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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.


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.


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.

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 Record of Grancrest War
Record of Grancrest War

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Karandi James


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Record of Grancrest War Episode 1: She’s Going To Help Him Achieve His Dream Provided She Doesn’t Kill Him First



Right, I’m just giving you the Crunchyroll synopsis because there were a lot of terms and ideas thrown around in this first episode.

Atlatan, a land ruled by chaos. Fearing disaster brought about by chaos, the people lived protected by “Lords;” those with the power of “Crests,” used to suppress the chaos. However, the Lords decided to abandon the concept of protecting the people and turn against each other, stealing each other’s Crests to gain dominion over one another. Among these people are Siluca, a lone mage who despises the Lords, and Theo, a vagrant knight training to someday liberate his homeland. Enticed by Theo’s ideals, Siluca’s coercive tactics have the two forming a contract and together, reform a war-torn land.

– From Crunchyroll


Basically if you read that synopsis you have watched the first episode except for the whole part where they start with a wedding that is supposed to be uniting the land and then it all goes horribly wrong.


But the terminology is just thrown at the audience thick and fast. We’ve got knights and lords and mages (and several other titles that got tossed in for good measure), we’ve got the crests that apparently have differing levels based on how much chaos they’ve absorbed, and we’ve got the contracts being formed between knights/lords and mages. While all of it makes sense in context while watching, none of it has been given a decent explanation and this is kind of going to make or break this show for me. If there is a solid logic behind all of this then this could actually be quite good. If it is a ‘write a fantasy by drawing terms out of a hat’ then it will probably end up a mess.


Still, I am a sucker for a good fantasy, or even a bad one, and Theo and Siluca have so far been interesting enough characters and I kind of like the relationship being formed here. Again, this could fall flat in a couple of episodes time if it gets over-ridden with cliché and standard drama but it could also be quite fun if the characters are actually developed beyond one sentence motivations.


I might regret saying this in a few weeks but right now I am cautiously optimistic about this show for the season.

Thanks for reading.

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Karandi James.