Grimoire of Zero – Preview
Grimoire of Zero:
Original Air Dates: April 10th, 2017 – ???
Synopsis: It is the year 526 of the Liturgical Calendar. The world learned of the existence of witches, and their practice of the notorious art of sorcery. For this, out of fear, man persecuted the witches and as they fought back the level of violence only worsened. But nevertheless, the world did not come to know anything about the secret study of magic.
A third party, suffering from the growing witch hunt, half-men, half-beast find themselves feared, hated and hunted just as much as the witches. One such ‘Beastfallen’ as they’ve been come to know, becomes a mercenary, seeking to one day perhaps attain a human form and no longer face the hatred of man. One day he stumbles upon a witch by the name of Zero, who’s acquaintance will change his life forever as she promises to give him a human form for giving her his protection.
Agreeing to aid her in exchange for a shot at attaining humanity, the mercenary joins Zero in her quest to find a section of “The Book of Zero” a magical grimoire she claims has the power to bring the entire world to its knees.
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Grimoire of Zero’s animation doesn’t make for a great first impression. Designs are lacking in detail, not terribly appealing and the entire production just comes off as bland and unimpressive. Thankfully there’s a lot more to this series than its visuals.
Linny: What elevates Grimoire of Zero is its story and characters. For starters, we have an unusual male lead in the form of a character known only by the name of Mercenary for now. He’s a ‘beastfallen’, a hybrid between human and beasts created by witches for their own selfish means, but who now seeks vengeance against them for the form they’ve cursed him with. He’s stoic and has a tragic backstory that should melt most hearts. He isn’t really a comedic character, but the episode manages to pull off a few amusing gags that help audiences warm to his charming character.
Tom: Our Beastfallen Mercenary lead is a fun main character. He’s got a couple of great comedic moments and a tragic backstory that thankfully doesn’t play itself up too much, making him feel like a solid tragic character. Zero, the witch who befriends the Mercenary, isn’t nearly as interesting, but the way she interacts with the Beastfallen, whose name she says she doesn’t need to know, is a lot of fun and makes for where a lot of this premiere’s entertainment comes from.
Linny: For now, one could describe Zero as the stereotypical spunky female heroine who’s got enough skills to be confident and a little vain. She’s not afraid to call herself amazing or beautiful and has the potential to be an entertaining lead as well through her own comedic shenanigans. And for those wondering, so far, there’s no sign of fan service.
Tom: If Grimoire of Zero is going to focus on Zero and the Mercenary’s journey as an odd-couple pairing, while toying with grander implications of the dangerous book they’re in search of, its likely to be a fun ride. I get a kind of Chika the Coffin Princess type vibe here, an unlikely pair starting from nothing and gradually rising to save the world. It’s a tad cliche but, as we’ve mentioned, its the characters that really sell us on retreading this all too common fantasy tale.
Linny: Grimoire’s first episode starts off a tad broody as we get several minutes of exposition about the history of witch hunting and witness the witches being burnt at the stake. However, once our two leads meet up, the tone lightens up, turning the show into what feels like a road trip/odd couple on a quest. Now this is probably me being overly cautious, but if you are extremely sensitive to any bloodshed onscreen, there is one blood splattered flashback in the episode. It isn’t gratuitous by any means but I’d like to point out that the show does indeed have some darker notes.
Tom: Grimoire of Zero isn’t reinventing the wheel, but it is offering some solid backstory drama, comedy and wonderful character interactions that sell me down the path of another tale about saving some fantasy world from impending calamity. There’s an air of imperfection to the world’s social landscape that helps to keep this feeling darker and perhaps a tad more grounded and engaging than other fantasy tales where things aren’t nearly as bleak and foreboding. This series doesn’t seem to dwell too long on those darker notes either, finding a tidy balance between its comedic elements and its darker nature.
Linny: What Grimoire lacks in animation quality, it makes up for with an engaging plot and characters. It’s a little dark and, despite involving magic, there are still a lot of realistic themes and emotional tones thrown in. There’s also plenty of action and comedy, making for a well balanced story that should appeal to most viewers, especially fans of the odd duo set up.
Grimoire of Zero is available for streaming via Amazon’s Anime Strike Channel