and think to myself, “Man, I wish the boss fights were resolved that quickly in the game, too.”

Granblue Fantasy The Animation can be viewed with English subtitles on Daisuki, Crunchyroll, Amazon Anime Strike, and AnimeLab in Australia. The smartphone game, Granblue Fantasy is available for iOS and Android platforms as well as Google Chrome App in Japanese and English.

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