Fruit of Grisaia
Mihama Academy is a school with only five unusual students, each with their own set of problems. Yuji Kazami is the new transfer student making him the only male in the school. While each of the girls has an unusual past, Yuji has his share of secrets too. As he helps them overcome past issues, one of them unexpectedly sheds light on his past as well.
Some features place Fruit of Grisaia in harem territory, yet others don't quite fit the genre. It's a harem show first so don't bother with this one if you're tired of that stuff. On the other hand I enjoy anime going crazy to break standard conventions. Fruit of Grisaia is a harem anime crossed with a military action thriller (but less intelligent than that implies).
The girl catalog is typical for a visual-novel, and so is usual formula of each girls with her story/problem requiring assistance of the protagonist Kazumi. He's strange male lead though. It's not like he's a blank slate, his personality is so detached it's like he doesn't have one. His methods of problem solving involve his "cleaner" job in the underworld making them outlandish. And the girls' problems? Traumatic, over the top melodrama that is completely ridiculous. And when I say traumatic I'm not joking. Some parts get very graphic regarding the horrors the girls experienced in their past.
As each girl gets her turn, things go in bizarre directions, with Kazami "fixing them". By the middle where one girl blows herself up with a grenade I was too floored to know what to think. In the next episode Kazami runs away with a little girl to save her from an assassination plot. Each story is more crazy than the last and I'd cheer it on, while already curious about how messed up the next one would be. The last plot is a survivor horror story. This ain't your typical harem show, but is it enough to make it worthwhile?.
It depends on what you want and what needs to be overlooked. Kazami is strange in his detached personality, but not endearing. The girls have some hard hitting stories supporting them, but as actual characters are unremarkable. It looks nice with decent animation, and abundant in fan service (mostly in the panty shot variety). It's a harem anime so don't expect much, even if many harem conventions are thrown out the window... with a bomb strapped to them. It's not enough to overcome the usual problems that come with the territory, but on the other hand it's wacky enough that it might be worth it for those seeking something unusual.
With all the girls getting their time in the spotlight, the second season turns to Yuji, who's led a really screwed up life. I was especially impressed with his back story concerning his relationship with his mentor Asako. On top of that, it works up to lots of action, adventure, and yes... the sister option.
While looking like a typical harem show, most aspects are far stronger than titles in the genre are known for, but Fruit of Grisaia has the characters, story, and adventure to put it on par with more higher class anime. Very much worth checking out, but don't be too hard on it for the way it starts.
Kazumi: Lies are like colors, the more you pile on, the blacker they get.
JB: In the case of lies, it's the "redder they get" right?
Kazumi: Add enough red, and it turns black too.
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