I’m going to start by listing the bad things, because they will be far more apparent than the good things to the people who haven’t read Muv Luv, which I assume is almost everyone who will be reading this. Schwarzesmarken is a very “grimdark” kind of show. It also has busty teenagers wearing skintight body suits and alternate history drama(the story takes place in East Germany in 1983). The BETA, i.e. the aliens, are CG. One of the main characters, Theodor, is one of those “rational enlightened by my own cold heart” people, and he looks down on everyone. There’s also a little sister-type character. Yeah, this definitely sounds like a VN or LN adaptation. Which it is, because it’s based on an LN spin-off of a VN.
But for me, a person who has read Muv Luv Alternative and loved it, the only things that really bother me are Theodor and the little sister character. The grimdarkness is the same as it was in MLA, as is the alternate history. In fact, the East Germany setting is in some ways more interesting than the Japanese setting of the VN. The BETA being CG is not a problem for me, because in the VN they were literally just sprites moving back and forth, so anything is pretty much an upgrade. And the bodysuits? Hey, at least the fronts are solidly coloured here. In the 18+ version of the VN, the suits are transparent.
My favourite thing so far is the fact that this show nails the visual direction of the VN. Here are a few examples. VNs have many restrictions when it comes to visuals and animation, but MLA dealt with those by the choosing points of view that are the most interesting, such as the first-person view of the mech HUDs, picture-in-picture shots with the mechs and their respective pilots, as well as large sweeping shots of artillery that show the huge scale of the battles. So far, I could not be happier about how the show looks. I’m greatly looking forward to next week’s episode.
Verdict: Great episode in my opinion, but I assume the popular opinion will vary quite a lot.
Before I even watched the first episode of this show, I said on Twitter that I’d enjoy ripping it to shreds. In retrospect, that was a stupid thing to say, though I only realised that after it was pointed out to me. So perhaps it was fortunate, then, that the first episode of Hai to Gensou no Grimgar didn’t make me want to rip it to shreds. Don’t get me wrong, it still bored me like all shows of this particular genre do and I definitely won’t be continuing it, but it wasn’t as aggressively bad as I thought it’d be. Sure, the scene with the “bully” was kind of disgusting, but that was the only part of the episode that I actively disliked. The fanservice that sometimes accompanies shows like this was definitely there, but it was maybe a bit more restrained than I’d expected.
And I do have to admit that the show looked just as good as the PV promised. The character and outfit designs weren’t particularly impressive, but the art, both the backgrounds and the character art, definitely was. The character animation ranged from serviceable to great, but I’m not sure if that’ll last past the first few episodes. In conclusion, I find it kind of regrettable that I’m not at all a fan of shows like this. But this episode did give me a few reasons to dislike it, so I don’t feel like my dislike is totally unjustified.
Verdict: Looks great, but I’m not at all interested in what it’s offering. I’ll pass.