Gleipnir review: One is one of the strangest anime I’ve seen, and I like it!

Gleipnir Anime
The Gleipnir Season 2 anime will be based on the Gleipnir manga series by Sun Takeda. Pic credit: Studio Pine Jam

I discovered Gleipnir thanks to Crunchyroll adding the first episode to their YouTube channel. This review will cover the anime because I haven’t read the manga.

But I will! If you haven’t seen Gleipnir yet, be advised that it has body-horror, partial nudity, groping, and a lot of blood and gore.

Do not let the cute mascot in the image fool you. Gleipnir is not baby’s first anime. But the plot and the characters make Gleipner stand out.

If you enjoy FLCL or play FNAF a lot, then Gleipnir is right up your alley.

Gleipnir
Shuichi is in for the fight of his life. Pic credit: Pine Jam

What is Gleipnir about?

Gleipnir is an odd series. Season 1 has 13 episodes covering the manga’s first six volumes, which is good news for fans waiting for season 2 since the 11th volume came out in English on April 26, 2022.

And Crunchyroll has season 1 available for streaming right now. You can watch Gleipnir in Japanese, English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Gleipnir is about Shuichi. A basic protag high school student who can transform into a dog mascot costume?

Shuichi makes allies and enemies as he tries to figure out the truth about himself and a mysterious coin-collecting game.

Gleipnir Ep. 1 | Something Inside of Me

Episode 1: Something Inside of Me

The episode starts with a strange smoky black figure picking up a gold coin. The scene changes outside of Hotel Mythos, and we watch the figure put the coin into a vending machine.

She selects a drink, but she walks away when the machine doesn’t respond. But she’s only taken a few steps when something goes thump in the machine, and she turns to find a person trying to climb out of it.

Once he does, he assures the figure that he’s fine and asks her if she was the one who found the coin. The figure nods and the scene cuts to our main protag: Shuichi.

Shuichi is well-liked and seems smart, as his peers expect him to get a college recommendation. But Shuichi asks for more time to think it over and spends the rest of his day doing everyday student activities.

Later that night, Shuichi visits a vending machine and plays on his phone until he smells a fire. Shuichi heads for the source and finds a storehouse ablaze, but before he calls for help, Shuichi smells a person inside the building.

He transforms into a dog mascot costume and saves the girl, but when he’s about to leave, he sniffs her again and says something about her scent as he starts to pull her panties down.

Shuichi stops himself, transforms back, and leaves, but he finds out that his phone is missing the next day. Fortunately for him, the girl he saved goes to his school and has his phone.

Unfortunately, she blackmails him with the knowledge about Shuichi being a monster and that he almost took advantage of her. Shuichi reminds her that he saved her, but the two are attacked by another girl with powers similar to Shuichi.

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What It Means To Be Empty | Gleipnir Episode 2

Episode 2: What It Means to Be Empty

Shuichi and Claire manage to get the upper hand, but Shuichi grabs Claire and jumps out of the window to hide. Claire notices that Shuichi has a zipper on his back and tugs it down to reveal a fleshy interior.

Claire slips inside Shuichi, and the fight resumes once the girl finds them. Claire ends the fight by shooting the girl in the back with a gun that is part of Shuichi’s costume.

Shuichi freaks out and attempts to cut ties with Claire, but she says there are more monsters like him, and Shuichi isn’t a fighter. The girl was after Claire’s coin that looks identical to the one we see in the first episode.

Claire proceeds to tell Shuichi about how her older sister Elena is a monster and that she killed their parents and gave Claire the coin.

Commando vs Swimsuit | Gleipnir

Episode 3: Elena

Shuichi and Claire train together, and Claire has Shuichi smell Elena’s uniform to track her. So Shuichi does, and the scent reveals that Elana has killed many people.

The two decide to check the area around Elena’s school, and Claire comments on how odd it is that Shuichi knows Elena since she went to all-girl schools. But Shuichi doesn’t know how he knows her either, and the two catch Elena’s scent.

They go “doggy style,” as Claire calls it, and just as Claire is about to shoot Elena, Shuichi stops her, but Elena grabs Shuichi from behind. Elena apologizes and asks them to move to a different location, where she reveals she was the one who caused Shuichi to transform.

Claire gives herself away, and Elena transforms in anger and rips Shuichi’s head off!

Episode 4: I Wish I was Someone Else

Seeing Claire inside Shuichi calms Elena down, and she shows remorse about ripping off Shuichi’s head. But when Claire demands to know why Elena killed their parents, Elena contradicts herself.

First, she says their parents died in a gas explosion, but later, she killed them to protect Clair. And that she’s going to keep protecting Claire and Shuichi.

Elena asks Claire if she still has the coin, but Claire lies and says she threw it away, so Elena gives her another one and tells Claire where to find the vending machine. Claire finds it and meets the odd man from episode 1.

He introduces himself as a shape-shifting alien and that the coins are his friends. He’ll grant a wish to anyone who brings him a coin, and he can heal Shuichi.

Claire gives him one, and Shuichi is healed, but he has a scar around his neck. The alien says that if they gather 100 coins, then the game will be over, and he’ll grant them enough power to do whatever they want.

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But this deal applies to anyone who brings him coins, and Claire decides to search the mountains to find the alien’s ship and the coins.

Episode 5: Crazy Enemies

Shuichi and Claire head up into the mountains and encounter a martial artist named Sanbe. Sanbe wished to be the strongest, and he can transform into demonic-looking being with blades for arms.

The three fight, and Sanbe declares himself the loser, but another Gatherer shows up and takes a picture of them. He tries to intimidate our group, but even injured, Sanbe slices the enemy in half with ease.

Claire grabs his phone, and Sanbe agrees to join their group. But he’s only interested in helping Shuichi and Claire since they beat him.

Episode 6: Gatherers

Claire used the monster’s phone to find a group of Gatherers to join, as it turns out that the monster they faced was part of a group that stooped to any means to recruit members. Claire and Shuichi make contact with a different group, but the leader insists on seeing their human forms first.

Not wanting to reveal Shuichi’s identity yet, Claire goes with the leader Koyanagi and agrees to take part in a ritual that will make it impossible for Claire to tell the group’s secrets. Koyanagi reveals that she knows Elena, and Claire pleads for the information.

Koyanagi tells Claire her backstory, and the two make out off-screen. Shuichi is approached by a motorcycle helmet girl who asks to pet him.

Her name is Chihiro, and after getting her fill of petting, she asks Shuichi if he can help her find her wallet with his sense of smell. Shuichi agrees, and the two head off, but they don’t realize that a third group member is following them because he’s in love with Chihiro.

His name is Ikeuchi, and his head turns into a video camera. Chihiro climbs inside of Shuichi to make the search easier, and Chihiro can sense Shuichi’s feelings for Claire.

Claire is wearing one of Koyanagi’s neck chockers made from Koyanagi’s hair at the group’s base. It merged into her body and is under her skin to prevent anyone from taking it off.

Claire notices Shuichi’s absence, and Elena’s group finds Chihiro’s wallet.

Episode 7: Metamorphosis

Koyanagi tells Claire that she was a classmate of Elena’s and agrees to send the group’s fighter to help find Shuichi and Chihiro. Unfortunately, Shuichi and Chihiro encounter a young man named Subaru who summons a giant two-headed monster that crushes Shuichi and Chihiro’s bodies into pulp.

But somehow, they survived, and Shuichi found a new horrifying ability. His and Chihiro’s bodies merged to form a black fox-thing, with two tails, two pistols, and a white dress.

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The fight resumes, and Subaru calls them “rare” like him. Meanwhile, Claire and Yota are searching for them, or rather, Claire is trying to find Shuichi, and Yota keeps hitting on her.

Yota asks Claire if she’s dating Shuichi, but Claire says that Shuichi is her other half and smiles. Shuichi’s and Chitoro’s new form is about to kill Subaru when Elena shows up and stops the fight.

Subaru wants to finish them off, but Elena refuses, and the sight of Shuichi’s new form pointing a gun at her makes Elena cry. Chihiro regains control of herself after seeing a memory of Elena and Shuichi together, and she stops him from firing.

Once Elena and Subaru walk away, Shuichi and Chihiro regain their bodies. Claire and Yota find them and bring them back to the base.

Episode 8: Shadows in Memory

Shuichi dreams about going to cram school and wakes up; he then gets a hair chocker from Koyanagi and says neither he nor Chihiro remembers what happened. Isao, a boy who can manipulate plants and transform into a furry monster, recognizes Shuichi from being in the same neighborhood that Shuichi and his friends attended.

Shuichi admits that he attended cram school but says he was the only student. Isao apologies for the mistake, but Claire looks suspicious.

The two are introduced to Miku, a store employee who can turn invisible and hides under a blanket. Claire confronts Chihiro and scolds her for leaving the group.

But Chihiro stands her ground and tells Claire that she’ll never be truly one with Shuichi. So everyone calls it a day.

Ikeuchi follows Shuichi and accuses him of hiding things from the group. Shuichi confirms this and walks away, thinking that his power is meant to protect ordinary people.

Chihiro calls Elena and demands to know about Shuichi’s abilities. Elena says Shuichi has a special gift.

He can merge bodies, and as long as both of their goals are aligned, the merger will stay intact. However, Elena becomes infuriated when Chihiro reveals that she saw Elena in Shuichi’s memories.

Chihiro tries to reason with her to stop collecting the coins and join their group, but Elena mocks her, saying that someone already had 100 coins. And her goals are different from Shuichi’s.

The next day, Koyanagi reveals she has a good idea about the ship’s location.

Episode 9: Staked Claims

The group comes across the place where Sanbe killed the monster that tried to blackmail them, and Ikeuchi gets suspicious of their guilty expressions. Finding a boulder with a spray-painted symbol, Koyanagi decides to lead the group around the mountain to avoid fighting.

Chihiro feels guilty about hiding information from the group, and Claire realizes too late that they’ve walked into a trap. So they try to run away but are stopped by a blue centipede monster named Morita.

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He captures Koyanagi and starts getting handsy with her while trying to convince the others to join his group. When he sees that his words aren’t getting through, Morita tosses a plastic bag to them, and Chihiro sees a woman’s head inside it.

Toya proceeds to rescue Koyanagi and breaks Morita’s jaw. Then, the group buries the woman’s head and attempts to escape.

But the boss of the enemy group Madoka catches up to them and overwhelms Toya and Isao before spotting Claire climbing into Shuichi.

Episode 10: Beautiful Flower

Madoka offers them a deal: give him all of the coins they have, join his group, and in return, he’ll grant them whatever they wish for. But one of them has to die for what happened to Morita.

If they refuse, then he’ll kill them all. Claire asks if Isao or Toya died due to the wounds Madoka caused them if that would work.

Madoka laughs and says no, but he likes Claire, so she’s off-limits for the sacrifice. Madoka leads his gang away to give our group time to choose.

Miku comes up with a plan to turn invisible and kill Madoka in his human form, but the group says it’s too risky. Claire goes to Isao and asks him to grow the Nerium shrubs she brought with her.

Isao looks horrified, but he does, and Shuichi confronts Claire about her plan. Claire tries to dissuade him, but Shuichi refuses, and Claire realizes that he’s in love with her.

So, they carry out their plan, and Claire sets fire to the bushes while the others run. Ikeuchi abandons the group but is killed by Koyanagi’s chocker before he can ruin the plan.

Madoka and four others died due to the poisonous smoke, and our group got away safely. Claire believes Elena gave her another coin so that Claire could save Elena from herself.

Meanwhile, Elena went to confront the alien.

Episode 11: The Price of Resolve

Elena blames the alien for everything, but he claims that humans make their own choices. Claire tries to get the others to keep going with finding the coins, but Koyanagi makes everyone head back home.

Isao is disturbed by Claire’s and Shuichi’s behavior, and he doesn’t understand how Shuichi could have attended cram school by himself. Shuichi tells Claire that he’ll keep fighting and continue to be one with her.

Shuichi confronts the alien by himself and demands to know why he chose to turn into a mascot costume. But the alien refuses to answer and instead offers to make Shuichi an average human if he has a coin to trade.

But Shuichi declares that he’ll get 100 coins and win the game. A member of Madoka’s group confronts Shuichi, but Shuichi kills him before he can go after Claire.

The alien remembers a girl called Honoka finding the first coin and telling him to start the game.

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Episode 12: Where the Promise was Made

Elena’s group learns that someone is guarding the ship against other Gatherers. One of Elena’s friends, Naoto, thinks back to when he, Elena, and their friends went to cram school together.

Months before Gleipnir began, Naoto dated Aiko before Honoka vanished. Naoto tells Kaito that Aiko has been acting strange when the group gets together, including Elena and Shuichi.

Honoka is the only one missing, and Naoto reveals that Honoka moved away because her father killed someone. Kaito is upset that he’s the last to know, but Aiko says they shouldn’t look for her.

Honoka left without saying goodbye to any of them, and she didn’t want to be found. But Kaito thought this was odd and learned that Honoka had transformed into an Aiko look-a-like.

Kaito explained the situation to the others, but they didn’t want to do anything to Honoka. Aiko was gone, and they didn’t know the whole story.

So, Kaito confronted Honoka and killed her when she said that Aiko was dead. Naoto, Elena, and Shuichi figured out that Aiko had killed herself, and Honoka had taken advantage of it.

Because she believed that no one would care if she disappeared, and Kaito was overcome with grief. Kaito finds a coin and gives it to the alien, and rumors spread about a glowing girl who asks people if they know her name.

If they answer incorrectly, then they disappear. Shuichi decided to use a coin to stop Kaito if he was behind it.

In the present, Claire investigates the cram school and finds a doll that looks like Shuichi’s mascot form.

Episode 13: We Two Are One

Shuichi requests everyone to hand over their coins to him and Claire and return to their everyday lives. Claire spends the night at Shuichi’s house and realizes that Elena killed Shuichi’s parents.

Their hair chockers fall off, and Koyanagi calls Shuichi to tell him they’ll give him the coins. But she and the others have made a deal with Elena instead.

Elena is scared that the world will end if Shuichi learns the truth. Shuichi sees Chihiro giving the coins to Elena, and Claire arrives with the doll in hand. Shuichi starts remembering, and Elena tries to erase his memories again, but he and Claire fight back.

Elena reveals that she killed his parents to protect him, but the girl who looks like Honoka arrives. She asks Shuichi what her name is, but Elena erases his memories.

The girl disappears, and it’s revealed that Kaito has most of the coins and is using the girl to protect the ship from Gatherers. Shuichi is safe as long as he doesn’t remember, but that doesn’t stop him from going to the mountain with Claire and Sanbe.

Final thoughts

Gleipnir isn’t for everyone, and there have been times when I wanted to stop watching. But the story drew me in, and I hope we get news on season two soon.

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