As it must, the end finally comes, and what an ending it is. Both intense and hopeful, the final episode brings the characters, and their arcs, to a lovely conclusion, sometimes with a bang, and sometimes with a quiet nod.
Grimgar, as a show, has been about the journey more than the adventure, and that’s been a fitting thing. Even when it stumbled, and didn’t live up to its own potential, it never took its eyes off what really mattered. These characters, flawed and weak people that they are, and the journey they took together.
One last time, let’s see what happens with the episode.
Right away, we are treated to a visual that seems to tell a terrible tale.
A moment later, we learn that it isn’t as bad as it looked, however, as Ranta manages to climb up from the well leading down to where he took his stand last week. He is not in very good shape, though. Badly injured, he lays for a moment, panting.
Two of the weird pig like critters the Kobolds raise come over to check him out, but when he proves mostly uninteresting, curl up around him and go to sleep. Since it hides him from the Kobolds still patrolling the area, Ranta is grateful all the same, taking his brief restful moment to summon his demon, Zodiaco, giving us our first look at the critter.
It proves less than helpful, however, encouraging him to die and embrace Skullhell. It also calls him names a lot. Which would be incredibly weird, if we didn’t know Ranta. Odds are, he’s annoyed the thing at some point. Through it all, Ranta seems almost resigned to the idea of dying, yet not enough to actually give in and let it happen.
Elsewhere, the rest of the party is recovering and going over their priorities, which are basically just getting out alive, and rescuing Ranta if at all possible. When Haru points out that they should do all they can, but not get reckless, it prompts Yume to lay things out pretty clear.
She doesn’t like Ranta, mostly because he’s always being insulting and rude. However, when she thinks of what it must be like to be alone in these mines, she can’t help but feel bad for him. He must be terrified, as surely as any of them would be. Haru tries to reassure her that if Ranta was going to die easily, it would have already happened.
Back with Ranta, a Kobold has noticed something is up with the piggy beasts and grabs a pitchfork to investigate. This gets him stabbed by Ranta, and while Zodiaco goes on about Vice, Ranta has the presence of mind to know this isn’t the time for that. Especially since the Kobold dropped the pitchfork, getting the other Kobolds attention. In seconds, he’s going to be surrounded.
As he is limping as fast as he can for some kind of cover, the others have returned and hear the alert go up. Realizing it must be Ranta, they leap into action.
Unaware the others are on their way, Ranta retreats to a shed, trying to stay alive as long as he can. Kobolds batter the door as Zodiaco chants he should just die, leaving Ranta to realize that the one thing he wanted, and never said, is to tell Yume he cares.
Granted, he does it by claiming he wished he’d fondled her chest, but that’s Ranta speak for I Love You, so we’ll all just facepalm at his massive stupidity and move on to the moment Death Spots punches a hole in the roof, making Ranta scream like a scared baby.
Granted, I would have, too, but still, I gotta give the guy a bit of shit for not even being able to be honest with himself with death staring him in the face.
Death Spots obliterates the shed, giving us a bad goof in the animation as we see Ranta still wearing his helmet. He uses his Exhaust skill to get some distance, now not wearing his helmet, and limps for all he’s worth as Death Spots pursues, at least until he gets a mild case of arrow in the eye.
Ranta has a moment to be shocked before Haru pops out and runs over to him, giving poor Ranta the scare of his life. The only thing more obvious, is his relief, as he has tears in his eyes when Haru grabs him.
Giving them room to meet up is Yume, who keeps pelting Death Spots with arrows, driving the big beast into a fit of rage. Mary and Moguzo cover her back, but the MVP of this battle is, without a doubt, Shihoru, who in one of those quiet moments, shows how much she has grown, and given me a screencap I’ll treasure forever.
With her laying down magical death everywhere, Mary joins up with Haru and Ranta, healing the battered Dark Knight enough he can stand and fight. Which he needs to as more Kobolds descend on them, and Death Spots starts getting royally pissed about all the arrows.
When she runs out of arrows, that’s their cue to leave. Haru and Moguzo make short work of the nearest Kobolds as Shihoru unleashes another barrage of magic missiles, tearing the ever loving fuck out of the surrounding area. Under the cloud of dust that raises, the party hauls ass, leaving a completely raging Death Spots behind.
Once they are safely away, they pause so Mary can do more healing on the severely battered Ranta, who again looks as if he’s about to cry. Yume sees this and gives him some crap over it, leading to Ranta accidentally admitting he was afraid he’d never see them all again. This just makes her tease him more, and desperate to recover his bravado, Ranta chooses to insult her chest. She doesn’t think it’s funny, he doesn’t care, and Mary has had enough of his antics. She reminds him there is one person he won’t fuck with.
Haru returns from scouting, calling the coast clear, and they head for the surface, eager to leave the mines behind. As they ascend, Haru ponders on his role as leader again, how he spent too much time trying to be like Manato, and how maybe, he should just be himself. The party seems to work best when everyone covers everyone else, so maybe that’s his style of leadership.
It’s an interesting internal monologue, because it shows just how seriously Haru takes his role as leader, as well as how much he looked up to Manato. So much so, he tried to be just like him, something Ranta pointed out was a failing before, and he now has come to see as true. He isn’t Manato, and he shouldn’t try to be. It’s okay for Haru to just be Haru, and to let the rest of the party just be themselves. Everything works better when they do that.
As they near the surface, Mary lets Haru know she’s almost out of magic. She can cast maybe one more healing spell before she’s tapped. Likewise, Shihoru has pretty much nothing left in the tank magically, meaning the sooner they get out of the mines, the better.
If only it were that easy. They have injured Death Spots, and he isn’t about to let that go.
Shihoru tries to magic missile him, but he shrugs that off like it was nothing. Moguzo dives in, but Death Spots catches his sword, then snaps it in half, nearly taking Moguzo’s head as he does. Down their fighter, with their two magic casters exhausted, no way forward, and running back likely a death trap, the party faces what may well be their end.
Haru doesn’t even think about what needs to happen. He takes off his scarf, dodges under Death Spots blade, and uses Spider to get on his back, wrapping the scarf around the massive Kobolds neck. He tells Ranta he is counting on him, the same words Manato used when he passed leadership to Haru, and you can see it. For Ranta, it’s like a knife in the heart.
Haru wastes no more time. Kicking off, he pulls Death Spots over the ledge, and they fall. It isn’t terribly far, but it is far enough to knock Death Spots out, and leave Haru badly dazed. Frantic, Mary begins to climb down after him, but Ranta stops her, understanding what Haru wanted. The others must live. Reluctantly, Mary finally gives in and the party flees.
Down below, Haru watches them in a daze, grateful they will live as Death Spots begins to stir. His arm is broken, and he is in very bad shape. There’s no way he can win a fight, but Ranta’s last words before the party ran for it resonate in his ears.
Don’t give up.
Somehow, Haru pulls himself up, cursing Ranta for giving him such an impossible order, one Haru knows he’ll obey. Because he must. Because living is all they really have. No matter how hard, how painful, or how exhausting it is, they must live. To the bitter end.
Alone, Haru faces the beast called Death Spots with a smile on his face.
As he braces, he sees the light again, the one that has always guided him to a killing blow, the one Barbara told him about. He doesn’t think, he just moves, letting it guide him, the world moving in slow motion around him as it takes him to the only place he needs to go. His blade, in Death Spots good eye.
Blinded, the monster tries to lash out, but Haru is still following the flow of the light, allowing him to find the one weak spot in Death Spots blade, breaking it, leaving the beast to impale itself. As Death Spots breaths his last, Haru collapses.
Some time later, he wakes to the sound of Mary humming and finds himself back home, with her sitting by his bed. Surprised, he asks if this is heaven, making her laugh as she looks at him, tears in her eyes, a smile on her face, and welcomes him home.
She helps him outside, where the others are relaxing, and they welcome him back to the land of the living. Turns out, they gathered themselves and went back for him, only to see he had slain Death Spots. With proof gathered, they returned, and while he recuperated, collected the thirty gold reward. To Haru’s surprise, it was Ranta who insisted they wait until he woke up to decide how to divide it. Because Haru was their leader.
What’s more, the proof of their victory was Death Spots own sword, which Moguzo wants to get reforged to replace his blade that was broken in the battle. Yume thinks they should give it a cute name, like Cleaver #1, which no one bothers to tell her isn’t exactly a cute name.
As the credits roll, we finally get more Brittany! Granted, it’s just him taking down the reward poster for Death Spots, tearing it up, and quietly complementing the party on a job well done, but I’ll take it. More Brittany is always good.
Mary has also fixed Haru’s Volunteer Solider Tags. He tore one off as he faced Death Spots, part of the tradition of Grimgar, that you at least take one of the tags back when a comrade falls. He had intended to leave it for his party to find later, but they recovered it when they rescued him, and she slips it over it his head. To himself, Haru admits the feel of it makes him feel calm, because it means he’s home.
Later on, at the tavern, Haru is met like a hero, with the whole place lifting a glass to him for having killed Death Spots. Mary watches this as she stands along side Hayashi, the other survivor of her former party. They both smile, her because she is healing, and him, because he got to see her smile again. His joy knows no bounds as she sighs at the ruckus her friends are making and heads over to join her new family.
Renji arrives, getting his usual reverent welcome as he makes his way over to Haru and the gang. There, he apologizes to Haru for what he did when Manato died. Haru tells him he doesn’t need to, admitting he wasn’t ready to accept Manato’s death at that point. Instead, he thanks Renji, not just for the kindness he showed, but for helping Haru come to terms with his loss. With a smile, Renji accepts that, obviously proud of not just Haru, but all of them.
Then Ranta declares all drinks are on them, making them the center of attention again.
Finally, the next day, Haru pays a visit to Manato’s grave, where he imagines his old friend, leader, and hero one more time. He wanted to ask if being the leader was hard, but Manato only asks if Haru finds it hard. Haru admits he isn’t sure, giving himself the answer Manato would have given.
Manato comments that Haru has grown, and when he turns, Haru finds Manato isn’t there, his need for guidance from his friend finally gone. To himself, Haru admits that he is different from yesterday, as he will be different again tomorrow. He bids Manato farewell, promising to come again.
There was a time, early on, when Haru felt worried and irritated by the fact there was a life before Grimgar. One he couldn’t remember, full of strange words and phrases that he felt he should know the meaning to, but didn’t. As he looks to his party now, however, he finds that that no longer matters. This world, this life, and the memories he makes here, are all that matter.
Here, he is alive.
And so, we close out our time with Grimgar. It’s been a hell of a ride, and one I’m glad I got to take. This bunch of characters, unsuited as they were to be adventurers and heroes, have become brave, strong, and worthy of respect.
This episode brought everyone to a satisfying place for the finale, enough so that I am content should a second season never materialize. Haru has become a fine party leader, knowing when to think, and when to act. Moguzo has become brave, reliable and clever. Yume has become a crack shot with a bow. Ranta has admitted to himself at least that he fears losing those he loves. Mary has healed.
Best of all, to me anyway, was that Shihoru became brave, strong, and fearless. That image of her was the best part of this episode. They have all changed so much, but her most of all. She had become amazing.
There’s a lot I’d like to touch on, but it’ll have to wait until next week when I tackle my series recap. For now, let’s just say I’m glad I went on this journey with these unforgettable characters. It was worth it, every step of the way.
On a different note, there is an OVA for Grimgar. It’s only eleven minutes, and it just gives more detail on the bathroom peeping scene from episode two. It doesn’t offer anything, really, besides a lot of overly dramatic justification on the guys part about seeing boobs. Except, perhaps, to revisit the idea that Yume is openly bisexual, when she admits she sometimes thinks about touching Shihoru.
Say what you want, we get few enough gay characters in anime, and bisexual ones all but don’t exist. I’ll take that one little thing from eleven minutes of hormonal boys grasping for a reason to peek at girls.
See you next week for the series recap!