In Record of Grancrest War Episode 1, “Contract,” two kingdoms attempt to unite through a wedding, but a supernatural surge in chaos destroys the heads of the two kingdoms (literally!) — and their plan for peace. Some time after the disaster, the mage Siluca Meletes and her aid are waylaid by brigands. She’s about to dispatch them when Theo Cornaro, a Lord-wannabe with more ambition than skill, tries to “save” her. Will Theo survive the attempt? And if he does, will he survive Siluca’s scorn?
Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.
What’s In This Post
3 Favorite Moments
- Siluca realizing the Chaos Convergence was beginning was an effective and interesting way to introduce the continental conflict (2:13). In a very short time, we learned a lot. We learned that Siluca’s not keen on large-scale official events. She’s very perceptive, given that she seems to have been the first one (outside of any possible conspirators) to know what was going on. She’s powerful enough that she was confident she could have stopped the demon from emerging, or at least stop the phenomenon that lead to the demon’s appearance. Plus, there was a lot going on in the background that I suspect will be important later. For example, who was the bright red-headed, maroon-robed individual who looked unhappy at Siluca’s efforts (2:38)? And why did Irvin stop her (2:47)? I know he expressed remorse later, but I’m curious to what he was thinking. The fact I came away interested and wanting to know more is a good sign.
- We learned something else about Siluca: she knows how to control a situation (7:33). When the brigands stopped her carriage and threatened her, she threw aside her cloak and assumed a pose that the bad guys thought was an invitation to get carnal. Of course, not only did she have no intention of letting any of them touch her. She had every intention of incinerating them from a distance. It’s rare to see a character with such poise and confidence without being over the top arrogant. She even seemed annoyed that Theo interrupted her! But she gets extra points for controlling her anger and waiting to see what Theo had to offer. She’s a calculating one, she is!
- I don’t like bumbling idiots. Too often in shows with a strong female lead, the main male character is completely incompetent (sorry Rito Yuuki, I’m looking at you; you, too, Azuma Kazuki!). It’s almost like some writers have a hard time pairing a strong female lead with a strong male lead! That’s why I was so pleased and relieved when Theo showed that he was completely aware that Siluca was manipulating him when he asked, “What exactly are you planning to make me do?” (21:34). He knew their paths were parallel and their goals similar. He had no illusions about who was in control of the relationship, yet he didn’t express any major angst or fear at her power. He just wanted to know where they were going and why. Though he did appreciate the danger of even his own dreams when he said, “I think I could end up dead before I ever realize my dream” (21:43). I’m looking forward to seeing how their relationship matures. There’s a lot of potential here to chart new territory, or at least give us some new twists to old tropes!
This series gives me the same vibe that I got when I watched the first episode of The Asterisk War. During that episode, I was debating whether to drop the show. Little things bugged me. Ayato Amagiri finds a girl’s handkerchief in the street. Does he give it to lost and found? No, he looks around until he sees an open window 20 stories above him. Does he take the elevator to the 20th floor, guess which door represented the open window, and knock? No, he uses his super powers to leap up to the open window, where he — shock of shocks — finds Julis-Alexia von Riessfeld getting dressed. That was just a little cliche. Speaking of cliche, she challenges him to a duel (being understandably piqued at his intrusion). He throws her to ground to save her from a sniper, only to find that his hand was resting on — yes, you guessed it — her breast. Another cliche. Haven’t had enough? Instead of simply letting go and apologizing, he had to give her a squeeze first.
By this point in the story, I was ready to give up. The characters I’d met to that point were okay. The setting was interesting, and the animation was fun to watch. But I didn’t know if I wanted to watch another series laden with cliches.
Then I saw the episode’s closing moments. Julis was once again trying to explain to Lester MacPhail that she did not want to duel him. To make her point, she began to power up, and she was surrounded by flames. It was that shot plus Ayato’s reaction that convinced me I wanted to watch this show. He thought, “Julis… Julis van Riessfeld… Clad in flames… the Witch of Resplendent Flames…” There was an admiration and a poetry in his statement that I found irresistible.
I have a feeling Record of Grancrest War is going to be like that. Well, less a feeling and more a hope.
The first episode had its share of pacing problems. It seemed to skip some world-building that would have made several scenes more dramatic and understandable. Rather than me enumerate those scenes here, check out the review over at All Your Anime Are Belong to Us. They did a good job of capturing the most important problems.
But just like as with The Asterisk War, the characters at the end appealed to me. Siluca’s obviously powerful, intelligent, and knows what she wants — and now she has an idea of how to get it. She’s clever and doesn’t get ahead of herself. She’s also very independent — she takes input from Irvin, but she makes her own decisions. There’s a lot to like in her!
Then there’s Theo. Boiled down to its essence, his ambition is to make the world better. It’s hard to find fault with that! What interests me most about him is that he’s realistic about his abilities (they’re kinda low right now) and in turn his abilities’ potential to bring about change (i.e., not much). But he doesn’t give up. He has a plan, and he’s trying to execute that plan even to the point of putting himself in danger. I have to respect that!
Best of all: they see the potential in each other and in their relationship. They’re both up front about it. She doesn’t try to hide her machinations, and he doesn’t pretend not to notice. They’re willing to build on that, and that dynamic is what I’m looking forward to seeing play out.
What do you think? Am I being (once again!) overly optimistic? Let me know in the comments!
Other Posts of Interest
Other Anime Sites
- Reddit Discussion of Grancrest Senki Episode 1
- Anime Evo: Grancrest Senki – 01 [First Look]
- 100 Word Anime: Record of Grancrest War Episode 1: She’s Going To Help Him Achieve His Dream Provided She Doesn’t Kill Him First
- ANIME FEMINIST: [Review] Record of Grancrest War – Episode 1