Record of Grancrest War Series Review: Run While You Still Can

Record of Grancrest War is a fantasy series that doesn’t seem to understand that cohesion is an absolute must when building a fantasy world. However, that’s just the start of this anime’s problems.

Review:

I really love fantasy. There’s just something really great about stepping away from this world for awhile and losing yourself in another world with characters who are struggling to overcome overblown evil and to find their way in their world. That means, even when early indicators are that a story might not hold up, I tend to hold on and hope. In many cases that leaves me feeling a little burned.

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Record of Grancrest War isn’t actually a case of me feeling burned. I’d honestly be lying if I said I didn’t quite enjoy that frustrating twenty minutes of viewing each week even as I wrote ever snarkier episode reviews about it. It isn’t so bad that it is good, nor is it actually good. There’s just something about it that remained appealing and kept reigniting my optimism that maybe this anime might pull itself together even as it failed to capitalise on anything time after time.

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While that means I don’t have regrets about watching it; it also pretty much means I will never put myself through a rewatch of this anime nor would I actually recommend it to someone unless they were equally desperate for a fantasy and weren’t too concerned about the quality of the story being told.

So let’s look at the show in greater detail.

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Essentially this story bites off a lot more than it can chew. It starts off with a wedding that is essentially interrupted by chaos appearing and killing both the father of the groom and bride, apparently stopping the continent from being united and plunging it into war. It’s a fairly dramatic back drop for a story, but we’ll not get back to this particular plot line for a fair while so just leave that in the back of your mind.

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We jump to Theo and Silua, who from the OP are apparently the main characters but be prepared for these two to just disappear from the story for episodes at a time and regularly not be even half as interesting as anyone in the support cast. Admittedly, there are some adorable Theo and Siluca moments and by the climax Theo is the speech making protagonist that I kind of hoped he would become, but realistically these two kind of bring the show down right from the start by not being interesting enough to shape the story around.

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Instead we keep going off on little side quests about following other characters and their plights. Villar and Milza eat up a lot screen time in the first half of the series being a far more interesting hero character and antagonist. And Marrine and Alexis eat a substantial portion of the second half, being the couple who didn’t get married in the beginning and end up leading opposite factions in the war (at least Marrine does as Alexis is more of an artist than a fighter). Throw in some werewolf maids, an assassin, a warrior, other Lords and Mages, and even a Vampire King who will apparently be super important in the final episode even though we know nothing about him, and the story is cluttered, unfocused, and bloated.

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None of this is the end of the world for a story if it manages to link its ideas together, but Grancrest just kind of reels from event to event, jumping time and space with little care for its audience. You never get a sense of the world as characters literally move between cities and islands and cross half a continent without any real indicator of how long that took. The world as a result feels like a series of hubs rather than an actual world.

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The story also keeps forgetting that the whole point was to end the age of chaos. It gets back to it in the climax but you can go episodes without anyone mentioning chaos. And the chaos beasts that are such a big deal in episode one just vanish for nearly half the series. You can’t help but feel you are being told chaos is a big deal just so the climax makes sense but there’s no evidence to support that for the bulk of the series. Mostly because the series focuses almost exclusively on fighting between the Lords and acquiring lands and crests.

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Theo’s crest makes pretty lights. Not sure if it does anything else, but look, pretty.

And this is where things get really dodgy on the world building side. The crests don’t ever make sense. What one Lords crest does isn’t the same as another and the discrepancies are given no explanation. Even the titular ‘Grancrest’ itself has no explanation other than it will end chaos. Great, what does it do? And you’ll still ask that question at the end. Because while it does end chaos, the how and the why are without even a quick explainer.

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I guess I can’t get through this review without mentioning the visuals. Even in episode one the animation isn’t great. While you can ignore it and enjoy the episode, it isn’t exactly something you would praise. However there are countless moments in episodes where the animation is just outright bad and distracting. And while in a more compelling story they might get away with this, in a show where the story makes little sense, the characters aren’t really winning us over, and the world building has failed, poor animation just takes things a step too far and it becomes quite painful to watch in some instances. Blending poor animation with poor CG also doesn’t help the situation (ask Irina about the water).

Then we have this overly dramatic soundtrack that would work perfectly for a game or a competent anime of this nature, and yet here just feels like it is desperately trying to prop up the thin outline of a narrative and it fails.

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There we have it. Nothing really to recommend here and yet it isn’t unwatchable. I can complain all I like, and I certainly did in the episode reviews, but I kept going back to it and watching. Realistically, after the half-way point I didn’t even want to drop it because I actually did want to see if Theo would become the Emperor and save the world, even if the process involved to get him there made no sense.

If you put yourself through this anime, I’d love to know your thoughts.


Product Link:

 Record of Grancrest War
Record of Grancrest War


Episode Reviews:


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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20 thoughts on “Record of Grancrest War Series Review: Run While You Still Can

  1. When I had heard prior to airing that this was somehow related to Lodoss War (same author?), I had my hopes pretty high since my dad enjoyed that classic fantasy adventure series back in the day. It’s too bad that we don’t get many original fantasy anime these days, and that even when we do, they’re still “not quite there.” One of these days we’ll have a real adventure—it’s a shame Grancrest War failed to rise to the challenge.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts—I was planning to watch this series once it finished airing, but now I think I’ll focus my attentions elsewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, tragically this one didn’t really succeed though it wasn’t all bad. As snarky as I might be about it, I still did have fun, though not because of the quality of the story telling.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Other than the chance to make snarky comments each week and wonder which character was going to raise the next death flag. I still think Siluca really was trying to get herself killed with the number of times she made a comment that in any other show would have been her last before a death scene.

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  2. As a genre I like the ideas fantasy can bring, but generally I find myself not caring about anything in those stories. Record of Grancrest War sounds exactly like the anime of series I picture when I think about a typical fantasy. Minus werewolf maids because that’s a first I heard of such thing lol. I might recommend this to someone whose a big fan of fantasy. Me personally, better if I wait, and see it with someone to make a little bit more amusing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is amazing how almost every part of this show went wrong in some way. You would think that one thing would be done well consistently but they managed to avoid anything actually achieving that.

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  3. Well..of course I remember the weekly posts for this show, and as such I am not planning on giving this one a go. One cringeworthy anime at this moment (angels of death) is at this moment enough for me lol😂😂 Sorry you had to go through this, hopefully a good fantasy anime will come along again at some point 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just keep hoping but good fantasy is apparently hard to come by in anime. They seem to opt for historical and isekai and while both technically have fantasy elements they aren’t really what I’m chasing here.

      Liked by 1 person

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