Granblue Fantasy is a role-playing video game developed by Cygames for iOS, Android and web browsers, which first released in Japan in March 2014.
Granblue fantasy based on a popular mobile game is an interesting anime that reminds me a lot of the famed Final Fantasy series of games because the premise behind them is very similar. While I played plenty of Final Fantasy games over the years I have yet to play the game that this anime used as a source material so I’m unable to compare the two.
The premise behind Granblue fantasy is a rather simple one but never less one that is already well-read in the anime world. The hero character rescues a beautiful but mysterious girl from an evil enemy faction and then embarking on a quest to find and save mysterious but powerful creatures and gain their allegiance to you while at the same time fighting to stop the evil faction from doing the same. Along the way, they are joined by a handful of characters that join them for a variety of motivations. The premise while standard also has a number of innovations that enable it to stand out more. These include the use of airships to travel around the rather large world with, large variety of summons, a far from a straightforward plot and large battles between summons.
Story and setting
The overall plot for the series of Granblue fantasy revolves around a journey that the main characters embark upon both to explore the land but also to find the various legendary beasts that populate the land and protect them from the main enemy faction that’s in the series. A substantial subplot for the series deals with the protection of the series main heroine and the attempt to allow her to see and understand the world that she lives in while protecting her while at the same time foiling the enemy’s major plans to expand their influence in the world.
The series as a whole is set in a fantasy-like setting where both airships and magic exist and are commonplace. The world that this series is set in seems to have a number of different countries and locations that are populated with a variety of different races each with their own looks and unique behaviors and manners. A key component of the setting of this series is the legendary primal beasts which are creatures that were created by another race long ago and left in the land to serve as guardian deities for various locations around the world. These serve as a key part of the empires plans that the heroes need to stop as part of the story.
Gran voiced by veteran voice actor Yuuki Ono is one of the main characters of the series and serves as the main protagonist of the series and the overall leader of the team with the title of captain. A young teenage human male in his late teen’s Gran is a kind and caring person that has a personality that can be best described as one that puts the needs of the others before his own. As a result, Gran is someone that is well trusted by all that meet him as while easy going and kind to a fault he’s also not the type that will be cruel or unkind to others without good reason. An honorable but also a determined person Gran is someone that always tries to help those in need even of these people are complete strangers to him which in the series has the effect of gathering many allies to him. As a result of living in a remote island that lies away from the major countries in the world Gran is naturally curious about the world that lies beyond his home which is reinforced by the books that he has read as a child. In particular Gran since when he little has dreamed of exploring the skies in an airship of his own a dream that was finally achieved by the journey that he embarked on with Lyria after meeting her. A prominent trait of Gran’s is that Gran seems to prefer to sort out disagreements via peaceful methods through negotiation and is always willing to listen to the viewpoints of all the parties that are involved in it before deciding. As the series progresses Gran noticeably braver and more determined to protect his friends and allies from harm but at the same time has also become more willing to apply more restraint to his actions and as a result not rush into battles like he did in the past. Though hinted at in the beginning of the series as the series progresses it becomes apparent that Gran is someone that cares a great deal about friendship and the bonds that he makes with people. This has the effect of making Gran more determined than ever to protect those that are dear to him.
Gran’s friendship and unique bond that he shares with Lyria forms a central part of this series and forms part of the main plot. In the beginning of the series Gran and his pet dragon Vyrm encountered Lyria by chance deep in a forest that lay on his island of birth and despite the sudden meeting soon struck up a friendship. As the series progresses and after finding out Lyria’s painful past and childhood Gran becomes more determined to protect her from the empire and at the same time more understanding of her personality and as a result he tries pretty hard to show Lyria how beautiful this world is while at the same time dispelling the effects that her past memories have on her. As a result of a near-death experience in the past, Gran has the rather interesting bond with Lyria in that he’s able to summon powers that are derived from Lyria that can make him more powerful in combat. At the same time on an emotional level Gran is able to deduce and understand the types of thoughts that are going through Lyria’s psyche which is especially important when they are protecting her from the empire’s plans. All in all, I felt that Gran was a pretty well-designed character that though the archetypal good guy proved that if you have both a determination to protect your friends and allies from an enemy that is stronger than you and a will to define the enemies plan then you too can become a hero. Heroes are after all made from a determination to do something extraordinary and I would say standing up to an evil empire to protect your friends and allies more than qualifies Gran as a hero.
Lyria voiced by veteran seiyuu singer Nao Touyama of Asterisk wars and Gate fame is one of the main characters of the series and is the main heroine of the series. A young teenage girl that has a rather dark and tragic past that has made her life hell the moment that she was born. Personality wise Lyria is an innocent, kind and curious young woman that until she met Gran knew little of the world itself due to being imprisoned by the empire. Initially, Lyria’s personality was a bit on the quiet side as besides Katalina Gran and Vyrm were the first people that she met that were friendly to her. But at the same time, she was also curious about the world around her and as a result of she and Gran soon struck up a friendship. As the series progresses Lyria noticeably becomes more talkative and at the same time more compassionate towards others and more willing to help others which I believe is something that she learned from Gran. Despite being curious Lyria is someone that always tries to respect local custom and as a result, respects the local gods for each area that she visits with the cast. This respect for local customs I felt was well done and in line with her personality. As the series progresses and more and more allies join her and Grans party Lyria is slowly able to come out of her shell by slowly making friends with her new teammates and places an immense level of trust in them something that each of them soon returns as well. Lyria’s most prominent trait is without a doubt her compassion towards others as over the course of the series though Lyria and Gran and co encounter many situations where simply eliminating the enemy might have been an easier choice Lyria would often sympathize with the enemy and understand the reasons for their actions which is another thing that I felt really matched her personality of disliking violence. As a result of meeting so many different people and making so many friends one trait that Lyria developed as the series went on was her playfulness which I felt was funny and a sign that her personality really is changing for the better.
Despite her brave and positive front however behind this mask of hers, one can see that Lyria still wrestles with inner struggles that affect her greatly made even more so because of her somewhat fragile personality. As a result of her friendships and bonds that she has forged with members of her party Lyria is very happy that she has managed to make some friends but at the same time because of her past Lyria fights against the belief that she herself is a burden to her friends and allies a fact that although the cast know about can do little more than try and support her and cheer her up with. This struggle of Lyria that she faces alone is actually tied with Lyria’s role in the overall plot and I thought it was done pretty well. The manner of how this was eventually solved by the cast though I thought was brilliant and heart-warming as it made use of each of the bonds that her friends have established with her to bring her back from despair.
As a character, I felt that Lyria was a pretty well-designed character that was developed rather well in the series. Though quiet and somewhat wary of strangers at first it was nice to see Lyria develop into a strong but also compassionate person that cares about her friends and allies and will not let her past dictate her life. The struggles that Lyria in this series I felt was actually pretty well done and it was heart-breaking to see Lyria give in to despair and shut her friends out after being told the truth of her past by the empire. I was glad that in the end that the cast managed to get through to her and bring her back through the bonds and memories that they had with her. I felt that Nao Touyama really did an excellent job portraying Lyria.
Katalina voiced by veteran seiyuu Miyuki Sawashiro of Sword art online 2 and Rokka no Yuusha fame is one of the main characters of the series and is one of Gran and Lyria’s main allies in the series. A veteran knight formerly of the empire Katalina serves as both Lyria’s first friend and also her guardian. As a knight, Katalina is a stoic, brave and calm person that is able to stay composed and rationally even when under pressure. Unlike many knights of the empire, however, Katalina is also compassionate and kind and also honorable which is the prime reason why she decided to leave the empire with Lyria. Even before meeting with Gran and the rest of the cast Katalina and Lyria actually knew each other as she was charged with watching over her. As a result of this duty, however, Katalina saw first-hand how the empire treated Lyria and as a result caused her to have pity for Lyria and caused her to forge a friendship and bond with her by teaching her about the world. This also served as a catalyst that led to their escape from the empire and the beginning of the main story.
As a result of her bond with Lyria Katalina sees herself as her guardian and as a result, she takes the safety of Lyria pretty seriously. As a result of this Katalina can be slow to trust strangers and be rather icy towards them but this is something that comes from her determination to protect Lyria from all threats as more than ever Katalina wants Lyria to have a life that can be considered normal for someone her age and not be treated as something that’s not even a human being by the likes of the empire. Personality wise Katalina has what can be considered to be a big sister type personality as she tries to more responsible for the main members of the party much of which are still teenagers though far too often their actions and the results of their actions often instead surprise her instead. Still this side of her personality was interesting to see. A peculiar trait of Katalina is the fact that she seems to adore cute things of which Vyrn is often an unwitting target for her which I found to quite funny. I felt that Miyuki Sawashiro really did a great job of portraying the character of Katalina who despite being a knight that’s both stoic and composed can also be surprisingly compassionate and caring as well.
Vyrn voiced by veteran seiyuu singer Rie Kugimiya of elDLIVE and Persona 4 the animation fame is one of the main characters of the show and is one of Gran and Lyria’s main allies. A small flying dragon that’s been with Gran since he was a child Vyrn is a funny creature that’s also shown to be intelligent and compassionate and is also considerate towards the feelings of others. At the same time, Vyrn is also shown to be very loyal to both Gran and his friends and always tries to point out the best possible paths for them. Because of his small size, Vyrn has limited offensive capabilities but he’s shown to have a large heart and sensitive to the feelings of others that are around him and often tries to cheer them up to the best of his ability. A prominent trait of Vyrn is the fact that he is easily distracted by what is being discussed which is often used as comic relief. Though Vyrn as a character is a relatively small role I felt that Rie Kugimiya really did a great job voicing him.
Io voiced by veteran seiyuu singer Yukari Tamura of Re-Zero and Naruto fame is one of the main characters of the series and one of Gran and Lyria’s main allies in the series. A young mage from a country that Gran and co visited early in their travels Io is a young teenage girl that despite her young age is actually quite the proficient mage having a variety of spells at her disposal. Personality wise Io is a kind and caring person that has a positive and bubbly demeanor suitable for her age. Despite that, she can also be stubborn and has an interesting trait of not respecting people that should deserve respect as a result of their age. This is most often applied to Rackham who was actually the one that started it in the first-place due to his underestimation of magic that Io wields. Despite her positive and bubbly personality Io as a result of her stubbornness can be overly proud of her abilities but however is not too stubborn to ask for help. As a result of living with only her master since she was little Io is very close to her master values the relationship that he has with him. As a result of living alone for much of her life, Io can be slow to trust people and indeed it took her some time to establish a friendship with Gran and the others. Despite this Io is someone that has a strong sense of justice and can’t stand the sight of innocents being hurt by others and as a result, she hates people that do that for whatever reason. A recurring trait of Io’s that seems to be used for comical effect in this series is that Io hates being seen as a child which she actually is despite the fact that her abilities as a mage certainly match the level of a teenager instead.
Like Rackam Io too has a sub-story arc that is used to develop and flesh out her character while also allowing the main cast to get to know her. In the case of Io her sub story arc’s main focus was her attempts to track down the whereabouts of her master who had vanished around the time that Gran and the others had arrived in her home. This story arc I felt was actually well done as it showed just how much trust Io had in her master having known him for a number of years and proves that if someone that you known begins to act out of character then they are lightly being controlled by something or someone. Seeing Io be able to deduce this and see her refusing to give up on him was something that I thought was nicely done and showed just how close they were. I was really glad that her arc resulted in the freeing of her master from the mind control though. All in all, I felt that Io was a pretty well-designed character that showed that despite her young age that she was still capable of casting the complex magic attack spells that could exceed the attack power of adults like Rackam. At the same time, it was also nice that despite her slow to trust nature Io was able to form a friendship with people that are more along her age like Lyria and Gran. Although Rackam and Io did not get on within the beginning it was nice that by the end of the series that both have managed to develop an element of trust in each other. All in all, I felt that Yukari Tamura really did a great job in voicing Io.
Rosetta played by veteran seiyuu singer Rie Tanaka is one of the main support characters of the show and one of Gran and Lyria’s main allies. A mysterious female mage that’s been helping the party since the beginning Rosetta is an enigmatic and mysterious image that seems to know many secrets about both the empire’s plans and also about their many experiments but likes to hold these back for the opportune time to tell anyone. Despite her mysterious nature that many would argue would make her untrustworthy Rosetta doesn’t seem to let this bother her as she is shown to be able to deflect suspicion that others have on her with humor which I felt was interesting. Despite her enigmatic nature when Rosetta interacts with Gran and co it can be seen that Rosetta actually has a kind and caring personality while also being intelligent and well read. Rosetta has shown to be a powerful mage as she is able to intervene in various actions without being discovered with her most notable feat of being on hand to rescue the cast from a tidal wave. Although not featured until near the end of the series I felt that Rosetta was a pretty interesting character and that her seiyuu Rie Tanaka really did a great job in voicing her. I do feel that she along with a number of other support characters could have been brought into the story a bit earlier though.
Eugen voiced by veteran voice actor Kazuhiro Yamaji is one of the main support characters of the series and is one of Gran and Lyria’s allies in the series. A mid-aged man that lives in the chain of islands that forms the island nation Eugen is an old friend of Rackam and both were helmsman in the past before they went their separate ways. A veteran adventurer that has great skill in the use of firearms that is best shown in the final battles of the series Eugen is highly regarded and respected in his hometown of Auguste and you can see that the people there really look to up to him for advice and guidance. Personality wise Eugen is a brave and wise person that’s also fast on his feet and is able to easily adapt to different situations on the field. Eugen is also a dependable person and is shown to be very loyal to the people that live in his hometown willing to put himself in harm’s way to protect them. The character of Eugen I felt was an interesting character as he brought a lot of experience to the cast which until his introduction was mainly provided by Katalina and Rackam. The rapport that Eugen and Rackam had was also interesting to see and it was nice to see them use this during combat as well.
Rackam voiced by veteran voice actor Hiroaki Hirata of Digimon fame is one of the main characters of the series and is one of Gran and Lyria’s main allies. A talented helmsman and a capable mechanic Gran and Lyria encounter Rackam early on in their journey. When they were both looking for an airship and someone to fly it. Personality wise Rackam is a relatively cheerful and carefree person at first glance but he’s also one that’s very single-minded with his tasks and will often spend a lot of time on repairing something as can be expected from a mechanic. Although not one to trust people easily Rackam is also someone that values honesty and truth above all else and will not hesitate to help those in need even if it meant facing steep odds. Although disbelieving of Lyria and Gran’s powers at first Rackam soon become a believer after seeing them manage to subdue a deity that was attacking the very island that he had lived his whole life. As a result of his easy-going nature, Rackam is able to forge a bond of friendship with Gran and the rest of the cast quite easily and as the series progresses Rackam is shown to become very loyal to his friends and determined to help them in their journey. Rackam I felt was an interesting character as though he may be carefree and relaxed most of the time when he does get serious he’s shown to be very loyal to his friends and allies. At the same time, I thought that he was very brave in choosing to stand up against the empire when they attacked his airship which ultimately started him on his journey with Gran and the others. Though Rackam does get on well with most of the cast the notable exception here is Io and I thought that the arguments that they get into were quite hilarious and funny. Im glad that in the end that both were able to fully trust each other with their backs in the final battles of the series.
Arts and animation
In terms of art for the series I felt that the series did pretty well in depicting the scenery for the various countries and cities that the last visit over the course of the series. The character designs for the main cast as well as other characters that were featured in this series I felt was also done pretty well. In particular I really liked the design of the various primal beasts that the cast faced in this series as each was pretty unique just like the abilities that they made use of. Animation for the series I felt was pretty good with the animation being pretty smooth and clear. The combat scenes in this series I felt were pretty well done and were very well designed both in regard to the fights against the empires ground troops and the fight against the primal beasts.
The music for the series I felt was pretty well done with the opening theme being pretty catchy. The ending theme as well I thought was pretty good as well. Individual scene music I felt was good and I loved the battle themes that played during the battle as they helped make those scenes more dramatic.
Voice acting for the series I felt was pretty strong throughout the series with the seiyuu’s for Lyria, Io and Katalina who are Nao Touyama, Yukari Tamura and Miyuki Sawashiro deserving praise for their performances. I also felt that Rie Tanaka and Rie Kugimiya did a pretty good job in voicing their respective characters despite the limited presence that both characters have in the overall story. This series is also notable for featuring a number of support characters that only showed up near the end of the series that were voiced by a number of talented seiyuu’s like MAO, Kana Hanazawa. While certainly welcome I felt that these veterans and their respective characters could have been used earlier in the series. Still, it was nice to hear them I guess.
Overall, I felt that Granblue fantasy was an excellent anime that had among its strengths an interesting setting and theme, interesting story, excellent characters, great combat scenes and excellent voice acting.
The premise for the show, in this case, was based on two different concepts which are both related to Lyria as she is the main heroine that the story is based around. These two concepts are the ideas of identity and freedom. While the show focuses on the exploration of the world by the main cast the overall plot is centered on allowing the main cast to not just protect Lyria but also allow her to create an identity of her own that is free from her past and thus allowing her to live her own life the way that she wants to live it and as a human being that has friends and a unique personality that belongs only to herself and not constrained by her past. I thought that these two themes combined with the story were a strong point for this series. The way that empire treated Lyria when they were holding her though really made me mad when seeing them do that and really helped in making the story even more compelling for me as I believe that just as in the theme every living thing should have their own life and be able to live their life the way that they want without being constrained in any way. The characters for the show I felt were pretty well designed and though they were total strangers at first watching them develop and form bonds of friendship as they built up trust with one another and eventually can fight as a well-coordinated party was a nice thing to see. However, I do believe that appeared in the series could have been introduced into the series a bit earlier in the series as characters like Eugen were not really given much development in the series. The combat scenes for the series I felt was pretty good especially in relation to the battles against the primal beasts and watching the main cast attack a sea dragon with support from their many allies was immensely satisfying.