If you don’t recognise the title lyrics, here you go. However, this post is about the ending (the last third or so) of Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash episode 8 and is only linked to those lyrics thematically.
Haruhiro was always introspective, but after Manato’s death it inevitably became a lot more evident. Thus, the ending of episode 8, where Haruhiro interpreted his conception of Manato, was a turning point in the series for him and his party. Alternatively, it may not be seen as such because it’s not that spectacular visually – this is a light novel adaption, after all, and if you look closely you can even see CGI at one point – but the content was definitely feels-wrenching.
“He might have been hiding his flaws.”
This suggests something similar to what Haruhiro sees in those nightmares/delusions of Manato, where the vision helps him to parse his lingering thoughts. Basically, the unreal Manato is the ideal version of him that was being shown to Haruhiro. It even suggested Haruhiro’s latent leadership potential, because by having a figment of his imagination and/or memory lead him, he demonstrated what Manato saw in him the moment the latter died.
Snow in Asian cultures represents death and often has to do with themes of sorrow, which was very fitting for the subject matter. However, this was one snowflake, so it could be attached to the idea of “a special snowflake” which goes hand in hand with the concept of the “ideal Manato”.
“Maybe we would’ve gotten annoyed at each other and fight.”
Manato did not lose his temper or fight with his party when he was alive. Therefore, Haruhiro’s speculation suggests infighting built the party’s character. By having Manato there to break up fights, he could have potentially been letting the team down by not letting them grow. This might then suggest how Haruhiro’s (potential) leadership style differs to Manato’s.
The girls show their badges after Haruhiro does. The girls were the ones who were the most emotional about Manato’s death, while Ranta was technically the least (since Mary has a similar situation to Manato she can sympathise with). This order was also used when the party left the cemetery.
Yume and Ranta’s fight about the latter’s lack of underwear injects camaraderie to lighten the mood and adds to how the party have changed without Manato. Ranta looked away when Yume suggested he would be more hated, which hints he is a male tsundere. (There is evidence throughout the series to suggest that, so that point is not entirely speculation.)
“Mary pitched in, too.”
Shihoru, having been the last person to talk to Manato before his death, had the opportunity to hand over his badge and thus clean up the loose ends Haruhiro mentioned earlier. Mary was noted to have added some money, which not only suggests her opening up, but a mutual sympathy created through loss.
Once Haruhiro and Mary leave, there is something to be said about this duo since it suggests the two are the closest in relationship. Not enough to be shipped, sure, but in a platonic way (enough to warrant the nickname “Hal”). It also suggests a sociological equality between the two, even if Haruhiro is accepted to be Mary’s leader at this point.
“See you tomorrow.”
Mary was, a few episodes prior, reluctant to finish this statement, but here she finishes it properly. It just goes to show how far these two’s relationship has become, even though it’s (arguably?) still platonic at this point.
So, that’s all the notes, speculation and interpretation I have for this part of the episode. How’d you like it?