This is the second installment of the “Grisaia” Trilogy, noted as “Le Labyrinthe de la Grisaia”. Although presented as a ‘movie’, it is more like two extended episodes of the series and acts as a bridge piece between the ending of “Fruit” and the start of “Eden”, which will then conclude the entire series (in theory. You know how a cash cow is).
It is best seen as a recap/backstory approach, for we can examine how Yuuji became the rather cold-blooded killer that he is now. It is delivered as a report to his handler, JB, whom, I would have assumed, knew a lot more about him than the arc lets on. Or perhaps it is a reiteration of what she already knows and needs to know more and it benefits us in the long-run. What you come away with is that Yuuji is more morally bankrupt that you realize, more emotionally bereft that he lets on, more spiritually dead than he will actively admit to himself, but in the field of work that he finds himself, that is a marvelous asset. You shouldn’t be rationalizing things too much. We start out with his youth and his sister, Kazuki.
She was a fiercely talented girl, a painting prodigy to the point that she was the sole income for the family. This caused a huge amount of stress and strain on the family, as Yuuji was a dirt clod compared to her, plus aided by Kazuki’s excessive love for Yuuji (almost incestuous; you be the judge) made things rough and tough. Then Kazuki had the temerity to up and die. This destroyed the family and dad became an abusive alcoholic. Mom and son flee, only to be found by the drunken sot about a year later. He sexually assaults mom and Yuki kills dad with a sake bottle. Mom tells Yuki to flee and meet her at the train station, but she doesn’t show up. Heading home, he discovers mom has hanged herself in shame. Such a Norman Rockwell moment.
Yuki finds himself ‘adopted’ by one of the men who bought Kazuki’s paintings, Heath Oslo. But he is another pervert and makes Yuuji costume up in a silver wig and dress so he looks just like Kazuki and more perversion ensues. After some time of this, one of Oslo’s men tries attacking Yuuji and Yuuji dispatches him. Look, killing dad was the hardest one; this guy is nothing. Olso is not angry. In fact, he sends him to a ‘camp’ where other borderline psychotics and heartless killers go to learn their vocation. Here, he meets Marlin, a girl for whom he feels something real. Sadly, they were pitted against each other in a graduation exercise (“Kill or be killed”. Man, that’s one tough graduation.)
Well, he can’t do it and takes the defeat, although he is not killed. But Olso is not overall pleased with the results and continues his Yuuji abuse. However, a Delta Force-type team storms the academy and kills almost everyone. They find Yuuji cuffed to a bed and not only save him, but Asako Kusakabe (yeah, that lady up there) decides to rehabilitate him (in a way). However, Oslo manages to get away in the confusion. Aw, shucks. I hate loose ends.
Meanwhile, back at the academy, one of the girls, Sachi, as the maid, was cleaning up the place and came across his shredded documents (which is why you do NOT get a standard shredder but a confetti shredder; harder to reconstruct the document). So, since Oprah is no longer on TV and Maury is a bit on the dull side, they read all about Yuuji.
This is a rather brutal offering in this series, as what we see is far more disturbing than merely cutting and gutting people like they were fish. It does give a tremendous back story to Yuuji’s life, but it is unrelentingly cruel and vicious. It is truly a wonder he is NOT a serial killer, as all the components are in place for him. And since we have seen him in action, he is very good at what he does. But I am curious as to the real reason behind the tale. I have to wonder why we are doing this, unless it has something to do with the third installment or last season of this show. As a movie, it is unsatisfying, as it goes nowhere, but that the problem with bridge films. They aren’t supposed to resolve, merely deliver you to the final stop with a bit more information than you previously had.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 6 (Standard)
Plot 7 (Interesting but brutal)
Pacing 6 (The fights slow it all down)
Effectiveness 6 (Lost because of the extended fights)
Conclusion 5 (This is a pure bridge offering)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Overall 6 (Merely a conduit)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Why did you allow me to survive?