While an inconsistent villain presence does sometimes plague “Gleipnir,” in terms of character investment and story? It goes beyond expectations.
|Aired||04/05/2020 – 06/28/2020|
|Genre(s)||Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult, Animation, Non-English|
This content contains pertinent spoilers.
Season Plot Synopsis
After alien beings crash on the planet Earth, one alien, Uchuujin, makes a deal with some to become gatherers to find their friends who are in the form of coins. In exchange for coins, he will grant them a wish and for 100 coins, they will be given insurmountable powers. In “Gleipnir,” we focus on two gatherers, Shuuichi and Clair, who, alongside the task of gathering coins, there is the issue of Clair’s older sister, Elena, murdering their parents, and towards the end of the season, Shuuichi’s relationship with Elena, before the events of the show.
Thus leading to a lot of battles, unexpected character development, and a show that leaves you wanting more in the best way.
The Character Development Of The Leads
Both Clair and Shuuichi are dealing with trauma and early on, the focus is Clair’s trauma caused by her parents being killed and it being so bad she is willing and able to kill herself. Then, as you see her lean on Shuuichi, and literally meld into him, you see her darkness either awaken his or rub off on him. Which creates this interdependent dynamic that, as Shuuichi’s life and story is exposed to us, develops into a story that goes beyond expectations. Especially considering how you may think the ecchi pushed early on is supposed to be not only the hook, but a major selling point, as it is for most shows that use that sales tactic.
Shuichi’s Relationships With The Aiko Sisters
We’re one of those people who consistently wonder why such a plain young man ends up with women who are just, simply not what you expect them to draw. Yet, with Shuuichi, as time goes on, as with most anime, you see him form this bond with Clair and adapt to her in a way that goes beyond feeling romantic. There is what could be seen as a interdependency that is part survival yet also a sense of longing.
One that you could say is connected to the fact Elena is no longer in either of their lives so they find themselves attached to who Elena formerly loved the most. Thus, in her absence, they find what she provided them. For Clair, it was someone stable to rely on, protect her, love her, and be as much her champion as someone who she could find peace in.
Then with Shuuichi, despite Clair’s flirtations, as you watch him adapt to Clair, and get glimpses into his relationship with Elena, you are pushed to see how Elena opened him up. How he looked to her and likely was molded by her love and he became who she needed him to be. Which is why she, Elena, is likely hurt hat those two have come together as they have since she is sacrificing everything for them and is unable to benefit until the coin search is all over.
Many of the Fight Scenes
While not all of the fight scenes may leave you awestruck, I’d say the only ones that may leave you lukewarm are the ones against Madoka and his group. As for the rest? Be it battles with Elena, Hikawa, Subara, and Sanbe, those affirm your faith and fanship with the show and will keep you going.
On The Fence
How Long It Took To Get To Shuuichi’s Backstory
You may feel that as soon as we got to the heart of Shuuichi’s backstory, the show ends. Which, while it makes you excited about the possibility for another season, it may also frustrate you since the search for coins becomes such a dull story that when Shuichi’s situation is hinted, it reenergizes the show. However, rather than be a consistent presence, it is something touched upon here and there, just enough to keep you interested, and it doesn’t truly become a focus until the “Gleipnir” is at the end of its season.
Not Really Getting Into Clair’s History
Clair is an utter mystery. Through Shuuichi’s backstory, we get to learn about Elena and their friend group, but Clair is never seen or talked about during those times. Making it almost seem like she may not be real, could be a alien like Uchuujin, or something sinister. For while Elena does acknowledge her, it is almost like there is a disconnect there. One that pushes you to wonder what was Clair’s life before all this happened and whether, like Shuuichi’s memories were altered, were Clair’s as well?
The main issue with the ecchi is that, we’re of the opinion it is a cheap tactic to illicit viewers. Because, otherwise, it doesn’t add anything to the show. Especially in the case of “Gleipnir” since it is primarily used in situations where it seems like Clair is going to be assaulted or taken advantage of. Not to say there aren’t moments when she is clearly in control, and likely teasing Shuuichi, but you could easily cut the majority of the moments and the show wouldn’t be no worse, and may actually be better, due to the snips.
For an amount of time, Shuuichi and Clair join a gathering crew and after watching the season, as much as you appreciate how they triggered Shuuichi’s past coming into focus, as a whole, they seemed like filler. In fact, most groups we meet just don’t click in a way that makes you care about their members. Especially if they lacked a strong connection to Shuuichi.
Leading to another issue, the show doesn’t really have any strong villains. It seemed like it would, upon the introduction of Hikawa and Elena, but after that? Between Elena’s crew, Madoka’s, and even Sanbe, if they aren’t befriended, they feel a bit neutered by the time we get to know them. Add in most are barely seen, and easily defeated or discarded, and it creates one of the few undisputable blemishes on the show.
Review Summary: One and Done
Rating: Mixed (Stick Around)
When you speak on Shuuichi’s development, and the battles he gets into, and the relationships that are formed or revealed to us, that is when “Gleipnir” is at its best. However, when it comes to developing people outside of their connection to Shuuichi, that is when the show falters. Add in weak, or one and done villains, and a bit of a lull in the show, which was mostly compensated with ecchi, and that’s why we’re giving “Gleipnir” season 1 a mixed rating.
Season 2 of Funimations’ Gleipnir
Has Another Season Been Confirmed: Unknown
What We’d Like To See From The Next Season?
- Clair’s background
- More of Shuuichi and Elena’s relationship
- How Kaito became one of the most powerful gatherers, specifically whether it was on his own or he broke off from the group to do so
- A group, or single gatherer, who becomes a legitimate threat that can have a real arch
- If there is going to be ecchi, at least make it less creepy