Grimms Notes The Animation Final Episode (12): Time to play the game?

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The Jabberwock appears

This episode wasn’t much of an ending, but it could have been worse than it was. Once all of its cards are on the table, I actually think this series might have a reasonably decent message, but it definitely took its time getting there. I also found it strange that this episode seemed to introduce new recurring mechanics when it’s supposed to be the end.

Ex tries to comfort Reina

It’s not much, but I think there’s something to Ex’s sentiment here. I think it’s actually a logical step from his encounter with Jeanne, and it somewhat approaches the idea of determinism. One of the criticisms of determinism is that it trivializes human existence, a sentiment that Curly shares in this episode.

Curly doesn't recognize the story inhabitants as people

Curly takes it to a bit of an extreme, but I’ve seen the existential claim that a human life has no meaning if its solely acting on physical machinery. I think it’s an interesting idea, and it’s a claim I disagree with. But at the very least, it’s not a bad conversation to have. I would have loved to see this series approach it further, but I guess it’s too late for that.

Ex and friends prepare to face the Jabberwock

It’s a fairly small thing in this episode, but I do like the idea that the battle spans across multiple Story Zones. I think it’s a cool way of using a story that has a sequel.

The Jabberwock's weakness is in the eyes

I don’t know if it’s a reference to the original story, but I found it a bit sad that the Jabberwock had one of the most common boss weaknesses ever.

Ex faces off against Loki

I don’t even know what to make of the battle between Ex and Loki in the end. From what I can gather, Ludwig Grimm isn’t even one of the Brothers Grimm novelist duo, so he seems like an odd real-life person to bring in. Was he referenced in a fairy tale or something? I have no idea, but the series seems to want me to conclude that he’s strong.

The Jabberwock finds a new purpose

Oh hey, it’s power of friendship. I almost didn’t see you there.

Final Score: 6/10

Definitely had some interesting ideas, but they weren’t ever really approached further than surface level. I think the series takes too much time with its worldbuilding, which makes it tough to follow the rules. This seems especially important in a fantasy world.

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Grimms Notes The Animation Episode 11: Reactions galore

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Alice is placing you under arrest

From a story perspective, I found this episode to be fairly confusing, but it was also incredibly entertaining. My general impression of the story is that it doesn’t make much sense when you look at it seriously. However, I think the episode makes up for a bit with some truly entertaining lighthearted scenes. Make do with what you can, right?

Alice bans everything

I didn’t mind the general concept behind the episode, as it seemed to focus on a version of Alice who was trying to come to grips with her own maturity. She’s ultimately convinced to go against her script, rather than being taken over by the Chaos Teller. As a result, the main characters are forced to convince her, rather than just fighting her. There’s also some minor juxtaposition, as Alice is freeing herself from the confines of her Book of Fate by putting harsh restrictions on others.

Alice listens to Reina's stories

That being said, the flip-flopping in this episode made it tough to follow for me. I can understand that Alice is playing along with Reina in order to put the main characters on trial, but I don’t get a good sense of why she’s willing to side with Reina in the end. Her opinion changes so much without any clear reason.

The enemy is too strong

Did I mention how much I enjoyed the silly scenes in this episode? Because they were legitimately great.

Alice sees herself

I was wondering how the episode would approach Alice, since she’s a character we’ve seen multiple times before now. I guess having someone connect with a character in that character’s own Story Zone isn’t a big deal or something. Also, when did Reina get the ability to turn into Alice? Is it because she finally met the real character? I suppose it’s a decent call back to the episode that introduced her obsession with Alice.

Reina comforts Alice

I’m not sure what my takeaway from this episode is. It seems to be pushing the idea that escapism is okay in some sense, but it seems a bit counterintuitive. That being said, I thought the point of fairy tales is that they give some kind of message, so I don’t get why Reina seems to praise Alice’s story for having no lesson at all.

Also, having Loki show up in the end to throw everything into disarray is a bit random.

Grimms Notes The Animation Episode 10: Yet another Jeanne

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The main characters join a war

For the most part, this series still feels like it’s meandering around, and I’m not sure I like where it’s going with its moral dilemma. This episode seems like it’s supposed to be a turning point for Ex, but I’m not entirely sure I get what the takeaway is. It also seems like the series is building towards an ending where Curly changes her mind about stopping the Storytellers despite having a legitimate position.

Ex comments on Jeanne's appearance

While I get that Jeanne d’Arc has to be in every mobile game, I think that’s kind of pushing it when it comes to fairy tales. Her story is grounded in some historical truth, isn’t it?

Tao refuses to help with the war

I think one thing that this episode does very well is show how drastically different Tao’s opinion is from Ex’s opinion. Tao may represent the views of the rest of the group, but he largely sees their role as a non-invasive peace-keeping force. This is largely opposed by Ex, who stubbornly wishes to help others. In some sense, I might actually agree with both of them.

Curly asks Ex what he values most

I also quite liked Curly’s line of questioning. While it’s kind of a harsh way to put it, I have to admit that she has a point when she asks Ex whether he values saving Jeanne’s life over saving her fate. In the end, I guess you could say that Ex chooses a third option, but I think it’s nice to make him think on it.

The Chaos Teller threatens Jeanne

I’m a bit disappointed with the Chaos Teller in this episode. I know that the party needs a well-defined boss character to fight, but this guy just seems so random. It’s later revealed that he’s some representation of the hatred of the English people, which makes it harder to take him seriously. He seems like a throwaway.

Curly heals Ex

This scene is kind of nagging at me. It might be keeping in line with Curly’s support for free will, but I wonder if her helping Ex here is supposed to suggest that she’ll come to agree with him later. In my mind, Ex hasn’t done anything to deserve that yet.

Curly wonders about the fate Ex chooses

I’m curious about this scene, though. Earlier in the episode, Curly mentions that she can see the flow of fate in every Story Zone. That makes me wonder if she can also see some version of fate when it comes to the people with empty Books of Fate. In that sense, this scene could be suggesting that she can tell where Ex’s actions will lead him. Perhaps that’s reading too much into it.

Grimms Notes The Animation Episode 9: Choice and sacrifice

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Reina attempts to tune the broken world

Well, I like that this episode did more to call the heroes’ actions into question. I’m still not sure I see how it affects the general message of the show, but it’s progress nonetheless. The episode also does a weird thing where it shows its hand at the beginning of the episode before going back to tell the full story. Honestly, I don’t think it adds much to the episode, so I question that move. It’s been an incredibly slow burn, but I want to hold out on the hope that this series manages to make its concept work soon.

Aladdin guides the heroes

The addition of Aladdin to this series is really making me wonder if this series truly is a discount Kingdom Hearts.

Aladdin sacrifices himself to save Reina

Aladdin’s death was a bit of a surprise, but I do like how it framed the goal of the main characters. While his death is tragic, he’s able to break away from his predetermined fate and die on his own terms. “Restoring” the world means undoing that choice and forcing him back into his story. It’s a bit weird that the series finally calls this out now when it’s been a recurring theme in every Story Zone, but it’s nice to see the question out there.

Loki taunts Reina

Even with his clearly villainous appearance, it’s hard to argue with Loki here. While it’s true that we don’t know what a “collapsed Story Zone” entails, I can’t exactly disagree with the idea that Reina’s tuning is forcing everyone back into their roles. It all depends on what Loki and Curly mean when they say they want to “write their own stories”. Do they want to destroy every story written by a Storyteller and make their own versions? Or are they truly giving freedom to the people living in existing stories?

The gang provokes the genie

As a small note, I think the plan that the main characters come up with in the fight against the genie was pretty good. Usually, it’s just a series of attacks without a clear direction.

Reina chooses to maintain Aladdin's choice

I do like the fact that Reina chooses to respect Aladdin’s choice, but I’d like to see how this affects her actions when a character’s choice conflicts with the tuning itself. For this scenario, you can still argue that she’s just doing her job as the tuner.

Grimms Notes The Animation Episode 8: Power of the Tao family

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Tao offers to travel with Shane

This week’s episode honestly had a pretty interesting concept behind it, but I thought it had a lot of trouble tying things together. It was a good look at many of Tao’s motivations, and it fleshed him out as a character. However, his connection with Shane felt awkward, and I thought that the idea of a villainous main character was a bit wasted.

Shane and Tao return to a familiar Story Zone

I thought it was cool that Tao and Shane come from the same Story Zone, but I wish that Shane could have been developed alongside Tao in this episode. For the most part, she’s there to give context to his past, but it would have been nice to get a better sense of why they met and became friends. I get that Shane was an oni shunned by everyone around her, but what about Tao made her want to join him?

The oni are unarmed

The episode seems to continue along with the idea of questioning the fates laid out by the Storytellers. The oni are largely portrayed as victims simply trying to escape to safety. I like how the episode starts to set up Momotaro as the villain in the story, but it would have been nice to get a better understanding of why the power shift happened.

Momotaro appears with new friends

Is it ever really explained why Momotaro was attacked by the not-heartless at the beginning of the episode. I suppose you could explain it away by saying that the Chaos Teller was just manipulating him, but it’s weird to see the minions swap sides like that without much reasoning.

Momotaro sacrifices himself to save Tao

I truly dislike the “forced” misunderstanding that’s pushed by this flashback. The earlier version of the flashback is clearly cut to hint at Tao’s “betrayal”, which he later confirms in vague terms. It’s frustrating to watch since it’s clear where it’s going.

Tao lectures Momotaro

There’s a secondary consequence of this episode, which is that it confirms that blank book holders can legitimately change fates. There was this vague notion in Snow White’s story that perhaps her ultimate fate was inevitable anyway, but it seems safe to say that Tao completely altered Momotaro’s fate in his past.

Grimms Notes The Animation Episode 7: The frozen story

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Gerda chases after Kai

This week’s episode felt like it was trying to do too many things at once, which I think distracted from the main fairy tale a lot. We do get an expansion of Shane and Tao as characters, but it’s combined with the introduction of Curly as the main antagonist. In my mind, the combination leaves very little room for the Snow Queen herself. As a result, she feels like a completely undeveloped enemy, making Curly’s introduction ultimately weaker.

Gerda explains the story of this Story Zone

I really got the sense that the episode didn’t have time to expand on its fairy tale well. There’s a misdirect in which Gerda turns out to have the shard in her eye instead of Kai, but it’s never made clear why that deception exists. From what I can tell, it looks like it’s just meant to fool people who’ve read the original fairy tale. I think it might have been better if Kai revealed later down the line that he pretended to have the shard in his eye to protect Gerda.

Curly warns Ex

I’m a little disappointed that this point isn’t hammered home a bit more. Perhaps the series is still trying to build towards the idea that fate in the Story Zones isn’t necessarily a good thing. However, this episode does a poor job of complementing this line, since we don’t even get a good sense of what the fates in this Story Zone are.

Kai rejects the help of everyone

This line is later explained when the details of Kai’s contract are revealed, but it did raise an interesting question. Can fates in a Story Zone ever be in conflict? Or do these inconsistencies only occur as a result of human interpretation? I kind of like the idea behind that.

Shane talks about her past

Shane’s backstory isn’t much, but it isn’t bad. Having Reina bawl over it seemed a bit much, though.

The Snow Queen reveals herself

To be honest, I was hoping that this episode would be similar to the last episode, having no Chaos Teller. It would be cool if the series continued with the idea that fates can be cruel. Instead, the Snow Queen’s story is never truly shown. We get a brief recounting from Curly later that she lived in sadness, but it has no impact unless we can see how she lives.

Shane finishes off the Snow Queen

I do like the idea of seeing the queen from Snow White’s Story Zone as an ally for the main characters, but it does raise some questions about the mechanics around those transformations. Just how many characters can they become? Are we going to see the Snow Queen next?

Curly explains her motivations

I’m very curious about this line from Curly. It might just be a throwaway lie from the main villain, but she insists that Chaos Tellers are the only way to subvert the fates written by the Storyteller. However, an earlier episode suggested that influence from those with a blank Book of Fate could also alter a story’s course. Does that mean that the blank books are incapable of changing fates? I suppose it’s possible that they can only alter events without changing outcomes. That might be cool.

Grimms Notes The Animation Episode 6: A sudden turn

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The queen consults the mirror

I ended up enjoying this week’s episode a lot more than I expected. It’s kind of a strange departure from the previous episodes, ending with the main characters changing the trajectory of the Story Zone they visit rather than restoring it. The episode gives me hope for the series as a whole, since it seemed to finally call the Book of Fate into question. This is what I wanted to see from this series, and I’m hoping it builds on it in the future.

Tao warns everyone about the danger of staying

This episode certainly brings up a lot of interesting ideas, such as what we see from this scene. The presence of blank Books of Fate seemingly endanger Story Zones by design, which makes the main characters a disturbance if you really think about it. I wish they’d gone into more detail about the consequences of derailing the story, though. Do they become the same as Chaos Tellers?

Snow White finds her prince

Here’s another interesting concept. When Ex screws up the story in Snow White’s Book of Fate, she implicitly assumes that he’s fulfilling it. She later reveals that she knew all along that he wasn’t her prince, but I still like what the scene suggested about the faith people have in their fates. They can be easily deceived by people with blank books, it seems.

The queen's fate is to die

I liked how the episode built up the feeling of dissonance with the queen. It lays out an inevitable conclusion in the Book of Fate that’s horrible enough to make you wonder if it’s even a good thing for the story to continue as written. It calls the rest of the series into question.

The queen tells Snow White her fate

That’s later compounded when it’s revealed that Snow White doesn’t actually hate the queen. It actually almost feels like a meta thing when I think about it. In the original Brothers Grimm tale, the queen is killed as is fated in this episode, forced to dance with red-hot irons on her feet. In a way, the main characters change the story to soften it, almost like how our modern-day culture has softened the story of Snow White through Disney. Just a thought.

The Storyteller is questioned

I really hope the main characters start doubting this tuning thing going forward. It’s pretty clear from this Story Zone that fate is not always the right way to go. That being said, I wonder if the episode also undercuts itself a bit with the ending. It leaves off with this half-conclusion that suggests that fate might not be so easy to change, which bugged me a bit. Still, I remain a lot more hopeful than I was before.

Grimms Notes The Animation Episode 5: The obligatory beach episode

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Yep, this is the beach episode

This week’s episode was a strange one. From a logical standpoint, it felt weak, despite having an interesting concept behind it. I honestly think that the series is moving towards a promising direction, even if this episode overtly seemed like a return to the structure of the first two episodes. The introduction of a larger villain at the end of the episode gives me some hope at something deeper in the story, I guess.

Meeting the beached Silver

Part of what I liked about this episode is that we’re no longer focused on Ex. In previous episodes, I got the sense that the episodes largely revolved around him, but he felt mostly non-existent in this episode. I think it’s important for this to happen, since we still don’t have very strong characterization on the other three members of the main cast.

Shane concludes that this is Treasure Island

This line from Shane seemed like a bit of a throwaway, but it actually raised a big question for me. Why exactly are the blank book holders familiar with the stories of the various Story Zones? Are they standard literature in every home world? Were they taught all of the major fairy tales?

Tao likes adventure

It’s weird that this episode focuses so much on Reina’s clumsiness, when it seemed to want to emphasize Tao’s own personality. Maybe I’m just overthinking it.

Silver tricks Jim into finding the gold

I don’t really have a problem with Silver’s double-cross, but can someone explain his plan to me? From what I gathered, he was trying to lure crews to Flint’s treasure in order to turn them into villains to build his own pirate crew. However, Reina states earlier in the episode that he could have already turned them into villains if they hadn’t been holding blank books. So…what exactly was stopping him from just changing the people on the ship he attacked rather than leading Jim to gold?

Everyone dons swimsuits

I assume this is a reference to some kind of swimsuit event in the game that this series is based on. I mean…it works.

Silver fights against his fate

Also, I felt like the underlying theme of this episode was largely underdeveloped. Silver has a perfectly reasonable motivation for his actions. Why should he let fate decide whether he should pursue his dream? In the end, the story seems to end with the idea that you can still do what you want even if you know you’ll fail, but it doesn’t address the role of the main characters. By defeating him as a Chaos Teller, they’re effectively telling him that he has to accept his fate, which is a weird message.

Grimms Notes The Animation Episode 4: The happy ending

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Cinderella's story is told

I might have approached this episode with the wrong mindset, since I hoping for a bit of a darker turn. Instead, the resolution for Cinderella’s story is pretty standard and doesn’t seem to cause any trouble. This episode seems to conclude our “introduction” into the world, which is nice. My hope now is that the episodes to come don’t just fall back to the pattern that we saw in the first two episodes, though.

Reina warns Ex about the consequences of his interference

I did like how Reina portrays the blank books in this episode. Because they introduce the uncertainty of “free will”, they create the possibility for negative outcomes. I would have liked to see the conversation go further, though. Even if Ex’s interference could make Cinderella suffer, he has also seen her suffer as a result of her fate.

The fairy godmother wishes to save Cinderella from suffering

So…does the book of fate stop at the “happy ending” like a fairy tale would? It seems like Cinderella should see this coming. There’s always the possibility that this is caused by people with blank books, but it feels like it would be common in any story if that were the case.

Ex's wild crest is revealed

Well, this answers a question I raised in an earlier episode. Ex has a wild card power after all. It was also nice to see the other main characters use protagonists from different stories.

Reina reacts to seeing Alice

It was totally random, but I really enjoyed watching Reina fawn over Alice.

Loki introduces himself

Honestly, Loki still seems like he has a decent point with his goal to free people from their scripts. He just seems so much like a token villain to be taken seriously. Also, the series seems to be hiding some kind of connection between Reina and Loki for some reason. Are they siblings?

Reina decides on her own role

I actually think it might be interesting if the holders of the blank books were inadvertently sticking themselves to a script by trying to fix the stories. I guess I’m still holding out for some sort of dark twist in this series.

Grimms Notes The Animation Episode 3: Back to once upon a time

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Ex watches a bird fly through the sky while pondering his fate

This week’s episode takes a step back to reintroduce the characters somewhat. This story was hinted at in the previous episode, but I didn’t expect to actually see it play out in its entirety. In some sense, I think that this episode starts to provide the context that’s missing, but it feels weirdly abrupt. I’m curious to see how it plays out, since it feels like it might finally explain the show’s direction.

Cinderella meets Ex

To put it bluntly, I think the timing of the episode is strange. I understanding starting in the middle and then going back to provide context, but it feels like this episode should have happened last week. Don Quixote’s story stands on its own, so there’s no real benefit to showing it before this one (other than to showcase Red Riding Hood again). Additionally, starting this story in the previous episode would mean that Ex’s backstory would reach its climax at that all-important episode three mark.

The townspeople gossip about Ex's lack of a fate

I really want to like this concept of the books of fate. Honestly, I can relate to Ex, since I had a similar sense growing up. I never truly had a good sense of what I wanted to do in life, and I was often surrounded by people with burning passions for their futures. As the indecisive one in the group, I can understand feeling lost when everyone else seems to have their entire life planned out.

Cinderella discusses her fate

That being said, I can’t exactly agree with how the books of fate are portrayed in this series. They feel so cheap. I can understand why people would rely on something like that, since certainty provides a lot of comfort. But it feels so disconcerting to watch people feel so happy about having a scripted life. It’s hard to get myself into the mindset of these people, never having known the uncertainty of normal life, and I don’t think the series conveys that concept well.

Loki messes around

As I mentioned with the previous episode, I find it hard to fully disagree with the concept of the Chaos Tellers. In a scripted world, giving the people choice seems fine, so I have trouble seeing them as evil. I feel like the show is going to have to do a lot to convince me in that regard.

Ex becomes Roxas

Okay, this series looks more and more like Kingdom Hearts with each passing episode. I’m not sure what character that’s supposed to be, but he looks a lot like Roxas.

Cinderella is the main character

As a side note, I find it interesting that Reina constantly takes Cinderella’s form in the first two episodes. It could be an atonement of sorts for failing to save her here.

Also, I find it weird that this focus on finding the “main character” is just coming up now.