Should one potentially innocuous spoiler ruin your entire viewing experience?
One complaint people have about Juuni Taisen is that it’s too obvious where it’s going to go – from the ED, you can already tell who’s going to die and who’s going to win. However, I tackled Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash after Juuni Taisen, only knowing that in the former, someone or something was going to die and it was going to be treated respectfully, because that’s what I saw somewhere. I don’t remember exactly where this spoiler hails from, but it could’ve been Karandi hyping it up, since I know she loves Grimgar.
Therefore I went into the show detecting a sense of melancholy from episode 1. It kept me on edge, but I didn’t know why.
Come episode 2 and something – a goblin – indeed died. It died inconsequentially. From this, I thought it was just going to be “even though my party struggles at first, we’re going to be the greatest party in this fantasy world!” sort of thing exclusive to RPG-style fantasy shows, and that would have been all it was.
I was so, so wrong.
I noted for the light novel adaption project, at the episode 3 point to be specific, that “Manato [seemed] the most developed”. He was in the spotlight so much, he crowded out the real hero – Haruhiro. We know that Haruhiro is the true protagonist because we see his guild master when the training happens early on.
Well…guess who dies in episode 4?
Compare that to how Juuni Taisen places Boar at the centre of the first episode, only for Rabbit to kill her off. It’s the same narrative progression, only if you were to graph it, it would be steeper. Arguably, the “hyping up” stage for Manato was a lot longer than Boar’s, which begs for more emotion from the audience, and while Boar’s sendoff is her corpse being pecked to bits by birds in a nihilistic twist, Manato gets a proper cremation. It just goes to show how two shows handling the same plot twist can differ so much through execution and tone (even if Manato is cremated to prevent him becoming a zombie).
Furthermore, the effects of the deaths are also quite different. In Juuni Taisen, death is merely a tool to reach for the top while in Grimgar, it’s either a way to make a living or a way to live on but with one’s action out of their control. People don’t grieve for the victims of the Zodiac War and just take it as par for the course – it’s not even mentioned what happened to Monkey’s boyfriend after Rat had his interview with Duodecuple, while conversely Manato’s party learnt to care for him in the days they were together.
Therefore, if knowledge is power, then maybe knowing that someone would die in Grimgar was too much power for me. I’ll probably need Rat’s wish to ever enjoy the show properly now.
Over to you. Are spoilers enough to ruin your experience with a series? Alternatively, are there any similarities between Juuni Taisen and Grimgar I didn’t pick out?
I don’t tend to mind spoilers for shows. While some I would prefer to watch the episode before reading any reviews, others I happily read reviews for a couple of days before I catch the episode and it doesn’t really change my enjoyment of the story. Mostly because it is in how the events are executed that makes it worth the while. As you pointed out, the death of a central character early in both Juni Taisen and Grimgar are handled totally differently. Juni Taisen bored me when I wasn’t rolling my eyes at it and yet Grimgar moved me to tears. Knowing someone was going to die wouldn’t have changed that experience.
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I avoid spoilers as much as I can… But I emphatically avoid reviews because I don’t want my experience altered by someone else’s perceptions.
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