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Light Novel / Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash

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Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash (Hai to Gensou no Grimgar) is a Japanese light novel series written by Ao Jumonji and illustrated by Eiri Shirai, which began publication in 2013. A manga adaptation was serialized in Gangan Joker from 2015 to 2016. An anime adaptation produced by A-1 Pictures and directed by Ryosuke Nakamura premiered in January 2016, and ran for 12 episodes.

Haruhiro wakes up in a mysterious fantasy world, along with several other young adults. None of them can remember how they got there or any personal details aside from their names. They have no choice but to join the Frontier Army's Reserve Force, Crimson Moon, as volunteer soldiers. These volunteer soldiers act as freelance monster exterminators, killing monsters and turning in the loot for cash. Haruhiro forms an adventuring group with Yume, Shihoru, Ranta, Manato, and Moguzo. Unfortunately, they are very inexperienced and must struggle to kill even the weakest monsters.


The light novels have been licensed for English release by J-Novel Club, which began releasing translated ebooks in December 2016, and by Seven Seas Entertainment for physical releases beginning June 2017.

The story has entered its final arc as of Volume 15.

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash provides examples of these tropes:

  • A-Cup Angst: Yume gets upset when Ranta calls her flat. She isn't really, but next to Shihoru, whom both she and Ranta compare her to...
  • Adventure Guild: Crimson Moon doesn't hand out quests, but they do employ adventurers as monster exterminators. They provide each adventurer with 10 silver coins initially, although membership costs 20 silver. The adventurers are then expected to use this money to equip themselves with weapons and armor, then to gather information and hunt monsters.
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  • Alien Sky: The moon in Grimgar is blood-red. Several characters comment on how strange this is, since they're sure that the moon should be another colour.
  • All Men Are Perverts: The OVA special reveals that Ranta wasn't alone. It was all four guys, including Manato, who found it impossible to resist the opportunity to see Shihoru and Yume bathing nude.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: From Ranta's egomania and sexism, to Shihoru anorexia and withdrawn personality, each person in the party has an underlying social quirk. The lack of past memories, makes it difficult for them to understand the reasons why they are that way.
  • An Arm and a Leg: One of Mary's former comrades who attacks Haruhiro's group gets his right arm cut off during the fight.
  • Annoying Arrows: Zigzagged. Some hits prove to be fatal, such as with Manato. But played straight in other scenes, where a goblin notices Yume's arrow in him. He then proceeds to pull it out and snaps the arrow in half, and doesn't seem to be slowed down much by it.
  • Anyone Can Die: Haruhiro is arguably the only person safe from getting a death flag, given the story is told from his point of view, but everyone else in his party is fair game. Readers dread debating who might be next to die.
    • Manato dies in Volume 1.
    • Moguzo dies in Volume 3.
    • Mary dies in Volume 10. She gets better.
    • Barbara dies in Volume 15.
    • Kiichi dies in Volume 16.
  • Back from the Dead: Mary is resurrected at the end of Volume 11.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: Death Spots does a slight variation of this trope when he manages to stop Moguzo's giant sword with just one hand after he catches up to the group while they were trying to catch their breath.
  • Boobs of Steel: Barbara, the Thief trainer, has large tracts of land and is quite scary (according to Haruhiro).
  • Came Back Wrong:
    • The head priest warn Haruhiro and company after Manato's death that if they don't cremate the body, then it will be resurrected as a zombie servant of the No Life King in 3 to 5 days. In the anime, we're shown an example of this, when the three members of Mary's previous group attack Haruhiro and the others in episode eleven.
    • Mary can suddenly cast mage spells just moments after being resurrected. Haru is too blinded by emotion to really think over how wrong that should be.
  • Camp: Brittany, or Bri-chan, the leader of Crimson Moon.
  • Crapsack World: Grimgar in general to newcomers from beyond the gate. Grimgar is a violent, dangerous world where the economy is controlled by guilds and people only look out for their own interests. EVERYTHING costs money to do, and none of Grimgar's locals have any charity or kindness in their hearts. Newcomers find themselves stuck in this world, with only 10 silver pieces and bare bones information about the world given to them, and are forced to risk their lives against dangerous monsters to earn money and survive. It's also impossible for them to find a safer job like baking or being a merchant. Remember that everything in this world costs money? The fee to join the guilds which control those professions is prohibitively high, and with only 10 silver pieces, the only guilds cheap enough to join are the adventuring and monster-slaying guilds!
  • Curtains Match the Window: All members of the main group.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: In her previous party, Mary was much more cheerful and encouraging. She healed any wound sustained by her party members and fought on the frontlines. When her party encountered a powerful kobold, three members of her group were killed. Mary was unable to help them because she had run out of magic, causing her to blame herself for their deaths.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Haruhiro gets some good digs in, especially at Ranta's more ridiculous antics. Mary, especially in the beginning, bears a mention.
  • Defiant to the End: Ranta does a Badass Boast at Death Spots and the other kobolds in episode eleven after the scaffolding he and Haruhiro were attempting to escape them from is destroyed.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Haruhiro is subjected to this a few times, such as when Yume and Shihoru were cleaning their clothes in some skimpy outfits. Later his guildmaster rests on top of his groin. He gets a little distracted by not only her putting a lot of weight there, but then her asking him to start dating one of the girls in his group.
  • The Dreaded: Death Spots has this reputation amongst the Volunteer soldiers, as he's a tough Kobold who has killed at least a few of them. His large and imposing figure only adds to that for anyone unfortunate enough to run into him.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Death Spots serves as one, being the main villain near the end of the anime.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: The boys start to frequent the tavern after Manato's death. At one point, their table is littered with empty flagons and they're noticeably inebriated. Whether or not they're actually of legal drinking age doesn't seem to be an issue, since they're served alcohol without being questioned. Considering the males all refer to themselves with 'ore,' it seems unlikely they are kids.
  • Dying as Yourself: After Mary casts a spell to free her three former comrades from the No Life king's curse in episode eleven, the final one embraces his old friend with his left arm before turning to dust. This strongly suggests he remembered his old friend and was saying farewell as best as he could in his final moments.
  • Dying to Be Replaced: Manato is introduced as a skilled fighter, wise leader and charismatic friend. He ends up being the first party member to die, leaving main protagonist, Haruhiro, to try to fill his big shoes.
  • Evolving Credits: The opening is changed starting with episode 6 to include Mary along with the rest of the main group. She also begins to appear in the ending credits starting with episode 7.
  • Eye Scream: Death Spots gets an arrow to the eye from Yume in episode twelve. Haruhiro later knocks his other eye out with his dagger.
  • Fanservice: True to its genre, the anime adaptation sprinkles in a generous amount of Male Gaze, and some Female Gaze, too.
  • Fantasy Character Classes: For Haruhiro's group, Haruhiro is a Thief, Yume is an archer, Shihoru is a Black Mage, Ranta is a Dark Knight, Moguzo is a Knight, and Manato is a priest.
  • Fed to Pigs: In the Light Novels, the group feeds one Kobold Elder to the pigrats. They devour it hastily.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: They've endured death, humiliation, poverty, and misery together. Even the fiercest inter-party fighting or the promise of a better lifestyle will not tear them apart. Though no one says it aloud, they intend to succeed or die as members of their first and only party.
  • Figure It Out Yourself: Brittany, and by extension Crimson Moon, don't give their members any aid asides from the initial money. Adventurers are expected to gather information and earn money on their own.
  • Friendly Fire Proof: Averted. Yume is specifically told not to fire arrows at enemies engaged with their comrades, as she might accidentally hit one of their teammates instead. So she ends up picking up some melee abilities as a result. And in a later fight, some goblins do end up hitting their own teammate, who seems to just shrug it off due to his immense size.
  • Genre Deconstruction:
    • Of the multiple, "humans sent to and becoming trapped on a fantasy world that follows Role-Playing Game mechanics" stories. Grimgar's spin is if people who are NOT gamers get sent to such a planet, and fail to grasp mechanics quickly enough to avoid unnecessary death, they do NOT become ace combatants or charismatic figureheads. It frames heroes like Kirito, Momonga, and Shiroe having it significantly easier because they know what they're getting into, as opposed to people who never played (or remember playing) these sort of games.
    • Haruhiro's party also do not become major players or establish an almighty guild that influences the fantasy world's outcome. They are the unnamed nobodies and underdogs that Kirito and Shiroe-style protagonists try to set free or keep from dying.
  • Going Commando: Haruhiro and co. are forced to go commando when their underclothes start getting a little ragged. They can't afford to buy more clothes, so they try to avoid excess wear and tear on their undies unless they're going adventuring.
    • There are quick cuts of Shihoru falling down in various episodes (such as the eighth and eleventh), that indicate she doesn't wear panties even after the party can afford them, assuming the shots aren't animation goofs.
  • Gold–Silver–Copper Standard: Grimgar's currency is based on this. Gold coins are worth a hundred silver coins, which are worth a hundred copper coins.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The No Life King, an ultra powerful lich who's influence and necromancy is felt across the entire continent, but only mentioned in passing phrases.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: In Haruhiro's group, all of the guys wield close-ranged weapons like swords and daggers. The girls use long-ranged weapons. Averted slightly as Yume primarily uses her knife. Even though she's supposed to be their archer.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Mostly played straight. Moguzo and Ranta don't wear metal helmets early on because they simply couldn't afford it. After Haruhiro expresses some concern about a potentially fatal blow to their heads, the two then get some better gear. But said new gear still doesn't cover their face.
    • Actually pretty realistic as face covering helms are hard to fight in without training.
  • Hero of Another Story: Haruhiro's group constantly lags behind Renji's, which has stronger members and has progressed much farther.
  • Heroic BSoD: The main party suffers one after Manato's death. Without their leader, their teamwork and communication deteriorates. The boys head off to the tavern to drink, leaving the girls to grieve on their own. It takes an emotional confession from Yume to get Haruhiro to realize that they're not dealing with the situation very well.
  • Hero Killer: Death Spots, a black and white fur kobold. He was responsible for killing three people in Mary's previous group.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • One of Mary's members in her last group does this so she and the other survivor could escape from Death Spots.
    • Haruhiro likewise does this as well after Death Spots chases after them by climbing up the well they had just climbed. Fortunately for him, he's able to kill Death Spots quickly after they both fall back down a level.
  • Hot-Blooded: Ranta has a habit of flying off the handle whenever things go wrong.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Monster races on Grimgar are intelligent, and its quite telling that the No Life King was able to unite the monster races into an alliance to kill humanity. It's not really clear who started the war between the humans and the monsters, but given how the monster races refuse to negotiate with humans, mankind may not be the helpless victim it claims to be. It seems only elves and dwarfs are willing to maintain peaceful relations.
  • Implacable Man: Death Spots is quite persistent in chasing after Haruhiro's group, even going so far as to climb up the well as they're attempting to escape from the mines.
  • It Gets Easier: The first time the party manages to kill a goblin, there is serious emotional weight, as they all process the fact that they needed to take a life just to earn their next meal. As they kill more and more, the burden wears off until Haruhiro realizes they've simply grown accustomed to life in Grimgar.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: The leader of Mary's previous group says this when he tells her and another member of their group to flee from Death Spots. Since he's too severely injured to escape with them, he decides to slow down the kobold so they can make a break for it.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The Head Priest. He's blunt and detached when giving bad news, but offers covering the funeral fee for those who can't afford it. Considering Grimgar is a Crapsack World, his emotionless mannerisms likely stems from seeing death and suffering on a regular basis. Even when yelled at or grabbed, he doesn't fight back and quietly waits until everyone calms down.
  • Job System: Like in an RPG, adventurers are required to choose a class to specialize in. Guild trainers teach beginners the basics of each class.
  • Killed Off for Real: Death is a very real thing in Grimgar, and when it happens, it's permanent. Manato is the first of the party to die. It is then followed by Moguzo's death a few volumes later. Three members of Mary's previous group were killed as well.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: None of the adventurers can remember anything aside from their names. It's an ongoing effect, too, as at one point it's noted that most of the time they've even forgotten the fact that they've forgotten something.
  • Last Stand: Haruhiro is forced into one with Death Spots after he sacrifices himself to let the others escape, and then falls down a level with the kobold.
  • Lighter and Softer: The anime compared to the original light novel. No, really. The light novel goes into more detail of the Crapsack World (Moguzo gets his first 10 silver stolen), how much of an egotistical asshole Ranta is (he became a Dark Knight when the party needed a Warrior), and the way Renji's party was formed (Sassa basically offered her body to him for membership). All that happens in the first six chapters!
  • Low Fantasy: The world of Grimgar. Magic exists but is more subdued and secondary than most examples of the fantasy genre: the majority of magic is focused on healing, and even Shihoru's darkness-based spells inflict only minor ailments on enemies as opposed to outright harm. People have to take normal jobs to get by and provide for themselves, and much of the party's time spent in town is spent doing mundane things like washing clothes and cooking meals. Money is hard to come by, with a single gold coin being incredibly valuable. The goblins are the only non-human race seen so far, and even they are implied to be raiding because they too are poor and struggling to get by, and even they spend their free time doing mundane things like playing board games and resting. Skirmishes are bloody, short affairs and have a stronger resemblance to modern-day Urban Warfare than to grandiose High Fantasy battles. Aside from the town priest making an off-hand mention of a curse upon the land that raises the dead as zombies, and kobolds that live in the cyrene mine, there aren't any other monsters to be found.
    • This becomes a Subverted Trope. Grandiose magic and combat skills do exist, but are not taught or known by the guilds of Grimgar. Such overpowered techniques are lost knowledge, and only available to an elite few: perhaps no more than a few dozen in the entire world. The greatest fear, is that the No Life King is one of these individuals. His raise-undead magic that spans across the entire continent, as well as a possible self-resurrection spell, seems to indicate as such.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: A bit of an odd example in a high fantasy setting. Manato's ghosts might be keeping Haruhiro company and advising him or it could just be his subconscious. It's never made explicitly clear.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": Haruhiro's group in episode twelve when they see Death Spots emerging from the hole they used to climb back up to escape the mines.
  • Mundane Luxury: When groups start as poor as Haruhiro's, just having the money to buy decent underwear is considered a milestone victory.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Haruhiro and the others have no idea how things work in Grimgar, being from another world. However, Haruhiro's group has it much worse in terms of battle experience. None of the members know how to fight very well or how to work together.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: After Ranta falls back down to where Death Spots and the other kobolds are at, he tells Haruhiro to leave him behind. Haruhiro then starts formulating a plan to get back down to the fifth level so they can attempt to rescue Ranta before he's killed. Fortunately for them, he somehow managed to evade the kobolds long enough to escape into the kobold's farms.
  • Only One Name: Everyone has only one name. All the names are written in katakana, meaning they don’t know the kanji that would form their names. In fact they don't even know that they are Japanese, nor that this nation and its language even exist.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: Goblins in the series are intelligent creatures that have a bit of a social order, with upper-class ones taking wives and banishing those that lose to them in battle to the Old Town. The exiled ones are the ones most often seen, staking a claim to the surrounding area. They also come in different types. Mud goblins are the lowest kind, while proper goblins have pouches they use to carry valuables. Hobgoblins are roughly human-sized, but are dumb and used as servants.
  • Our Kobolds Are Different: Kobolds are Wolf Men about the size of humans. They live underground, particularly within the Cyrene Mines, and are skilled metalworkers, although not to the level that dwarves and gnomes are.
  • Outdoor Bath Peeping: Ranta sneaks out to peek on the girls while they're bathing. Of course, he gets caught and manages to drag Manato and Haruhiro into it too.
  • Perpetual Poverty: Haruhiro's group is constantly low on cash because they can't defeat any monsters. Without killing monsters, they can't sell any loot from their kill and must carefully budget their money.
  • Pride Before a Fall: Manato died because the party become overconfident and challenged goblins stronger than usual, due to an earlier Rousing Speech he gave of their improvement. Manato was worried, but didn't want to contradict himself from just a few minutes ago. The same happened to Mary's party, only it involved kobolds.
  • Portal Crossroad World: Grimgar is connected to multiple worlds and many of it's inhabitants (such as humans, goblins, and even the gods) are not native to it.
  • Rasputinian Death:
    • Some of the early monsters Haruhiro and the others fight against take quite a few hits to be killed, though in this case it's because they're still fairly inexperienced with combat. Once they're more proficient at fighting, only bigger creatures take more than a few hits to die, and it often takes the entire group to bring it down.
    • Death Spots takes quite a lot of effort from Haruhiro's entire group to bring down. No matter how many times he's cut, hit with magic and arrows, he doesn't seem to let up his pursuit of the adventurers.
  • Secret Stab Wound: An arrow version of this trope is utilized in episode 4, after Manato is hit by a crossbow bolt. Though he reacts visibly to getting hit, he continues his escape as best as he can so as not to worry his comrades while they're fleeing for their lives. Once they have a moment to breathe, they realize said wound is mortal, particularly as it can't be healed because Manato can't concentrate due to the pain and blood loss.
  • Sexy Mentor: Barbara, the Thief Guild's instructor.
  • A Shared Suffering: Haruhiro's party stick together, even when offered opportunities to join other groups, because of their suffering as weak and rejected adventurers. Together they were pathetic, so in the unlikely chance they'll survive to be strong and powerful, that will also be together.
  • Ship Sinking: Volume 1 sank the Manato x Shihoru just as it left port. The end of Volume 10 torpedoes Haruhiro x Mary like the atomic breath of an angry Godzilla before volume 11 begs to differ. Feel free to place your bets on how long the teased Ranta x Yume or Haruhiro x Shihoru will last. We're running out of ships here!
  • Ship Tease: One is hinted at with Ranta and Yume in episode twelve, when they both think of how much they hate each other, only for them to mention some semi-good qualities about the other. Another one is hinted at between Haruhiro and Mary, as she was watching over him when he wakes up, and has several instances where they seem to share some close moments.
  • Shoot the Medic First: Priests, the White Mage class, are often targeted in battle. Enemies are generally smart enough to realize that killing the healer will seriously hinder the party's chances of survival. It's therefore up to the warriors and physical fighters to protect them. Too bad nobody told Manato's group that earlier.
  • Stripperiffic: Barbara's outfit bares a significant amount of cleavage, midriff, and legs. Brittany shows a lot of skin too, what with the chest-baring vest and the hot pants.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Combat in Grimgar is difficult and extremely dangerous, as Haruhiro's inexperienced group quickly learns the hard way when they initially have trouble killing even the weakest monsters. In addition, earning money is critical and volunteer soldiers like them have to keep killing monsters daily in order sustain themselves. Finally, everything in Grimgar is just as lethal as anything in the real world, so lowering your guard for even one second can get you killed before somebody can heal you.
    • Death is final in Grimgar. Despite its resemblance to an RPG, fallen comrades can't be brought back from the dead with magic or an item. If a teammate dies, then they're permanently dead. In addition, a cremation and funeral are quite expensive, just as they are in real life.
    • Using the same tactics and attack patterns is foolish, because the enemies are highly intelligent creatures with their own language and culture. They eventually figure out the pattern to skills and spells humans use, forming their own counter strategies to neutralize them.
  • The Social Darwinist: How society treat newcomers. They're given a brief introduction of the violent new world, several vague suggestions how to survive, then 10 silver pieces to purchase gear and obtain training. To be recognized as a productive member of society and learn more of the world's secrets, a person will need to earn 20 more silver pieces to purchase citizenship. Those who can surmount the hardship are tolerated. Those who cannot are merely deadweight.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: After Manato dies, the party needs a new cleric. Kikkawa recommends Mary, a trainee Volunteer Soldier that's looking for a party. Unfortunately, Mary is unwilling to cooperate with the others and butts heads with Ranta. She refuses to participate in battle, stating that she shouldn't be expected to since she's a cleric. She even refuses to heal Ranta's squirting leg wound, essentially telling him to suck it up. The rest of the party don't really like her either.
  • Token Non-Human: Head Cleric at the town is the only non-human, specifically an elf, who is also not antagonist in the story. At least so in Anime.
  • Training from Hell: Haruhiro is subjected to this by his guildmaster while training him. However, her training pays off when he manages to take down Death Spots.
  • Tranquil Fury: Haruhiro does this in episode twelve, after the lines he occasionally sees shows up, guiding him on the best method to take down Death Spots with.
  • Trapped in Another World: The main characters obviously aren't from Grimgar, since they're all wearing modern day clothing at first. They are aware of this, but don't remember where they came from and are unable to leave Grimgar.
    • It is eventually revealed that portals to other worlds exist and there are secret societies to find the gateway back to Earth. Another major revelation: several monster races, just like humans, are not native to Grimgar either... nor are the gods.
  • Turns Red: Mary warns Haruhiro and the others that Death Spots grows stronger as he suffers more damage. After catching up to them, he manages to stop Moguzo's attack with one hand.
  • Undying Loyalty: Haruhiro's party for one another. Ranta is given an offer to join Renji's party. Yume and Shihoru are also offered to join an elite all female guild known as the Wild Angels. Although accepting would mean significantly greater odds of survival and a better lifestyle, they refuse on the grounds that leaving would place the others in a weakened position. It's similarly alluded that Manato turned down multiple opportunities and rejected them for the same reason.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 4: Manato dies after the party is ambushed by goblins.
    • In addition to the above, the Light Novel also includes Moguzo's death at the end of volume 3 and Ranta's betrayal at the end of volume 8.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The fate of the three volunteer soldiers from Mary's previous group was only mentioned in passing when Haruhiro and the others learned more about her past. They show up again in episode eleven, also demonstrating Came Back Wrong, and what happens when a body isn't cremated shortly after death as they were forced to do with Manato after his death.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Haruhiro is troubled when he realizes that the goblin that they're trying to kill is desperately trying to live. Goblins are considered the weakest monsters and are regularly hunted by adventurers. However, it has been shown that goblins have human-like qualities, such as the ability to use tools. Episode 8 really hammers this home, with goblins on break playing chess and card games, and the eyecatch shows a goblin captain petting rabbits. Goblins also have a diverse language, but much of it is higher or lower than the sound range humans can hear, so it only sounds like grunts and squeals.
    • They're also fully capable of planning their own ambushes, using a variety of weapons and soldiers to attack Haruhiro's group. This results in Manato's death.
    • Kobold even more so, as not only have we seen them farming, they also set alarms to warn about ambushes and have the technology to smelt iron for weaponry.
    • The light novel reveals that several monster races are not native to Grimgar and suffer the same Trapped in Another World predicament as humans.
  • You Wake Up in a Room: The story begins with Haruhiro and the others all waking up in a dark room without any idea how they got there.
    • And again in volume 15. In fact, it's the exact same room.

Alternative Title(s): Hai To Gensou No Grimgar