Grisaia no Kajitsu

Title:Grisaia no Kajitsu
Le Fruit de la Grisaia
The Fruit of Grisaia
グリザイアの果実 (Japanese)
Keywords: , , , , , ,
Notables: SAKURAI Takahiro
Yuuji Kazami is a transfer student at a strange school with only half a dozen students. But he has a strange line of work, too.

[TV series, 2014, 13 episodes, 24 min; based on a playstation game from 2011 and an ongoing manga with 3+ volumes since 2011]
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Unevaluated Devil Doll [series:2964#752]
I had read a little more than the synopsis given here before watching episode 1, and thus wasn't surprised by what happened at the end of this opening episode. Being based on a game, it gives me the Kanon vibe of "lead guy surrounded by troubled girls".

If I had enough time for watching anime then this might be my no. 2 series of choice for this season.

Last updated Monday, October 13 2014. Created Monday, October 13 2014.
Watch Stretch [series:2964#628]
(All episodes watched):

The obvious question in episode one of Grisaia is what makes these six kids so special that they need a school of their own? For most of the episode we do not get a hint of what the answer might be, and the fact that newly transferred Kazami does not seem to care does not bode well for a deep and interesting story. Instead we get what looks like a pantsu-happy harem anime (we could almost identify each of the five girls by the color of her underwear as easily as by the color of her hair). I was about to write this show off when it finally revealed something of interest, namely Kazami apparently being some sort of assassin or secret agent. All of a sudden this show looked very much like Akuma no Riddle. Is each of the girls in a similar line of work? Except they don't exude the evil aura that the ones in that show did. The character designs had vaguely reminded me of the Monogatari franchise and/or Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. Just what was going on had yet to be made clear, but I decided to watch another episode to find out.

Episode two does it's best to keep us from learning much about WTF is going on here. Kazami doesn't carry out any assignments, so we don't learn anything more about what his line of work is. The show seemed to wobble back and forth between silly comedy and serious drama. Is this some place where troubled people who know things that must be kept from the general public go for rehabilitation? In a way, it reminds me of the old TV series The Prisoner. This was interesting in a way, but my patience was being stretched as well. Episode three likewise tells us nothing. If I hadn't watched the previous two episodes, Kazami wondering at one point if a girl might be planning to kill him is the only indicator that this might be anything but a goofy, fanservice-y, harem comedy. I heard this would get serious--around episode six or so.

How many series still haven't revealed their basic premise in episode four? All we learn this time is that one of the girls, Michiru, seems to have dual personalities (but we have to draw that fairly obvious conclusion ourselves, because if it occurred to Kazami, he doesn't say so). Actually, all the nonsense about Michiru suddenly comes together in episode five--sort of. The explanation of her twin personalities was a little hard to take seriously. It was also confusing; if the black-haired girl had the weak heart, shouldn't she have been the recipient of the transplant, and have the body that's still alive today? I must have missed something. Since things were so confusing and far-fetched I was not all that moved by the way they worked out. The black-haired, tsundere girl who carries a box cutter got a sort of mini-arc of her own in episode six (and we finally learn how the facility got started). But her basic problem was not all that original, the solution was unremarkable, and since we never got to know her all that well, it was again hard to be moved. That seems to be the trend here: each girl has an odd problem, but not really an all that intriguing one, and Kazami puts together a fix for it. The one semi-interesting thing about (some of) these arcs is the unconventional techniques he uses to teach each girl a necessary lesson. But I can't help feeling that this isn't taken far enough; his tricks are modestly interesting, but had the potential to be really neat if they had been developed further, but they aren't. And afterwards the girls tend to make an unrealistic miracle recovery which is hard to take seriously. The fact that this anime is based on an 'ongoing manga' suggests that there is no conclusion as of yet for us to reach. Maybe it's just a dating sim, based on the question 'which messed-up girl would you choose, to protect and make sexual use of'? I was tempted to just abandon Grisaia.

Come on! One part of the explanation of the arc in episodes eight and nine was so ridiculous that that was my response. You see, this girl has a photographic memory! And that enabled her to memorize tons of incriminating documents!. The revelations we get are sometimes both impossible to take seriously and also so shallow and corny that I almost feel as if I'm being patronized. Fantastically unlikely things happen routinely and we are expected to just go with that--like a busload of girls being stranded in what seems like a remote region of Mongolia after an accident (is there a single road in densely populated Japan on which no other vehicles would pass in the space of a day? I bet that even if they wanted to remain missing, 13 girls couldn't avoid being found for two weeks in Japan). The story of the stranded girls comes to a Lord of the Flies sort of ending. But it was hard to be all that emotionally moved since the tale was kind of ridiculous to begin with.

Every time I watch what I think is the final episode of an anime these days, it turns out that no, there's at least one more episode, if not a second season, still to come. Sure enough, a little research reveals that Grisaia has a thirteenth episode, a sequel, and a prequel as well! With a show of marginal quality like this, I was hoping to wrap things up and move on to something new. A couple of months later I remember little about Grisaia except that it was largely ridiculous and patronizing. About the only significant thing the show does have going for it is Kazami's mature, capable, deadpan personality as he banters with these girls who are invariably attracted to him. But I don't feel inclined to commit myself to yet another season of Grisaia.

Last updated Wednesday, March 25 2015. Created Wednesday, October 08 2014.

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