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I was wondering when I’d get the chance to talk about the game that has been consuming roughly half of my free time for the past year. And on that note, welcome to the August 2018 OWLS blog tour. This month’s topic is Journey, and I will let the magical topic dispensers tell you what that entails:
We have all heard this saying in some shape or form: “Life is a journey.” We travel down a path in hope that we reach a goal or destination, but the travel in getting there isn’t always easy. Along the way, we encounter some personal struggles. It is in those moments where we must overcome an adversity to complete our journey or take a different route or path instead. In this month’s OWLS post, we will be discussing the personal journeys of pop culture creators, icons, and characters. We will explore the journeys that these characters went through, discuss the process and experiences they had on their journeys, what they discover about themselves, or share our own personal journeys.
Now, a journey is a pretty broad idea, so I naturally had trouble picking a series to cover. Seriously, my scratch list of potential ideas was longer than the previous two months combined.
The problem is that basically any anime in an inherent journey in some sense. At the end of the day, I settled on Granblue Fantasy because it embodied a literal journey along with the literary one. Plus, I just play the game a lot. What can I say?
To give a brief introduction, Granblue Fantasy was an anime adaptation of a browser game. That’s not to be confused with this season’s “Grand Blue”, which is a bit different. The series takes place in a world where the people live on flying islands in the sky. The main character, Gran (or Djeeta), aspires to become a skyfarer like his father and reach Estalucia, the Island of the Astrals. Oh, and he has a lizard companion named Vyrn, but we don’t talk about Vyrn.
He’s given the opportunity when he meets Lyria, a girl who escaped from the laboratory that was experimenting on her, and her companion, Katalina. Lyria becomes linked to Gran (for reasons that become more entertaining when you consider the story from Djeeta’s perspective), and the three (plus lizard) set off together in search of the Island of the Astrals.
From there, the story is pretty typical for fantasy. The group set up a skyfarer crew, meet some people, recruit more allies, and generally meddle in the affairs of any island they visit. It’s a series with no clear end in sight, but it’s rich with story and an expansive world.
Unfortunately, the adaptation doesn’t have the greatest animation, but it was still surprisingly enjoyable to watch as a fantasy series. I think it greatly appealed to me as someone who travels the world a lot.
When I finished watching the adaptation, I became curious about the game it was based on. Although the game was never officially released in the west, the Japanese version of the app actually has a full English translation.
The game itself actually has a lot of mechanics that make it a bit daunting in the beginning but rewarding once you figure them out. The strength of your team is not determined only by the strength of your characters but also the combined power of weapons and support summons.
It’s pretty cheesy, but you could say that watching the anime was only the start of the journey for me. This post probably ends up being a shameless advertisement, but I do recommend the game. It’s grindy as hell, but I’ve found it fun. Plus, they have all sorts of collaborations. A Love Live collaboration is just finishing up, and there have also been Persona 5 and Attack on Titan collaborations in the past.
That’s all I have for this month. I don’t really have a big overarching question to end on this time, but I’ll say this. When I started writing anime reviews, I put an undue amount of attention on endings. Nowadays, I feel like I’m fine with an enjoyable journey, regardless of whether the ending resolves everything.
As always, I invite you to check out my OWLS neighbors if you enjoyed this post and want to see more. Preceding me was Dale over at That Baka Blog with a post about the director, Shinichiro Watanabe.
And up next is Scott over at Mechanical Anime Reviews.