Funny enough, the first episode of Grimoire of Zerowhich Zero and Mercenary spent apart was also the best of the series so far. Wolfie might not have the same chemistry with our tiger warrior that Zero so effortlessly exhibits, but he is a welcome addition to the team, especially considering how he was connected to them from the very beginning.
Japanese Title: ソーレナの孫娘
Grimoire of Zero was always going one step forward and two steps backwards. Even when the wonderful chemistry between the protagonists saved the day in most of the episodes, the unnecessary info dumps (which did stop after a few episodes) and the lack of proper action (which was either non-existent or cut short) were not enough to give this series a sense of excitement. Finally, Episode 8 brought forth what we’ve been all waiting for: the fun! The animation was terrible at moments and the crowd was one of the most uninspiring I have ever seen, but as you know I rarely bitch about animation. First, I don’t consider myself an authority, and second, when the story and the pacing is good who cares about the animation (unless it’s unwatchable).
For the first time, we actually see what the plot of the series really is. Wolfie’s real name is Holdem and his flashback story was more interesting than anything we’ve learned about Thirteen so far. I have to admit that in my first reviews I dismissed him as a minor character, and then upgraded him to a potential ally, but in reality he is more important than that. His involvement with Sorena and his taste for a little harem of his are all explained in his backstory. A selfish nobleman who came to be under the service of Sorena and who in the process acquired some sense of decency and honor. Some habits die hard, and while he is still infatuated with female company, he is deep down a good wolf whose only concern is to find Sorena’s granddaughter and protect her.
I wasn’t surprised that the granddaughter was Albus. The show has given us enough hints to assume that Albus wasn’t a boy, and his infatuation with the Sorcerers of Zero and Sorena pretty much gave it away. After all, for episodes now we knew that the plot had some sense of logic behind it; it just had to connect the dots for us. Just like with wolfie, Albus’s role in the story is much clearer now. So clear that even his (her) call to arms felt important and relevant. For once, I did care if she burnt at the stake or not. He (SHE DAMMIT) went from irrelevant to hero in just a few episodes. Now, all our core group has something going for them and we can finally care about what happens to them.
Today, we burn a witch at the stake
Wolf Power: Spirit of the wolf, imbue this imbecile Casanova into an imbecile beastfallen that might have a chance to redemption. The ritual scene was one of the coolest in the series so far. Which animal would you have chosen? Let me know in the comments!
Themes & Trivia
The Difference between Wolves and Dogs: Grimoire of Zero wasn’t going to spend any minutes having Holdem answering this for you, so here I am with a brief animal biology lesson. Wolves and dogs were once considered to be different species. Like horses and dragons. Bats and soccer balls. More research showed that they do come from the same progenitor and since can breed fertile cubs, dog is essentially a subspecies of wolf. A wolf is canis lupis. A dog has been modified mostly in its ability to communicate and depend on humans. Its taxonomy is Canis Lupis Familiaris.
Episode 8 was proof that you don’t need a giant budget to tell a decent story. The quality of the show hasn’t improved much, and to be honest that crowd was really awful, but the action was still the best the series has offered us thus far. Would it have been even more amazing with better animation? Of course. But I prefer story to animation any given day, and I am glad that we got to see Wolfie and Albus get the attention they needed, and probably deserved.
Tiger and Wolf
This is it, Grimoire of Zero. This is how you should have done things from the beginning. Now the only challenge is to keep this kind of action until the end. Now that we have established the good guys from the bad and that we know where each one of the protagonists stands, it’s time to forget the slow start and let the series have a strong ending. I still don’t think that this is one to join the anime history books, but maybe we will make a mention here and there of Zero and her man-servant white tiger.