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