Fantasy and Ash

Fantasy and Ash

The Grimgar manga is interesting. I finished reading it and I've started watching the Anime, I have not read the light novel it's based on.

I learned about it on a french Discord listing interesting anime. I saw it came in a three volume manga and I ordered it, patiently avoiding the anime on Netflix.

Here are a few observations I made.

The manga is mostly set from the point of view of Haruhiro. His adventuring party is made up of the leftovers of an initial group that split between assertive people and well, the others. It feels like players being assigned characters and sorting themselves out in two tables.

Groups of humans reach Ortana out from a cave under a monument. They come out in regular 2020s clothes but are amnesic, regular young people that seemed to have dreamt harder and been brought here. They are expected and guided to the city and proposed enrollment for adventure... It's a bit like Animal Crossing, food and lodging is not free.

All the adventuring parties are based in Ortana, a human fortress city in the wilds. Parties gather info and pick their adventure. They mine the surroundings for loot to pay for food, lodging, and training.

Upon forming the party, members distribute classes among themselves. It seems built around a tank and a healer, in other words, Fighter and Cleric. The other classes are, so far, Thief, Ranger, Wizard, and well, Dark Knight. The young persons are trained into their class and after a one week initial training they're sent back to their friends for a first set of adventures.

The initial leader of the party, Manato, a cleric, is killed early on. He was wearing too many hats at the same time, healer, leader, fighter. He took a bad hit while covering the retreat of his companions. That's the initial crisis faced by the party, it crippled them for a while. Haru emerged as the new leader and slowly the party got back on its track.

Our adventurers are japanese, their lodgings have a bathroom and the day ends with a hot bath. Another japanese thing is the cremation ceremony after Manato's death. But there is a non-japanese explanation for it: in that world, the dead bodies of humans turn to undeath, cremation is a necessity. There seems to be a "No Life King" behind that general undead transition. Leaving a dead friend body in a dungeon means adding an undead to that location.

(do goblins, kobolds, and friends turn to undeath? Adventurers simply loot their bodies, some of the clerics mutter a prayer, but they do not incinerate those creature bodies)

The initial goblin kill of the party is interesting. Haru is amazed by the will to survive shown by their victim. It is no easy kill. Later on, the party gets better at it, the clumsy hacking is avoided and the goblins are terminated efficiently.

It seems like players are projected into characters, they remember pieces of their past, like cooking food or that they had smart phones, but what was a smart phone? Player skill into character ability? After a while, Haru loses count of the days since he emerged in Grimgar, he blends in.

The manga ends after three volumes and the party scored a win against a kobold boss deep in a mine. The party is of a strong mettle and ready for tougher challenges. From what I have seen from the anime, it is way more developped, whereas the manga feels "compressed". I'll have a go at the light novels where Grimgar started.

I like the vanilla D&D feeling of the setting, without dwarfs, halflings, half-orcs, aasimar. It's not too japanese, yet not too american. The wounds are real and death is permanent, healers don't waste theirs spells on bruises. The manga feels stunted, I hope that the anime will be better and that the novels will yield information about the author's Appendix N.