I've started watching Grimgar: Ash& Illusions after seeing some of it's animation and a description of the show.
The rub is that there are a bunch of young teenagers who wake up with near-total amnesia in a fantasy rpg-ish world and are told that they need to become part of the volunteer soldiers to go and fight goblins. It sounds basic at the outset, but they make a few things abundantly clear from the get-go:
- The kids need to become murder-hobos or they'll have no way to get income, suffering the problems that come with it like abject poverty and starvation.
- Being a murder-hobo is no joke because nothing that is alive wants to die, even goblins.
- If you die, you die. There's no coming back from death, except as some horrible undead abomination.
The show is well animated, with particular attention paid to fight scenes in which people who have no idea what they're doing try to learn how to wield weapons properly. It also has a great deal of watercolor-tones and light colors, which tend to contrast a very sober message. Visually the show has some really beautiful moments. Music seems well-selected too, and while no song has stuck with me as particularly memorable, it's been appropriate.
There is a constant sense of foreboding, and the show really gets rolling about four episodes in. The focus is heavily on character development and relationships, despite the setting of the show being the tropey RPG "go kill ten rats" fantasy town.
I want to draw a comparison to Madoka, in that it's turning a well-known genre on it's ear, but it's a bit early in the show to say that. Thus far, I want to watch more. The show has a slow-burn and deliberate pacing, with a slice-of-life-as-a-murder-hobo feel. Only it is more realistic (if it can be called that) and deals with some of the gritty issues that get glossed over in a lot of fantasy stories.
A good example in one of the first episodes is when one of the characters hits with his sword for the first time. He stops and has a panicked distressing moment when he realizes he can feel the sword bite into the bone of the goblin. The voice acting is good as well, steadily improving over the four episodes I've been watching.
I recommend the show so far, and I'd be interested in what you guys have to say about it.