Netflix Twisted Fairy Tale Anime Is A Disturbing And Entrancing Binge

By Nina Phillips | Published

grimm variations

Grimm Variations — an anime reinterpretation of classic fairy tales — delivers on its promise of being dark right away. Poisoning, murder, torture, and strange disappearances fill the series. But it’s not just shock value that pulls in viewers–but it’s exceptional animation, and its captivating music.

The Concept

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Always on the hunt for new anime, I stumbled across the trailer for Grimm Variations about a month before the show was set to air on Netflix. The preview drew me in right away, claiming to have an even darker twist for six classic Grimm fairytales, and covering popular stories like “Cinderella,” “Red Riding Hood,” and “Hansel and Gretel.”

Each episode keeps its promise, delivering a twist on the tales you know so well. However, they take care to never move too far away from the original, making it easy to identify the fairytale it is based on.

Animation And Music

While I’m all for gruesome and gory anime, what drew me into Grimm Variations wasn’t the dark aspects. While every episode has different directors and art styles, they’re all gorgeous, especially the character designs. There is a lot of focus on the eyes, and they are done spectacularly. The play on colors, shadows, and movement also drew me in.

My favorite part had to be the music, though. A lot of the songs are twists on classic pieces. Sometimes the actual message of the song didn’t fit well, but the beat and stylized versions of the songs made sense with the series.

A Mixed Bag

While I loved many aspects of Grimm Variations, it wasn’t my favorite anime series. Self-contained episodes in an anthology style can be amazing if done right, but more often than not, they leave me feeling confused or like I missed something important.

Some episodes were good, such as the first episode, “Cinderella” and “Town Musicians of Bremen.” Unfortunately, more often than not, I felt the story wasn’t finished. For many episodes, I was confused about what was actually happening, and why, making me feel like the episode wasn’t finished or flushed out enough.

Wasted Time

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I had high hopes that the episodes would be more solid, especially due to the episode length. The episodes run anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes, a bit longer than the standard 20-something minutes for most anime. Unfortunately, that extra time often went towards credits and interactions between the Grimm siblings at the beginning, rather than giving the story more room to grow.

Grimm Variations currently has a 7.02 on My Anime List. The anime hasn’t been out long so, the score is likely to fluctuate for a while. However, I find the number pretty accurate.

Not For Everyone

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Though I loved the premise, and I was extremely excited by the trailer, the show fell a little flat on my expectations. While I still enjoyed watching it, I was hoping for more, and it’s definitely not going to sit as one of my favorites. Because of this, I have to give the series a 3.5.

If you want to give this dark anime a try for yourself, Grimm Variations is available to stream on Netflix. All six episodes were released at once, making it the perfect show to binge-watch one day. And if you’re a bigger fan of short stories and anthologies than I am, this could be a new favorite series.