Grimm Variations First Thoughts

Grimm Variations First Thoughts

Posted on 18 Apr 2024

Now officially available on Netflix, the highly anticipated Grimm Variations is an dark twist on traditional fairy tales from the brothers Grimm.  Known as "Grimm's Suite" in Japan, the show is an Original Net Animation (ONA) from WIT Studio , the the company behind Attack on Titan and The Ancient Magus Bride. Each episode has been collaborated on with a different mangaka, and each is helmed by a different director.

Clocking in at around 40 minutes an episode, each entry presents a new and slightly sinister variation of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel & Gretel, The Elves and the Shoemaker, The Town Musicians of Bremen and the Pied Piper of Hamlin (the latter of which I played in a school production, so nice memories there). The episodes are bookended with scenes featuring Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, along with their little sister Charlotte. 

For the purposes of our First Thoughts article, I've watched the first entry. In this version off the classic Cinderella tale, the awful stepmother and her two daughters move into Kiyoko's family home following the death of her mother. But far from the meek and put-upon victim of old, Kiyoko is a doll-obsessed and rather dangerous femme fatale with her own agenda.

The first thing to strike me was the lovely sketchy, pastel-coloured presentation featuring the Grimm siblings. It's a nice reversal to add an element of unreality to the story, which featured beautiful production values with sharp and detailed designs. This is a series you're going to want to watch on a big screen if you can, the lush palette, detailed backgrounds and fluid animation certainly warrant your full attention. While the series has a very dark tone, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Cinderalla doesn't end in the bloodbath I expected, instead taking a far more striking psychological approach and showing how the young Kiyoko effortlessly manipulates those around her while conversing with her ever-present dolly. 

Grimm Variations

Cinderella is directed by Yōko Kanamori, whose recent works include Magus Bride and Mob Psycho 100. She does a wonderful job with close-ups, flashbacks and masterful pacing to ensure that the more disturbing elements really leave a mark on the viewer.

I'm quite excited to see what the remaining five episodes have to offer, the synopsis for each offering up intriguing descriptions of what's to come - Little Red Riding Hood, for example, features a group of young men (Grey and his club of "wolves") who excite themselves by killing women in virtual reality. However, his fortunes change when he encounters his first real life prey, Scarlet. 

I'm happily recommending the series based on the first entry, it's clear that Studio WIT have a very clear vision for this series and a raft of talent that's really taken the concept to heart.

Grimm Variation is streaming now on Netflix.

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