Hello and welcome to Project Nitsuj. It’s time to dive into 8bit territory and take a look at some of their animes. Over the years, 8bit has gained a reputation as being a lousy studio with their stuff ranching from mediocre to bad. A majority of the animes they make have received bad reviews, even I myself have given a majority of their anime low scores such as IS, Rewrite, and today’s anime Grisaia. You all might remember my review of the first season of Grisaia. The harem anime based off a VN under the same name was a series that delighted fans for it’s cool and badass MC and cute girls along with dark stories that were quite disturbing and unsettling at times. The anime unfortunately didn’t live up to the standards of the VN as the story was rushed, characters only got one or two episodes dedicated to them, and the development of the characters was poor and non-existent. The only saving grace of the anime was it’s very good animation and dark storytelling which really caught my interest. After the first season ended in 2014, it made a return in 2015 with a special that aired before the anime called Meikyuu followed by anime named Rakuen. Does the special and second season succeed where the first season failed? Let’s take a look at these two. This is Meikyuu and Rakuen.
Opening and Ending Theme
“Setsuna no Kajitsu” by Maon Kurosaki. It’s okay. Compared the first opening this opening is rather tamed and doesn’t leave that much of an impact on me. The animation is very good for this opening. The transitions are smooth and very well done. Maon sings good but she’s really not putting that much emotion into the song as she did the first one and that’s killing to song for me.
Once again, we get multiple endings for this season. The first one is “Tasogare no Starlight” by Yoshino Nanjo. It’s good but I feel like it would have worked better as an opening then an ending. While the song sounds tamed I will give Yoshino credit and say she puts more emotion into her song than Maon. The second opening is “Kimi wo Sagashi ni” by Yoshino Nanjo. This was my favorite ending of the bunch. It’s heartwarming, the instrumental is great, and Yoshino sounds great as well. I’ve heard some people prefer the first ending over the second one but I don’t know, I think the second one was better.
The special starts 2 years prior to the anime at the Vancouver International Airport (first time I’ve seen an anime take place in Canada eh). Terrorists have a Japanese hostage and are demanding fuel for their getaway plane (why are they attacking Canada?). Yuji is with the military serving as a sniper where he snipes the gun hand of the terrorist, saving the hostage, and allowing the military to come in and save her however the terrorist escape out to sea. The hostage surprisingly enough is Chizuru the principal of Mihama Academy (wow, she looks a middle school girl. A loli adult. Man, lolis really are popping up everywhere aren’t they?). Chizuru wants to thank Yuji for saving her (as she should) so she tells Yuji to wish for anything he wants and he tells her he wants to go to a normal school (well half the wish came true. Now if only we could do something about the crazy girls). After that scene we then cut to JB doing a report about Yuji and interviewing him about his family. It’s here that we finally learn about Yuji’s past. As you all know Yuji had a sister, Kazuki who at a young age excelled at arts and science so when she was little she created paintings that were worth millions of yen. While this bought in income for the family this also put Yuji in a bad position. Because he wasn’t as talented as his sister he was abused and overlooked by his father (bastard, scumbag, and irritable bowel syndrome are only a few of the many words that describe this man) and his mother being a weak woman just sat back and did nothing. There were even times when she avoided Yuji all together just to avoid conflict (worst parents ever). Kazuki on the other hand was very kind to Yuji in fact when she found out about the horrible treatment her parents have been giving Yuji she called them out on it and berated them even going as far as to stop painting and live the normal life just because she wanted to stay home and be close to Yuji. She was also a great manipulator getting people to do and move accordingly to her will (the sister of a monster is a monster herself). But one thing that really stands out about her is her love for Yuji. Yes, she was in love with Yuji and tried to pursue a sexual relationship with him (man I never pegged her for the type of person who be into incest. BDSM, yes. Cosplay maybe. But incest? That’s a huge shocker). They even drop hints that she might have raped him in the bathtub (well at least it’s not as bad or disturbing as KissxSis. Scene here: https://youtu.be/KSuvj_DYKCw). When the events of episodes 10-12 of the first season occur Yuji’s father fell into depression and began drinking which resulted in Yuji and his mother both getting abused physically. The mother finally had enough and ran away with Yuji where they lived peacefully for one year until the father found them, broke in, and tried to rape Yuji’s mom right in front of him (have you no conscience man?). Yuji finally snapped and killed his father by busting him upside the head with a bottle of booze (oh the irony). This also caused the mother to break as well who tricked Yuji into leaving the house where she committed suicide and hung herself to make it look like a double suicide. After this Yuji was taken in by a guy named Rei Kirihara a man who bought one of his sister’s paintings and took a liking to Yuji when he visited the house. He seemed like a nice guy but in truth he was the leader of a terrorist group and was really called Heath Oslo who was apparently into little boys crossdressing and liked to dress Yuji as a girl so that he could molest him (out of one hell only to arrive in another hell). Yuji pretty much became his obedient puppet not fighting back at all and when Yuji killed one of the bodyguards for trying to rape him (yeah you need to do this to Oslo) Oslo sent Yuji to his child training camp where Yuji became a soldier excelling in marksmanship as well as hand to hand combat. Because he was Oslo’s favorite, everyone picked on him except for a girl named Marlin who befriended Yuji and looked out for him (so how long until she dies?). When Yuji is given the chance to graduate he has to kill Marlin and at first he seems fine with killing her but then he starts to see that he’s become just like his father and stops fighting allowing Marlin to get back up, activate her sadist switch (yes, that’s a thing) and beats the hell out of Yuji (scene here: https://youtu.be/GW5E9zYlSTM). Luckily, Yuji’s life gets spared and Marlin graduates where she quickly dies in the field (called it). After two months, Yuji is given the chance to graduate where all he has to do is assassinate this political figure and he does it with ease (while dressed as a woman. The more I learn about Yuji the more I worry about him). He became a skilled assassin remaining undetected for a year until the CIA finally broke into Oslo’s mansion to arrest him. He escaped but they found Yuji believing him to be a hostage and he gets taken in by his master Asako (who no doubt kept dressing him as a woman). Back at the academy, Sachi cleaned out Yuji’s room and reconstructed his shredded report about his past (you have way too much time on your hands Sachi) and they all take a peek at it to end the special (no judging ladies no judging).
In episode 1 of the second season Yuji’s story continues where we see his life after Asako takes him in. We see that at first Yuji was nothing more than a mindless body who spoke to no one, had no emotions, and would puke even when killing a fly (*chuckles* I’m sorry but I find that funny. He’ll kill a man without batting an eye but a fly? That’s just too much for him). As Yuji continues to live with Asako he starts to speak more and when he gets his dog John we see him smile for the first time in his life (good for him). Years go by and Asako teaches Yuji the 3 fundamentals to being popular in school and with the ladies. Be fast, strong and able to fight, and book smart (Mira: That was four things. (Nitsuj): The second one was a two parter thank you very much). She also teaches Yuji how to be a sniper which really doesn’t help him that much seeing as how he can’t kill anything not even a deer. This however changes when a bear breaks into the cabin looking for food and takes John (no not the doggie). Yuji chases after the bear but even then can’t bring himself to kill another life to save a life precious to him. This allows the bear to gain the upper hand but Yuji goes to the dark place in his mind (the trained killer part) and stabs the bear in the eye with a tree twig (is it really that easy to blind them?). Just when he’s about to shoot it he sees that the bear has children and was going to use John to feed them (https://youtu.be/2yqUpypQwGs. Scene here: https://youtu.be/mer4MTk7FTo). Yuji stops himself from the killing the bear and just takes John’s collar so that he can give her a proper burial (yes. The dog was a girl. Don’t question it). After the burial he decides that he’s tired of being a coward and wants to become like Asako who tells him that being like her won’t be easy and that if he wants to die an honorable death he must save the life of 5 people (well he accomplished that).
Episode 2 starts off with some out of nowhere news on Yuji. He’s not a virgin (https://youtu.be/ciMFxipOehE). Yep, Asako stole Yuji’s virginity as a birthday gift to him (best gift ever. Also how old is he when you did it?). He also did it with JB (scene here: https://youtu.be/VoDbpAXIYo8, she was scared at first but soon came to like it). After that as time went on Asako’s health started to deteriorate and when she receive a call about a mission she had to take otherwise she’ll be treasoned, Yuji went in her place and performed the mission. Yuji than tells her and JB he wants to become a secret agent of the military which JB tries to talk him out of it but his mind is set. So in order to be a secret agent he and Asako went to America where Asako became a teacher at a hunting school (we have those?) and Yuji went to a Marine school where he met a few military buddies such as Danny a cool black guy (who surprisingly isn’t a stereotype or racist at all) and a girl named Millie a sniper just like Yuji however her skills aren’t up to Yuji’s level (so how long until she sleeps with Yuji?). On his final exam he gets commissioned on a ship at sea with Danny and Millie.
Episode 3 starts off on a sad note with us finding out that Danny died in an accident (no! He was so cool). After that, we get a flashback into Yuji’s first service in a platoon known as the Bush Dogs. In this platoon were Yuji, Danny, Millie, Robert an American otaku who loves little sister porn games from Japan (you are disturbing), Eddie another student from the Marine school who Yuji tutored in shooting, and their leader the crazy Justin Mikemeyer aka J (this has got to be the weirdest squad of misfits I have ever seen). The platoon is placed in the middle of a war where thanks to J, Yuji manages to get over his fear of killing people. We see them go a little crazy in the war but return to normal and return to society where Yuji returns home to Asako and they have sex (that is awesome. He comes back from a war, kills God knows how many people, saw and did things nobody should ever see or do, and the first thing he does is have sex with his adoptive mother). After having sex he returns to the field to earn his certifications which led to the events in the OVA (so does this mean we’re done with Yuji’s backstory, I really want to continue the main story).
Episode 4 is the last arc of Yuji’s backstory (thank God) and it’s probably the saddest part. Asako’s health has finally taken a turn for the worse and she dies in the same bed she and Yuji had sex in (I find that so morbid that I can’t even make a joke about it. Well maybe one. She died the way she lived. Fighting on the battlefield, though I’m sure this isn’t the battlefield she thought she would die on). JB soon took Yuji in where the two comfort each other after the loss of someone important to them and slept with each other (I’m beginning to think Yuji is into older women). After a few months of living with JB and having no idea what to do or to where to go in life he sets off on the journey to find himself (and where does he plan on going, https://youtu.be/TH8yT3doasI). After he finally destroys his bike (must everything you love die for some reason?) he decides to give youth a try and go to a normal high school (where you met 5 strange girls and had sex with each of them. Oh sorry that second part hasn’t happened yet. In the anime obviously). This ends Yuji’s backstory, he decides to head home but along the way he gets stopped by an anonymous caller who has a mission for him. He wants Yuji to kill this dangerous terrorist and this dangerous terrorist is the man who fucked his life up the most Heath Oslo (let the psychological drama and warfare begin).
So in episode 5 the girls turn on the TV and see Yuji shooting up a place while wearing a hitman outfit (he’s got the tie, the suit, the gloves, and the sunglasses). They also find out that the school is closing down due to a lack of funding since Yumiko’s dad lost his standing in the world (that’s what you get for driving your daughter to fake suicide). They find out from Chizuru (the principal) and JB that Yuji isn’t being controlled by the terrorist but instead being used as a bargaining chip by the government with Oslo since he’s bought in weapons of mass destruction to destroy something valuable. While Yuji wasn’t the one of TV shooting down people and has been proven innocent he’s still under suspicion and has been arrested. The girls go into Yuji’s room where they see his writing on the closet about how all this time he’s been looking for a place to die and now that he’s saved the lives of 5 people he thinks it’s time for him to die (given the life he’s had I don’t blame him for wanting to die. Seriously, this is some pretty traumatizing shit right here). The girls can’t accept Yuji dying on them (they want his D) so they all decide to work together and save him. Using her resources Yumiko manages to find Robert who left the military and opened up a oden maid shop in Japan (this needs to exist). He tells her that Oslo is after the Thanatos System a super organic computer that thinks like a human because it has human brain tissues inside of it (geez I wonder whose brain tissues they used?) and is pretty much running the country right now (well Terminator is finally coming true). Only a few people know about the system’s existence and only a hand full of people know the system is being tested in Japan. After hearing all of this Yumiko puts everything together and decides that she’s going to help Yuji no matter what. The others all decide to join her on her mission and on the day of the school’s closing (thanks for the lifetime of trauma) they all head out together to save Yuji. Speaking of Yuji, we see he’s kept underground in a government prison and that the Thanatos system is his sister Kazuki (how much can one man’s sanity be tested?). We also got this erotic scene (scene here: https://youtu.be/8px3coHxClg).
Episodes 6-10 and OVAs
At the start of episode 6 we see the girls go to their new hideout, a houseboat that Yumiko bought on the internet (man you really can get anything here can’t you?). With Yuji his sister Kazuki tells him what the situation is (and seems to be taking the whole my sister is a living computer thing quite nicely. She also wants his D). She tells him that Oslo is after her because she can pretty much hack into any security system in the world and Oslo is prepared to blow up a chunk of Japan using a new nuclear bomb to do it. The government has already gone into negotiations with him saying they’ll give him 20% of the Thanatos system and Yuji since he’s so valuable to Oslo (both figuratively and very literally). Apparently Yuji was used in some experiment to create the ultimate super solider. He, along with others were injected with a special drug and while the other subjects died after 2 years Yuji has somehow managed to survive and make it into adulthood (and live a very traumatizing life that still continues to this day) and now Oslo wants Yuji back to study him. Kazuki wants Yuji to break out, find Oslo, and kill him (easier said than done). Kazuki contacts the other girls telling them where Yuji is and that she has a plan to save him but she requires their assistance in pulling it off. They all agree to do it and Yumiko admits to Kazuki that she too like the others is in love with Yuji (Kazuki: Great. Now I can kill you along with the others. Yuji is mine). She gives them new untraceable cellphones and tells them what to do. Back with Yuji, Kazuki tells him what happened after Amane left (everybody got finger banged by the titan teacher and died. Simple as that). Actually, after Amane left one of the students still having common sense talks the others out of killing Kazuki but gets killed herself by the club president. One of the girls sees what happened and tries to kill the club president but gets killed by the teacher (wow, 5 minutes and two people have already died. I guess Amane was the glue holding everything together). Soon everyone besides Kazuki and the teacher are unable to stand and walk and we see that the teacher actually felt bad about feeding everyone the body parts of their dead classmates (yeah that was an asshole move on your part) and eventually gets that skin disease along with other students who eventually died from it except for Kazuki. Thanks to Amane the rescue squad came and rescued her where the government saw that her brain tissue would be perfect for their little Thanatos project. So they took her brain tissue and implanted her into the computer where she didn’t know who she was but thanks to Robert she was able to discover who she was little by little.
Not much happens in episode 7. Kazuki tells the girls when Yuji is scheduled to be transported and she prepares for the operation. First she wants the girls to raise 100 million yen (you make it sound so easy). To do this she has Yumiko play Ebay by selling an exclusive toy car and then using that money to buy other stuff and trade it. She has Sachi open up a bank account and has Michuru travel the world making trades and deals with everyone (and she has no idea what she’s doing all throughout the experience). She has Amane learn the roads and as for Makina she buys her a powerful pink anti-tank sniper rifle for the mission (well I’m scared now). During this time we also see that JB is being held in prison as well to avoid unnecessary testimonies but Kazuki contacts her with the plan and her part in the plan. The day of the mission finally arrives where it will begin at 6pm that night.
Holy crap, episode 8 was epic! Okay, so the operation begins with Yuji getting transported out of the holding cell he’s been kept in. As he’s being transported Oslo’s men come and capture him (he wants Yuji’s D) and strap a bomb to his wrist so even if he escapes he has to go to Oslo since he has the key and trying to remove the bomb will cause it to explode. Makina snipes the hummers from a hotel room and Sachi gets Yuji back by knocking out Oslo’s men herself (she really is the best maid out there). After securing Yuji, Amane and Michuru come in and get them where they use an escape route that only Amane knows because she studied the streets (she’s streetwise). Once Oslo hears about Yuji being captured the government agrees to work with him to get Yuji back (yeah you guys were outsmarted by a bunch of high school girls you need all the help you can get). After picking up Makina the group leaves the city and gets chased down by a helicopter where they get saved by Millie who knocked out another pilot, stole his suit and helicopter, and has come to help the man she loves (scene here: https://youtu.be/0mMI8MSf8pc, Yuji sure knows how to choose his harem). The main system shuts Kazuki down so Robert takes over for her and leads Amane down a safe route avoiding the authorities. Kazuki gets saved by JB where we see she’s still alive and in human form (except she now has a robotic arm). It turns out she didn’t die they just matrixed her brain into the Thanatos system (and the incest ship stays afloat). Amane and the others reach the sea where they land on Yumiko’s boathouse and Kazuki shows up in a submarine to save them.
Not much happens in episode 9. Yuji gets back up on his feet, we see Amane happy to see Kazuki alive, we get a touching moment between Yuji and Kazuki (where they might have did it off screen), we get a few laughs with the harem members, and Kazuki decides she’s going to destroy Thanatos while Yuji decides to go and face Oslo himself. They all agree to meet back up on Yuji’s private island which was given to him by Asako (she left him an island. That is so awesome) and go their separate ways.
In the final episode Yuji sneaks aboard Oslo’s ship and kills everyone he comes across with a hunting knife (damn! The anime just turned into a James Bond movie). Before Yuji can face Oslo he has to defeat his clone Du Point a super soldier who was created from Yuji’s genes (you got lonely without Yuji, Oslo?). He resembles Yuji in every way possible however he has white hair and purple eyes. They have a fast-paced drug enhancement fight (which I have to admit is pretty good) and it ends with Yuji killing Du Point (scene here: https://youtu.be/a9nEJjwwdcc). After beating Du Point the battle wary Yuji goes to face Oslo in his office where Oslo stabs Yuji through the chest with a sword (ouch) but Yuji uses it to pull himself close to Oslo and use a pen to stab Oslo in the neck and snap it to kill him (and revenge is yours Yuji). Yuji gets the key and removes the bomb around his arm and tries to escape but he’s too injured and tired to move. As the ship is exploding and Yuji is ready to accept his death he sees a vision of Asako telling him to live and he gets the strength to live and escape the ship right before it explodes (scene here: https://youtu.be/eWyYNb1swy8). We then fast forward to 2 years later where everybody is on Yuji’s private island (no doubt having hot orgies) and happy with their lives. They’ve rebuilt the academy and Yuji says he’s done killing people. The anime ends with one final laugh courtesy of Kazuki who reveals that the mechanical arm was just a prop and she still has both of all her arms.
We get another set of OVAs which is just ecchi situations of the girls with a no-talking Yuji. If I remember correctly the scenes are based off the game so if you’re looking for more fanservice of your favorite girl check the OVAs out.
Okay, let’s start off with Meikyuu. The special is good and gives a look into the dark past of Yuji. It’s some pretty messed up stuffed. It’s like a water-downed version of Guts’ backstory from Berserk. It’s nothing short of a miracle that he’s able to still interact with the world after everything he’s been through. A good special, and a good insight into the past of Yuji. Rakuen continues with the good storytelling with some hiccups here and there. Some parts are good while other parts are bad. The first part continues to dive into Yuji’s past after he gets saved which is good but wouldn’t that have worked out better in the special? Why waste half the anime talking about Yuji’s past when you could have easily put it in the special when we could have used the episodes in the anime to develop the other characters? The stuff with the girls rescuing Yuji was good and finding out that his sister was still alive is a good shock as well, but they unfortunately don’t get developed or have any major scenes with Yuji. The same can be said for a lot of the other characters. Outside of Yuji who is still a cool badass they really don’t have that much development and serve minor roles. I understand that the first season was supposed to introduce these characters to us and give us an idea of who they are, but the first season did a terrible job at developing these characters and rushed through their storylines. The final story with Yuji facing his past and defeating the man who messed with him the most led to a satisfying ending of the series where Yuji slayed his demons and can now live a good life with the people he loves. I do wish we would have learned more about Du Point as well as get a better understanding as to why Oslo is so obsessed with Yuji.
Once again the animation is great here, the dark stuff that they show is once again powerful that it brings out so many emotions in here. The action scenes are surprisingly really well done. For a studio that doesn’t do a lot of action scenes, the action scenes in this anime were good and enjoyable. The music once again leaves no impact on me and was barely noticeable for me at least. Despite being darker and more serious than the first season, this season did have a number of funny moments. Such as Yuji’s relationship with Asako. It’s heartwarming but they have their funny moments as well. A lot of the comedy with the girls comes in the form of fanservice where there’s a lot more this time around but still manages to be tamed and not go overboard.
Is it better than the last season
Yes, I actually did like this season more than the first one. This season was more focused, had a better story, a satisfying conclusion, and shined light on the dark past of our badass MC and how he overcame all of it to achieve a better life for himself in the end. The only major downside this season is not developing its casts of characters like Yuji when they could have just as easily used the first half of the anime to do that. Again, the part of Yuji’s past with Asako would have worked better in the special in my opinion as opposed to the anime which could have been used to develop the other characters since the first season didn’t do a good job at developing them in the first place.
The final score for Grisaia no Meikyuu and Rakuen is a very high and well-deserved 7.5/10. Way better than the first season and an excellent follow up as well. While I’m sure VN fans will dislike this anime series, as someone who hasn’t played the games, I thought the second season and special did a good job at covering the series and it got me interested in the series as well. This is probably the best anime 8bit has done to this date and for a studio that gave me Absolute Duo (oh trust me, we will get to that) that’s saying something. I wonder how they did on the second season of Rewrite? Only one way to find out. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time on Project Nitsuj.
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