Lack of Character in Grimgar

This post contains spoilers for Grimgar up to episode 6.

Hai to Gensou no Grimgar is one of the most popular anime this season, and it’s not hard to see why. Featuring the always popular, “Trapped in an MMO/MMO-like world” setting, it’s managed to tell a story completely different than shows like Sword Art Online and Log Horizon, featuring characters who are not only far from being amazingly skilled, but are in fact bad at what they do.

However one place that it’s been praised is in the emotional department, and while I can agree that the general story-line thus far has been decent, I feel no emotional attachment to the show. The main cause for this is one that significantly brings down the show, that being the lack of character in the show.

The show has had four major male characters so far, and I’d be hard-pressed to describe any of their personalities beyond Ranta. While I’ve seen it be said that it’s realistic that Haruhiro, Moguzo, and Manato don’t particularly stand out, considering they were likely ordinary people in our world, this doesn’t excuse the lack of any personality from them. Ranta’s personality is off-putting and annoying, but it exists, making him a better character despite my hatred of him.

The three girls have personalities, but even then they are only surface-level. No serious development has happened yet, nor could you describe any of the characters beyond superficial characteristics. Static characters can be fine, but most of these characters aren’t just static, but flat.

A total lack of character is almost always a detraction, but in the case of the story that’s been told so far, it is even more harmful. Every emotional moment so far has been far worse than it would have been if the characters were interesting. Some of these moments, such as Manato’s death can be justified for artistic reasons, such as the characters also not knowing much about Manato. However the reactions by the other characters to Manato’s death, which was greatly praised, did nothing for me, and the reason fro this is that I simply didn’t care about the characters. Because we know so little about them, I could muster the effort to care how they felt after his death.

The general execution of the main plot is pretty good, but the lack of character destroys destroys all the positives in the show to me, bringing it down to an average score. Fortunately character can improve in the future, and I hope it does so that this show can fully deliver, since it’s already doing many things well.

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