Keep in mind this review is based off of the first 3 episodes I've watched
Where to start?
Was it good? No. Was it bad? Hasn't provided me enough material to overturn my judgement yet about it being good sooo.. I guess it was.
Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash while it seemed like a good watch at the time, when I finally started the series it left me severely disappointed. While the concept of being stuck in a fantasy world seemed interesting, I haven't seen much of this"Fantasy" or "World" in that matter to make me not gouge my eyes out because of sheer boredom. The story line hasn't even begun developing, the characters themselves I find have little development, the action while it's enough to leave me satisfied makes me yearn for something more, and the adventure I was promised (if there was any) is barely there. I did find a redeeming quality to the anime in the form of its art and animation. The fight scenes were beautifully done making me excited for more of them, especially during the 1st episode, and the artwork's style literally made me pause the episode just to view its glory.
Now Let me explain my thoughts:
The "Fantasy" - Of course I'm not blind to ignore the magic or the magical creatures (which apparently only consists of a single goblin (hallowed be thy name) or its friends) besides that there hasn't been any other fantasy elements to truly pique my intrigue towards this anime. I haven't seen any mystical, strange, or even outrageously stupid elements which I would like to see or even any different creatures or races in the world they're in. Likewise the different classes of the characters, outside of the occasional spell (which from what I've seen only consists of the same single spell) I would've liked to see any particular special skill (especially a magical or one with a single fantasy element) that's been granted to the characters due to their class. But as far as I know, all they know is basic physical skills that they constantly repeat and a single special class skill from the Dark Knight class that they touched upon but never elaborated. This lack of a fantasy element truly makes me doubt if the anime should be labeled "Fantasy" instead of just "Magical" (if even).
The "World"/Adventure/Action - I was deeply disappointed by the lack of adventure seen in this anime. I personally define "Adventure" as going out, exploring the world, and participating in many different events. In Grimgar, I haven't seen even the slightest inclination towards the characters even going on an adventure. Firstly they haven't even left the bloody town where they started in and venture out more than 10ft away besides them just going to the forest, where they get their butts handed to them by a single goblin (hallowed be thy name). Secondly, all I have seen them do is sit on their butts all day sitting around something and eating food. Which tells me nothing is going to happen for a very very very long time or in layman's terms, they ain't going to do shit. Mixed in with this lack of adventure is the lack of the "world" that they currently exist in. No special land forms, monuments, or even a distinct architecture type that tells me they now reside in a different world instead of their previous human world. Even the lack of new creatures, people, races, and new ideas haven't been touched upon in the anime which would've made me very excited to see. I would've loved for more exploration of the world of Grimgar that's currently full of possibilities due to it being "fantasy" world, but alas my dreams and desires have not been fulfilled.
Although the action is beautifully animated, the action itself leaves a lot to be desired. The amount of action is few in number and some of it can even can be considered redundant. Why do I consider it redundant you say? Well the characters have shown me a sort of functional fixedness where they keep using their weapons the same way (technique-wise) expecting a different result. Yes, I know I'm being harsh because they're relatively new to this world and haven't completely grasped the concept of professional combat. But, they have been taught by mentors of their own respective classes which means they have a lot more skills in their repertoire. I would love to see these skills and techniques be used in their fights instead of just seeing a Runescape-like hack-and-slash with them just swinging their weapons like hillbillies (no offence). I would also love to see them fight something else besides the same single goblin (hallowed be thy name), by adding more variety of creatures to fight.
**For those wondering why I keep saying "hallowed be thy name" whenever I mention the goblin. It's because I find the goblin to be essentially immortal. It was stabbed in many lethal areas and a multitude of times then somehow it still lives (insert Jackie Chan meme here) so essentially it must be some sort of immortal god where it can brush off all those strikes of death.
Story/Characters - The plot of Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash is very slow going with little development. Already 3 episodes in and I still have no idea what it's about besides the rough outline provided by the anime's summary. This overarching storyline of discovering their purpose of who they are and what their purpose is, is constantly overshadowed and left in the corner to rot. Instead of developing the storyline in the episodes, it feels more like a slice of life where we get a small insight into how the characters deal with their situation. The plot has so far remained stagnant with little effort to even try to develop it as evidenced in episode 2, where half the episode was a fight scene against the goblin (hallowed be thy name) and the other half was basically an animation of the characters dawdling around doing nothing while music is played in the background making you feel cheated in your time watching the episode. The only way I can see the plot even attempting to budge is if a huge massive Deux ex Machina just slammed into the series and made such an impact nothing or nobody can ignore it. If the storyline has to continue like this with little development and if they truly need Deux ex Machinas to move along the story this is going to turn out to be a very cheap-shot anime.
Now onto the characters, while all they do is sit down and talk most of the day, I haven't really been able to build a connection with them because of how little I even know about them. Some of the characters don't even stray past the typical archetypes that typical anime's have which gives me little hope of the characters getting a full thorough development that would make me very happy to see. Yeah sure you can say information has been revealed about them to reveal their general character but beyond that I don't really personally know their characters of them as individuals. I can see in the story that there is a beginning towards developing the characters. But with their lack of memories, you can't truly understand how they act due to their past experiences and how they grew up.
Art/Animation - Just like I said in my introduction, amazing and breathtaking! Anymore of my abhorrence towards this anime would make me negatively judge it.
This anime so far as been a disappointing experience for me as I continue to watch (begrudgingly) in hopes of a new direction the anime is going. I hope the anime becomes better than what I've depicted because I'm just not ready to throw in the towel on this anime after I selected it out of the multitude of others I could've chosen. But as long as I see this anime remain this way this review isn't going to change neither is my opinion. So I tell you, if your interest was piqued by this anime like mine, go ahead by all means go watch it but in my opinion it's going to be a very disappointing ride.