Record of Grancrest War Episode 7: Loyalty Is Quite Cheap In This Show

Review:

I have to wonder what the Lord’s definition of loyalty is on this show given the number of them that seem to switch sides or pledge loyalty to Theo at the drop of a hat. It kind of makes the whole swearing an oath thing more or less pointless when they can swap masters if someone more impressive comes along. Not that Theo was all that impressive but I guess his naivety was refreshing at least.

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On the brighter side, we finally got back to the whole failed marriage thing from episode one. I had to assume that the wedding failing was significant but no-one really seemed to bring it up in the six episodes in-between so finally running into someone who actually wanted to mention it and point out that they actually wanted to still get married in the hope of bringing peace was kind of refreshing, even if it seems highly unlikely at this particular point in time.

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Realistically, it seems like sooner or later everyone Theo has met is going to give him their crest and that doesn’t exactly sit well with me. As nice a guy as Theo is, he really isn’t leadership material and has done nothing in the past seven episodes to convince me otherwise. Still, I guess we’ll see what this story delivers now that someone has tried and failed to assassinate Theo and the guy they call the White Prince.

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Karandi James

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Record of Grancrest War Episode 6: A Dance and A Battle

Review:

I am genuinely struggling to figure out if last week’s episode served any purpose at all given we’ve moved right back into serving Lord Villar and now the characters are back to taking out opposing Lords on their way to a meeting. Did the vampires and werewolves and the forest serve a purpose? Is that purpose likely to ever become clear?

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Mirza is fast becoming my least favourite character of the season as I kind of get what they are going for as he points out the flaws of Theo (which is something that needed to happen) and he takes a different approach to the situation and that could be a nice contrast. Yet, basically he comes off as a real jerk and later on, if they want me to try to reconcile with this character, that probably won’t be possible. Though it seems more likely that this guy is going to end up actually opposing Theo at some point.

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Which brings us to the end of the episode where we see them mount up and ride out on their way to claiming more territories before attending a meeting with the incredibly throw away reason that Siluca doesn’t like boats. Theo goes to face one guy while Mirza storms a castle all by himself. It was kind of like Theo’s first castle claim only better and yet more obnoxious.

Anyway, I guess we’ll see how Theo and Siluca approach their target next week. Or maybe we’ll be back with the werewolves. Who knows at this point?

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Record of Grancrest War Episode 5: Did You Know There Were Vampires? I Sure Didn’t

Review:

Seriously, this show is making itself hard to defend. As much as I love a good fantasy (or even a bad one) when an episode starts with a bunch of characters we haven’t met, discussing events we don’t really have a context for, and then apparently we’re supposed to care about the outcome of said discussions because it is the basis for the next crisis our story’s hero is going to face, you have to wonder what the writers are even thinking about.

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That isn’t to say the new characters aren’t interesting. And hey, why not add vampires and werewolves into the world. However, there are ways of doing this that don’t leave the audience simply rolling their eyes.

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What makes it even more jarring is after the introduction of this new kind of issue, we then catch up with Theo and Siluca still dealing with the fallout of Theo’s status change after the last episode. Seems everyone still loves Theo but I did like the Prince’s reaction to him. I can’t help but wonder if they are going to do something with that later.

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However, soon enough Theo and Siluca are sent to deal with the vampire/werewolf situation in the forest and it really feels like a lot was left unexplained here. They kind of win and we see them setting up shop in the vampire’s castle at the end but it isn’t as though they beat him. More that he just couldn’t be bothered sticking around. All and all, there was something decidedly missing from events this week.

Though, Theo finally did something in a fight all on his own and we saw him actually use his crest in a battle so there were a few highlights during the episode.


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Record of Grancrest War Episode 4: Finally

Review:

There’s something deeply satisfying early in a story when the protagonist’s plans go awry. Later in the series it can feel like set-backs exist just to drag the plot out, but early on if victory is too simple there’s no reason to fret. Well, Record of Grancrest War gave us three episodes of very easy victory and things all going Theo and Siluca’s way and then we get to episode 4.

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Not once, but twice, Siluca is rebuked by her foster father for over-reaching and both times leads to some fairly severe consequences. Good fortune and protagonist plot armour see them saved at the end but that also isn’t without cost, though one could argue that Theo didn’t exactly work to broker the best deal and it would be nice to know more of what is going on in his head.

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Throw in some battle sequences that work well enough (animation is not this anime’s strong point but it isn’t hideous so we’ll leave it alone) in addition to the added emotional investment in the story and this episode finally took this show from enjoyable enough because I like fantasy to genuinely interesting as I ponder what it might do next. Now, it might just return to forgettable mediocrity but I’m kind of hopeful that this is a sign of things to come.


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Record of Grancrest War Episode 3: Do You Suppose We’ll Ever Know Everything A Crest Can Do?

Review:

Well the story tackled head on what was possibly the biggest issue. Siluca is called out on the fact that she seems to be calling the shots and she realises that for Theo to be the leader he actually needs to be the leader. That said, he’s happy to take on her plan as while he had a goal he never really thought about the reality of how to accomplish it. These two characters coming together just work so well and complement each others’ strengths and weaknesses.

Once we get through that part there’s a random monster fight in this episode (oh and they introduce some priestess from a church though I’m guessing that will get explained properly later). The monster fight kind of bothered me at first because I didn’t see the point but then I kind of realised we needed a reason to believe that the people living in the village would offer to fight another army with Theo so it kind of made sense.

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And then we had some bigwig who didn’t really appreciate Theo gaining power or control over any land in the region raise an army against him. At first no one but the villagers show up and Theor produces a flag which makes them all glow for a little but it isn’t really clear what that does (something about protection) and I’m really hoping that the crests get a better explanation. So far they just kind of do whatever Siluca says they do in an episode. This is probably the part I’m most concerned about with this story now because if they don’t properly explain there will be a point later in the series where they will randomly pull a new power out of the crest just to solve a problem and it will really annoy me. Still, the flag was pretty, but it kind of reminded me of Fairy Tail.

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Anyway, despite the few minor things this remained your fairly standard fantasy with a little bit of magic and action mixed in. So for fantasy fans this remains a pleasant watch. Why Siluca is still wearing an outfit she apparently hated, I don’t know.


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Record of Grancrest War Episode 2: Some Nice Touches This Week

Review:

It is amazing how when you are expecting bare mediocrity that an episode that is still only passingly better can leave such a good impression. I read some fairly negative reviews of this second episode prior to viewing it so my already low expectations for this sank lower before I’d even started which left me happily watching what is certainly an average anime but it fits one of my favourite genres and I continue to like the cast sufficiently that I’m probably going to enjoy the ride this is taking us on.

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Theo, this week, is coming to terms with the sudden advancement thrust upon him after meeting Siluca. His own ambitions never rose all that high and he is quite out of his depth and seems happy to be led by her on some matters. Yet, he also isn’t a doormat. Despite sitting out of the early stage of the battle, he kept a keen eye on events and knew when it was time to make a move. His actions turned the tide of the fight so while Siluca is certainly running the grand plan Theo is not going to just passively wait for her to hand him a kingdom on a silver platter. Nor do I think he’ll let her go too crazy before he puts his foot down should she try it.

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Siluca on the other hand is very adept at avoiding giving straight answers. She isn’t lying about her motives but she also isn’t revealing everything and I’m pretty sure Theo knows it. Still, we see Siluca making plans, calling for allies, and actively fighting in the battle, and she’s quite an enjoyable character. She certainly has personality. That’s probably what this show has done best. Even the fairly minor character with the future king of the Cait Sith’s showed us that he knows exactly what his personality should be.

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We’re also introduced to an old ally of Siluca who certainly holds her own on the battlefield and I really liked an exchange between her and one of the soldiers on the opposing side. Mostly because it showed that not every leader/soldier that fights Theo is a mindless thug. I kind of hope that character shows up again, but it was a pretty minor role so maybe not.

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All and all, this episode isn’t going to do much for non-fantasy fans or people wanting an in-depth story. But it works well enough and the conclusion of the battle is satisfying enough. If you also happen to like the characters you could genuinely have a good time watching this.


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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

Overview:

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

Review:

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.

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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.

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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.

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


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