Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash Impressions
Starting off with all of its main characters "awakening" in a fantasy world clearly unlike their own, Grimgar evokes memories of Sword Art Online and Log Horizon. Though there are some differences, are there enough to justify returning to such a recently well-used idea?
Actually...maybe. Thus far, it hasn't done anything exceptional to stand out, but has made enough small changes to give it a different "feel" than other series. For instance, not *everyone* seems to be from another world--to many, this IS the real world. Combine that with their characters' amnesia and the core concept changes: the goal isn't to "return home" because they have no idea where home IS, and must make do with their environment as it is.
Then there's the increased focus on young characters. Though both SAO and Log Horizon starred teens as their main characters, both of them tended to act far more adult than Grimgar's believably youthful cast. This age difference changes much: for one, the characters aren't as omni-capable. Though Kirito's Gary Stu-ness is well-documented, even the characters of Log Horizon were incredibly accomplished. Shiroe alone was a master of economic theory and battle tactics. By comparison, the children here struggle with simple goblins and it seems charming, if causing one to ponder about the logic behind the countless video games featuring ten year olds beating everything from orcs to wizards to dragons.
Grimgar also serves as an example of how to do fanservice. The first episode loses a few minutes to discussion about one of the female characters' large breasts and the other girl flirting with her, which would normally be the part where I cut the episode off and gave a write-up about how garbage most anime is these days. But rather than feeling like it's catering to the usual lascivious consumers of such scenes, it feels natural in the context of a bunch of kids who're still going through puberty and doubtlessly have a high level of curiosity about the opposite sex. That, plus it provides one of the most genuinely funny scenes of the Winter season.