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Fuez
Fuez rated it
Grimgal of Ashes and Illusion
March 11, 2017
Status: v4
First of all, I would like to address some issue on lack of follower of Grimgar. I think that many people fail to realize that Grimgar is incorporated with slice of life genre. Because of this, they find it boring. After all, slice of life centralized story are slow paced and relaxed (I’m a fan of slice of life btw). Maybe mainly due to this, Grimgar is underrated and overlooked.

After first watching the anime, I got totally immersed in the world of Grimgar. And after reading the LN, I fell... more>> in love in it more. Other than settings that are cliche such as summoned to another world or adventurers fighting monsters, I got hooked with Grimgar mostly because of the characters. Although, it is not from a physiological genre. The characters’ personality and interactions are embedded with psychologically realistic elements that I believe to be the backbone of Grimgar. As stated by others, Grimgar is a place where you have to struggle to live, especially for Team Haruhiro. Indeed, there are exceptions such as Renji who is considered talented and having it easy. As others have stated too, the “ash” in Grimgar’s title may have the context of death or returning to nothingness (ash). Based on this idea, the world of Grimgar is where death is just lurking around the corner (something like that). This is represented by the deaths in Grimgar. Moreover, the impact of these deaths to the people around them are carefully and accurately described by the author through the characters’ action/expression/reaction, etc. The “illusion” part is intertwined with the context of “ash”. It might have the meaning that the life they are experiencing are merely illusion, because at any moment, they can lose something dear to them when they least expected it. Analogically, just like how wind comes and goes which is hardly predicted.

Looking from the psychological perspective, let us observe Team Haruhiro. Particularly, Ranta’s behaviour and how his teammates respond to it. This circumstance is highlighted in volume 2, it absolutely hits home and a very close reflection of real life social situation. Furthermore, this kind theme/query of revolves throughout the entirety of Grimgar's LN.

About Ranta... He is easily the most hated character. Even I found him to be super duper annoying, including when he is consistently an asshole to the team, especially to Haruhiro. But you know... his awkwardness is a reflection of people in real life...
Spoiler

It is just his nature to be like that, he doesn't quite know how to change this, and he feels that its better to be true to himself. During the conversation between Haruhiro and Ranta in volume 2, Haruhiro tried to point out Ranta's problem. At the same time, Ranta points out Haruhiro's weakness and Haruhiro even tried to shrug this off. It shows that everybody is not perfect. In volume 8, Ranta had a conversation with the enemy. The raws reader described their conversation as emotionally impactful. It is after this scene that might have lead to Ranta's betrayal.

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Another element that I love about Grimgar is the subtlety of romance.

Spoiler

I have only read properly from volume 1 to volume 4's chapter 1. From volume 4 to 9, I was only able to read the summary which were written by the raws reader. Up until volume 6 or 7 (if I’m not mistaken), the author would always never explicitly hints that this guy likes this girl or vice versa. Only after volume 6 (if I’m not mistaken), the romance element starts to get clear but it is still not explicit for some characters. At least we can start to make smart guess of who actually likes whom.

As of the latest chapter, the romance relationship may look like this....

Haru likes Mary? (Check volume 6/7)
Ranta likes Yume? (Check volume 7/8)
Shihoru likes Kuzak? (Check volume 8)

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About fighting scenes, the fight towards the end in vol 3 was absolutely engaging, intense and somehow hilarious? (I’m sure those who have read understand). As the volume progresses, our main casts will begin to explore more of Grimgar. From this point on, the story and settings grow and becomes more interesting. Definitely, there will be more fights too.

Looking closely at our MC, he is weak. It is evident from his fighting style. Especially as a thief, he does not have the skill to single-handedly overpower an enemy in comparison to warrior or dark knight. He would always prefer to attack an enemy from their blind-spot to avoid direct confrontation. If he has to take an enemy head-on, he would always use a defensive stance. But...

Spoiler

Later in further volume. He would discover new strength after a certain incident in another world. Enabling him to confidently engage an opponent head-on such as Ranta with more offence than defense

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Plus, he is not a naturally-born leader. In fact, he is kind of forced to be take on the role. The others are in good terms with him except for one. Because of this person too, it causes him to contemplate his capability as a leader. Though there is an odd one out of the team, the whole team actually subtly challenges his mental fortitude too. The fact that he has to be the leader when he does not have that nature in him gnaws deeply within him throughout the story. Plaguing him with doubts and the burden of the thought to be a reliable leader for his team. Causing him to overdo things by himself. Ironically, his teammates are vital emotional supporters too.
Spoiler

Particularly Mary I believe. It is depicted from her continual support of Haruhiro (though it may looked minor) from her early participation into the team and in almost every circumstances in comparison to other characters.

Shihoru is another one of the best exemplar of character growth. In the first volume, she is signified as a timid/shy girl. However, she grows to become a strong one after the first teammate's death. This growth of hers is not obvious only until the second death of their teammate. She is hardly affected by this situation in comparison to others because she has faced harsher reality before, which is the death of her dearest. Moreover, other LN readers have said that she has somewhat become a sub-leader in further volumes as she has become more aware of the well-being of her teammates.

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In essence, again I would like to point out that the characters and their sense of realism are the ones making Grimgar so engrossing and enjoyable. Properly indulge yourself in their dilemma/ drama or any other circumstances and realize the splendor and richness of the LN’s writing. Apart from that, I just loved how the author portrays the theme (derived from the title's name) and splendidly integrates it into this LN. <<less
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Fuez
This LN is a very refreshing read. It is a story of someone who simply yearns for what he has lost. And he is very frightened of having to experience that sense of loss again that he could fall into despair. One of the scene that instantaneously captivates me into reading this novel is the very first scene that author shows us. Specifically, the first chapter of the first volume. It is a portrayal of warmth. That is all. A warmth of being with your family members or someone dear... more>> to you. It is a very ordinary scene. The MC is just having dinner with a family member of his and they are having a chat to pass time. Simple yet so meaningful that I could actually feel this fuzzy warmth in my heart.

Another lovely aspect is the MC's interaction with the children. The children that I'm referring to are the Leprechauns. Their idiosyncrasies makes them truly adorable and Willem handled them splendidly. The scenes displaying their interactions are some of the enjoyable slice of life part in this LN.

I like how the other readers describe the MC as "broken" which ties back to his experience of losing something. It is a very accurate description of him and a driving motivation for me to read the LN in order to understand more about Willem's "broken" personality. In the 2 volumes that I have read, the author would give a revelation in their final chapters. A revelation that foreshadows the overall plot/setting. Hinting a darker and much crueler fate that awaits Willem or maybe other characters. I think other people has already described how this LN criticizes the theme of being a Hero. It brings the a unique concept which contradicts many stories about heroes who are an epitome of hope. In contrast to this LN, the Hero of Heroes are an epitome of despair.
Spoiler

The LN describes that those who are chosen as the Hero of Heroes (Main hero of Regular Brave) are people who had lead a miserable, tragic and horrible life. These elements of negativity are their driving will to live on. So that they could take revenge or inflict punishment to those who have wronged them.

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After reading 2 volumes, I tried to correlate from my reading with the LN's title and the LN's cover page for every volume until the latest one. Consequently, I felt as if my heart was wrenching. Almost every cover page is illustrated with character (s) who are crying. It may be a symbol of tragedy/drama genre heavily influencing the story. Trying to understand both of the titles; "What Are You Doing at the End? Are You Busy? Can You Save Me?" (Prequel) and "What Are You Doing at the End? Can We Meet Again Once More?" (Sequel), they just scream of bad omen. Not that it means that its going to be bad. But, it made me more intrigued to confirm my theory and speculations in reference with the "revelation" in each volume. It is another driving factor of mine to read this LN, to know what kind of fate befalls these characters.

I have understood that Suka2's style is to convey the emotional impact subtly and cumulatively. As for me, it tore my brain and heart. How it finally got me is just from an expression of honest words (Indeed, the "feeling" has been accumulated overtime throughout the volumes). The story pricks the heart bit by bit until it reaches the climax (which may vary with individuals). IMO, those who actually understand the circumstances of the characters can truly enjoy the story. To do that, just allow yourself to get engrossed in the entirety of this LN. I dunno about others but I'm sure many of us readers ran out of tissue while reading the LN. Kudos to the still standing warrior who continues to struggle to read until its inevitable end. <<less
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Fuez
Fuez rated it
Altina the Sword Princess
June 27, 2017
Status: v8c1
In short, this novel has overall interesting plot (theme of politics, war, etc.) but flaws in the theme of romance and flatly-defined characters.

What intrigued me into reading this novel are the brilliance in the strategy employed to tackle encountered problems, the actions/fighting and some bits of political affairs.

Talking about characters, they don't possess too much depth and hence, they represent somewhat typically defined characters. Though the author is detailed in giving balance to the characters' traits.

The romance is bland and not very interesting. It lacks depth in developing the romantic... more>> feelings. Thus, it is not my main point of attraction in reading this novel. Although I would absolutely appreciate if the author develops the romance theme with much more depth in subsequent volumes.

Particularly for volume 4, I like the change of characters and settings. It is quite a refreshing read. Indeed, the story is still interconnected with the other volumes. Frankly, this is my favourite volume due to the following reasons...

Spoiler

Though having OP character is not my cup of tea, I like the chara's OPness for vol 4. The general theme for vol 4 is our OP protagonist saves a damsel in distress. It was an enjoyable read on how the MC pushes forward to save the heroine. Nevertheless, the enemy is better than the MC. In the end, the hero and the heroine failed their mission to prevent a greater conflict (the budding of plot for vol 5 and above). It was a truly heart-breaking moment for them (and me as a reader) as they endured a lot of adversaries but they finally gain naught.

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