Gleipnir “What It Means to Be Empty” Review

What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Gleipnir! The Gleipnir premiere “Something Inside of Me” was very intense. When I read that this was a series that was both drama and a thriller, the first thought which came to mind was that they would take things slow. That getting to moments of action like this was something they would simply work up to. However, that is not the case with Gleipnir. They jumped right into the fire! Both literally and figuratively. After seeing what Shuichi was already capable of, I felt my anxiousness rising to see what he could do when faced off against someone who could hit him with the same force of strength.

From the minute this episode began, they jumped right back into the action. Well, of course not before creating an understanding of who this enemy was who attacked them. It was through that opening scene that it became clear as to the importance of those coins. It was a quick scene, but it got straight to the point that the coin in Clair’s possession was valuable, and instantly made them a target. Not only that, but also made a point to show us how these monsters are made. For such a big answer they gave us early on, they raised many other questions in the process. Now I would have loved for there to be more of a mystery to how Shuichi in particular became this monster, but for now it is hard to have a problem with wondering the reasoning behind how it actually came to be. Knowing the answer, and getting to it are still two very different things.

With that said, again this episode threw us right back into the action between Shuichi, Clair, and Hikawa. Where I was already impressed with the animation style of this series, this episode further blew me away. The action was more intense, in fact brutal. It was one thing to know that Shuichi was supposed to have this monstrous strength in his monster form, though it was another thing entirely to see that strength in action. Every hit he threw looked like it had impact, and vice versa the hits they exchanged looked the same. The expressions, the smears, their movements were very fluent too. There was nothing not to love about the animation from Key Animator Hirofumi Okita and Storyboarder Ryouma Ebata.

As someone new to this series, what was also cool was understanding where this dynamic between Shuichi and Clair is formed. When you looked at the promo art for the anime, the first thing you noticed was Clair looking like she was inside of Shuichi’s body. They wasted little time showing that going inside of him is actually a thing, and the last thing you would have expected was that she would end up being the one controlling his monster form. Though what was more important than knowing this was the what the experience was like for both of them. That part truly grabs your attention for everything they began to understand about one another from being connected on that level.

What caught me off guard this week was seeing that maybe Clair isn’t as problematic as first impressions suggested. To be honest, I thought I was not going to like her. Everything from her first introduction to how she treated Shuichi was throwing all sorts of red flags. I mean, how do you take advantage of someone so innocent and full of anxiety like this? Even if her methods aren’t completely agreeable, this week’s episode went the extra mile to add a sense of understanding to what goes through the mind of this girl. She has a reason for doing the things she does, she has a reason for the stance she takes when her life is threatened, and they showed us where she draws the line when it comes to fighting for both herself and someone else. Where there was once reluctance to see more of this character, now I can see what she has to offer with her involvement in Shuichi’s life.

The best takeaway after that from this episode was the plot progression they got around to by the end. For as cool as the action was, and how captivating the character moments turned out to be, we still needed to see what the long-term plan is for this story. We already knew that Clair was trying to find her sister, but knowing is different from making this intention known along with establishing what these two have now gotten themselves into.

Aside from this, I guess I should address the matter that is the explicit nature of this series. There’s a lot of panty shots when it comes to Clair which is of course to be expected from this genre. Some might find themselves put off by this, but truthfully I wasn’t too distracted by it. I think from even the more explicit series would have seen much more playfully from a series like this. There’s much more going on seriously that’s it hard really pay attention to how little clothes she wears or the angle shots they take of her or others for the sake of it.

Gleipnir “What It Means to Be Empty” overall creates a lot more reason to invest in this series. The action will keep you coming back for more, the animation is exhilarating, and the characters offer some endearing moments. That sounds like a great combination to me, and the potential is there for more! Especially since I’m sure we haven’t seen the worst from the darker part of this series.

Jideobi Odunze Author

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