Grisaia no Kajitsu Episode 1: A Promising Start

If you have been paying attention to anything I say, you would know I’ve been hyping Grisaia no Kajitsu since it was announced to air fall season. As someone who read the entire original trilogy (and even the magical girl spinoff heh), I have incredibly high hopes (not expectations) for this anime. While I’m expecting the anime to fail to meet those hopes, I do think it will regardless be better than most non visual novel readers would give credit based off the synopsis alone because the studio will honestly need to try to make this terrible. Grisaia’s premise is one that appears to be a very generic harem, and it sort of is, at least as far as the first game goes. However, beneath the surface, a well done adaptation will reveal themes and character depth that puts it far above any generic harem that people are used to. As for this first episode, well, that’s what this post is for!

Grisaia no Kajitsu
Grisaia no Kajitsu

The anime starts with some rather ominous text and a glimpse at the 5 heroines. So right off the bat, they’re telling you that these girls are not quite as they seem. I’m not sure how I feel about that. Next we see the protagonist Kazami Yuuji being detained at a police station. Unfortunately, the scene is incredibly brief but it still manages to retain the important parts – Yuuji’s attitude and a mention of a “special organization.” Regardless, the school principal Tachibana Chizuru comes to pick him up; they seem to already be acquainted. She almost causes a car crash because her character is suffering like that.

The police really don't like you, by the way.
The police really don’t like you, by the way.
That does not look safe.
That does not look safe.

She introduces him to the Mihama Academy, the normal school he wished for. Why would he wish for a normal school? And yet, there are only 6 “elites” in this school, including Yuuji. That hardly sounds normal to me. There is a lot emphasis on normal school life, which is normally not normal to emphasize. At the school dorms, we encounter Komine Sachi, the wonderful shark maid. She is wearing a maid uniform but is actually a student and gives quite a lengthy explanation as to why. She takes over leading Yuuji around the dorm. Then realizes she doesn’t know how to address him, so she asks to call him by the overly familiar name Yuu-kun but opts for Kazami-san instead. This is actually pretty relevant to Japanese culture, if you aren’t aware. I guess she’s trying to get a lead on the other girls.

Yay for ordinary!
Yay for normal!
Yes, we got it the first 10 times.
Yes, we got it the first 10 times.
Glorious animated shark maid.
Glorious animated shark maid.
Sachi trying to move up on the harem ladder awfully fast.
Sachi trying to move up on the harem ladder awfully fast.

The next morning, we get a completely naked Yuuji (after just seeing him naked in the bath) who goes about his standard morning routine. And you thought this was going to be a harem full with female fanservice? Do not underestimate the manly man known as Kazami Yuuji. He references his “master,” and I can assure you his “master” did a great job teaching him how to be a man among men, not that he has much competition in anime, although he still has a problem dealing with “big” women. After his morning routine, he bumps into Suou Amane, woman of boobs, and Irisu Makina, child of lolis. Amane is a friendly character while Makina is a very shy and awkward child (except not actually a child. I admit, the loli thing can get pretty weird despite my love for Grisaia). We learn a bit more about Yuuji’s straightforward personality – very different than indecisive MCs you are used to, I hope.

Grisaia, a harem where we see the male naked most often.
Grisaia, a harem where we see the male naked most often.
Oh god no, not the snacks!
Oh god no, not the snacks!

Yuuji arrives to school early and hears someone’s voice – Matsushima Michiru, the twintail tsundere. For some reason she is practicing tsundere lines. Actually, she is faking being a tsundere for some strange reason. She believes she pulls off the act perfectly but well…I’m sorry, Michiru, we will be laughing at your suffering for the entire anime. She has a pretty strange personality but what a lovable girl who tries so hard yet is so transparent. If you don’t think her suffering is palpable yet, it will be.

What is she practicing?
Practicing to be a tsundere.
It doesn't go well when you announce it afterwards.
It doesn’t go well when you announce it afterwards.
Tsundere have it rough.
Tsundere have it rough.

Afterwards, class finally begins. For a school with a total of 6 students, it is really big and has a lot of desks. Sachi calls Michiru, Michiru-sama, and makes a big deal about absolutely saying it just because Michiru requested it, what a tease.  Also, for some reason there is a student missing. Yuuji goes out of his way to meet her – Sakaki Yumiko, the fake Gahara. The first thing she does is…try to stab him which he skillfully stops. No, don’t get your hopes up, I told you she is a fake Gahara. Your hopes will only be crushed.

Don't make Sachi cry D:
Don’t make Sachi cry D:
Fake Gahara is fake.
Fake Gahara is fake.

Upon returning to the dorm, Yuuji makes some absurd assumptions about his fellow classmates. He then notices a broken tape seal on his door and opens the door to apprehend the…blinding white light! Censorship is nice and all but hey look boobs. And how does our harem MC react? In the most casual way possible, he asks why there is a stripper in his room. Surely by now you understand, as I told you, not to underestimate the man known as Kazami Yuuji. Amane too, is the opposite of your standard harem females. They continue talking in the most casual way possible, ignoring that blinding white light. As the most unexpected for a harem turn of (or lack of) events plays out, we find Yuuji used to have an older sister, Kazuki, who died several years ago. That’s some serious small talk. She then realizes he is a pathetic male who doesn’t cook delicious food so she invites him to dinner. And then. He realizes something strange about how Amane got into his room…

Scary eyes
Scary eyes
That does not look nice.
That does not look nice.
Is she mental?
Is she mental?
Why are you smiling?
Why are you smiling?
I guess it's too hard to foreshadow her stuff.
I guess it’s too hard to foreshadow her stuff.
What in the world are you making?
What in the world are you making?
I will never accept you either.
I will never accept you either.

Yuuji is called for “work” and pulls out a suspicious case.

I see something suspicious.
I wonder what he’s looking at.

To repeat the words of the PV,

“There is no one normal at this school. And that includes you.”

Overall, I thought it was a very well done episode. I think anime viewers will feel all the characters got introduced too fast to really care much, but hopefully, you will learn their personalities and quirks as the anime progresses. It followed the visual novel pretty faithfully, except it did cut out a lot of stuff, which I can’t really blame them for because the common route is just so long. There was fan service, but nothing too extreme. Sure, there was the nudity of Amane, but that was actually straight out of source and is kind of necessary to showcase Yuuji’s character (as well as, to an extent, Amane’s), as you saw they both react in ways that are nothing like a normal harem show. There was a lot of foreshadowing going on this episode, especially at the end, so I’d love to hear anime-only viewer’s thoughts and theories as it should be obvious already that this is no normal school. I don’t like ending on such a serious tone so quickly as part of the charm of the visual novel was all the great school life comedy, and I hope they do the comedy justice before jumping into the dramatic plot (though I also wonder if they will alternate between the two as they adapt the routes). On the note of routes, some of the routes are actually pretty bad while others are good so even a “perfect” adaptation of all routes will lead to some ups and downs. There is also a weird issue where they will actually lack any source material to work with if they want to adapt the sequels due to retcons… Anyway, I suppose they are trying to show people that this is going to get much more serious, but some of the foreshadowing was too much in my opinion. Either way, it looks like this will not be butchered into a harem and will be attempting to adapt all the routes faithfully, which honestly could still fail. There are also a couple very small things that lead me to believe they plan to adapt the full trilogy, but they are probably just teasing us visual novel readers as of now. I hope this episode has sparked some interest in anime-only viewers because I’m actually much more excited after seeing this first episode.

Kaze

Kaze is a graduate from the University of Tokyo who currently works on developing gene therapies for genetic diseases. He is a Nanatard since 2009 and mostly spends his time reading VNs and studying Japanese. Strangely enough, also a devout Christian.

9 thoughts on “Grisaia no Kajitsu Episode 1: A Promising Start

  1. I think this is a case of it meaning a lot more for people who already followed the prior works. The interactions come across as pretty odd, especially Yuuji in that scene in his room. He takes it all in stride, and she doesn’t even bother to cover up. Kind of getting Little Buster and Chaos; Head vibes, especially the latter-Chaos; Head had all the female characters suffer pretty hardcore too.

    1. For foreshadow, yes of course, but my issue isn’t the meaning but its tone, as originally the story starts with just pure comedy with only very subtle hints of anything serious that you wouldn’t notice. So much foreshadow makes for a strange contrast.
      The interactions are odd, but the characters are odd, and it’s being pretty faithful to the VN, so I think that’s just not yet realizing that the interactions fit the character personalities.

  2. the Hype is real. really loved this episode. gonna be interesting how all the routes are going to be interwoven into one story =D

  3. I was reading about the VN and it seems to have some unsavory elements (besides the typical sex scenes for these kind of VN’s), I hope some of these are skipped for this anime.

    Too much fanservice, but at least they had a inch of decency and put that white light censor.

    I liked michiru, what an entertaining character!

    In general, I think it was slow paced, and with a certain sense of bleakness or solitude. Regarding art direction, I like the coloring and character designs, although the CG wasn’t that good. Specially notorious in the backgrounds for some parts of the highway scene.

    Still, not a show I would deem very recommendable.

  4. I watched this last night. Didn’t hear about the VN. For some reason I watch harem animes and I don’t like harem animes as much as someone should if they watch continue to watch that genre; however, with that said, this show has some promise. I enjoy the MC, very much different from many in the genre which has incited a flame of hope that this is going to be an actual decent protagonist. Another promising sign is the fact that almost every girl showed potential to be more than their assigned archetype by the first episode alone. The comedy is nicely done with some wit tossed in with some situational humor. I really hope it lives up to the hype that you’ve attached!

  5. I’m actually in the middle of reading the visual novel. I’d be hard-pressed to find the time to devour it in a few long sittings, so instead I’m reading it one small chunk at a time. As such, I’m still in the thus far rather light-hearted common route, free of dramatic reveals. Thus when I watched this first episode, I was rather chagrined to be shown, among other things, Sachi building pipe bombs in her room. What justifies such heavy “foreshadowing” this early on? Are anime-only viewers expected to forget those things during the several episodes of innocent slice-of-life? Or are they suppose to now regard their every action with suspicion? Or are the school hijinks and vignettes of the common route going to be cut off unexpectedly short? That would be a shame, since unless the character arcs are exceptionally good (which they don’t seem to be according to various testimonies), the humor and character interactions are what make this series stand out.

    1. That is quite unfortunate. Some of the foreshadowing they did was brilliant (I’m actually not sure if it was from the VN or not because the subtlety meant I wouldn’t have noticed it when I first read). However, those last 2 minutes were definitely questionable. Cutting the common route short is inevitable because it is just way too long, so the question is how short will it become? I don’t know, but I agree it will be a shame and even damaging if they cut too much to jump straight into the drama. I think they are just worrying too much about attracting viewers to something that isn’t actually generic harem and letting that influence their choices. To be fair, the heavy foreshadowing worked really well on some people, so I can’t say it was entirely a bad decision.

  6. Honestly I really dont like all the fanservice. It’s really just beyond annoying I watched episode 1 and 2 but it just makes me sick to see this kind of fanservice.

    1. The fanservice is really a barrier for a lot of us, I think. I’m eager to see where this series goes…but not so eager that I’ll watch a series with this much fanservice, unfortunately.

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