Kingdom Hearts: Brothers Grimm Edition!
Mobile game anime adaptation has distilled what with the revival of isekai animes and whatnot but seeing, Grimms Notes The Animation and LA’s attitude towards mobile game adaptations of it piquing LA’s interest towards the mobile game itself, does the anime do any favours?
Grimms Notes The Animation takes place in a world where everyone has books that tells of their fate and the people are cordoned off in “Story Zones”, but “Chaos Tellers” invade writing and twisting the fates of the Story Zones, but it’s up to those with blank books to change fate and realign the Story Zones to their proper fates. So yeah…LA’s nudge that this is like Kingdom Hearts but for Brothers Grimm stories is quite telling and this being actually a mobile game with Square Enix ties, it actually kinda makes sense.
The plot follows an episodic structure, where the main cast consisting of Ex, the player avatar voiced by Ryota Osaka, Shane voiced by Miyu Kubata, Reina voiced by…Reina Ueda and Tao voiced by Takuya Eguchi goes into a Story Zone and fight the Chaos Teller that’s causing havoc, realign the people’s fates and off to the next Story Zone, where some of the interest and intrigue that does come from this premise is the classic stories we know and taken to somewhat interesting directions, like looking introspectively towards the story of Snow White and looking at the QUEEN’s perspective, Momotaro and his easily swayed sense of justice and a differing perspective on the character of Aladdin if he actually never had a hold of the lamp. The thing is the characters LA just noted off, due to how the world works, some characters might even replace some other main roles within their Zones and heck even “death” as a topic comes up and what happens to them, so in a ways it’s meta, not the good meta but it’s nice they tried in a ways.
With that our main cast do develop as characters as they go through each Story Zone with even some backstory to Ex, the player avatar who can turn into multiple heroes at once. Reina is your typical leader stereotype but with the penchant for food but she has beef with a certain Chaos Teller which is why she goes on the journey in the first place, Tao is your typical genki “older brother” stereotype and has something of dark past in his Story Zone while Shane is the least developed of the cast with a passing mention of her past but she was LA’s favorite character merely due to her smug personality and deadpan stoic responses during the more comedic moments that she stood out.
Now the major villain of the anime and by extension the game does somewhat bring up a very good point in the anime about fate making them somewhat rational villains for a cause and with the main cast “fixing” their fates and due the subject matter of characters being in Brother Grimms and beyond and MANY MANY of the characters having terrible fates including the villains of the Story Zones who’s fate in BIRTH are etched into them is somewhat terrifying, the major villains want’s the change it so everyone can be happy.
In terms of animation by Brains Base, well it’s ok to say the least, everything from background work, decent polished character designs and ok fight scenes. REALLY not much to talk about in the animation front.
As for voice cast, well it’s the same really though some of the minor characters voice actors were ok as well. MVP would easily go to Miyu Kubata as Shane because it’s Shane.
Grimms Notes The Animation is your textbook definition of a boilerplate mobile game anime adaptation in all regards, sure it has some depth but lacking in it’s character developments of the main cast and cares more about it’s lore and world building and that’s ok, but as much as this Kingdom Hearts with Brother Grimm characters you know what the most pointless thing in Kingdom Hearts became outside of the major plotline?, the worlds, yet oddly enough Grimms Notes The Animation has it the other way around with it’s CHARACTERS being the biggest detriment of the anime.
Grimms Notes The Animation isn’t a horrible mobile game anime adaptation per say, more like Brains Base looked for the safest route and did the barest minimum in trying to advertise the mobile game to us…take that like you will.
Just a warning note, I knew of the game and have played it at the time of its release. However, even though I did enjoy and see great potential in its story line, I still dropped playing the game pretty early on since I saw no chance of an ending to the game's plot. This review will be heavily affected by that experience.
Also, this review will have heavy spoilers for the series and only serves as a view to it instead of a conclusion. If you really want to know what it's like, try the series out anyway.
For the first thing, as I mentioned above, I saw great potential in Grimms Note story line.
Like you would have seen it many time in the Anime had you run through it once, basically, everyone has a book telling them what will happen in their life that only they themselves can read at birth. But there are times when exceptions do happen and our main protagonists and main antagonists are such exceptions. They have no written fate, allowing them to travel through the thick fog existing somewhere in their worlds and they can become any hero they want to fight the chaos of wherever they set foot to.
Basically, they are the travelers, the adventurers in many of the "Isekai" motif series. This already implies a lot of things the moment it was introduced in the game: you, as the protagonist can be anything, can be a hero anywhere you go to, be anyone you want to which is the one thing almost no other can do. You are nothing, but you can be everything exactly because you are nothing, as long as you choose to do it. It's a rather up lifting way to see the plot. But then, if you look at it differently, it seems as though you can never really be yourself, always borrowing someone else's life to talk as your own, to act as your own. Then is it anything really good? You have no role in life so it's like you can't do anything for other people. You can choose anything you want to be, but it's always limited to what you know of, so it's not exactly like you have control over it either. Such dilemma can lead to a number one story line and this and that....
Yet, both the Anime and the original game chose a different approach to it. They want to repeat similar stories that have already succeeded in the past instead of making something new. But well, it's not exactly bad either since for an online game, repetitive is actually helping it to stay afloat to users.
But for an Anime, it really kills off possibilities unlike the game. It was not any thing as atmospheric like in the game. It has a too repetitive and boring start that you can't exactly hope for anything at the end. And it played true since "every" episode was a different folk tale or well known tale somewhere right up to even last episode. Episodic as you might call it. Well, it's an online game adaptation. It should do something that isn't breaking the original game's lore. What's with the cliched protagonists and antagonists.
But wait? Antagonists? Oh, right, the villains who keep bringing Chaos Tellers into a Story Zone to interfere with its story, its fate and ultimately, break them. Hm? Their motive? Well, let's see.... To fight back, to struggle against the cruel Story Teller who bestowed upon them, them all, all characters, blank or filled, a fate that keeps repeating. Red Riding Hood has to be eaten by the wolf, Cinderella bullied and driven like a slave but still might not find happiness in her marriage with the prince, John Silver has to live the life with dreams never coming true, Snow White being fed a poison apple and forgets all the love she was given so she execute the queen in the most cruel way just to become that same queen and be executed the same way by a new Snow White, Snow Queen living all alone in her cold, cold castle of ice and solitude where she is the queen, the oni and the humans can't stop killing each other and any rich will corrupt the most gullible person, Aladdin obtains wealth, power and even women to end up becoming the sultan he fought, Jeane d'Arc fights for France but then abandoned and burned to death and Jabberwock doesn't even have to himself a proper existence. The cruel in all those story is what they fight against. And they fight to defy the Story Teller, they fight to "Rebel Against the God". They fight for the equality to those characters who has the shorter straw. They fight for the have not. So that makes them righteous... I guess.... Despite the damage they might, might have and will cause.
Wait? They are right? Does that mean we should side with them? No of course not. They still cause worlds, or Story Zones to collapse after all. All of the cruelty still doesn't justify an even bigger cruelty: making worlds with people living in it collapse that cease to exist. So, that's why they can not win, that why protagonist, despite all the bad thing happened to them, with only a little kindness shown to themselves, they will fight for the lives of many, even if it means trampling down on lives they might have saved or even actually saved for real.
Oh, now that's a great dilemma. Only thing is that it takes too long to see and even with the hints here and there, it's still not very convincing.
So, for the least, the plot was actually good.
But the execution of story line was terrible. Most the stories are crammed into only 1 episode. Every hint of character backgrounds were told out loud and easy to understand despite how deep their problems are. Even the plot twist at the end is just a case of Deus Ex Machina, despite being a real shocker.
Everything else was rather generic. The art and animation was clean enough. Voice acting although still don't quite sound convincing and keep cramming punch lines here and there, still good enough. The music was actually a let down since they use new pieces of music for opening and ending and only use the game main theme, which was exceptionally good, as inserted background music.
Wait a minute!!! The game main theme song? Now that I think about it, Wasureji no Kotonoha really just fits in with the Anime, more than what I feel of how it fits to the game. Oh now that was clever. That actually makes more sense now. As the thought struck me, the whole series became rather clear. It was another stupid ass message but still a multi-layered message of of stupid ass messages.
So, to repeat myself, if you really want to see how it is, try the series out. And if you can, try out the game main theme song too to appreciate the series a little bit more. It's Wasureji no Kotonoha and should be available somewhere since it's the internet.