In Record of Grancrest War Episode 11, “The Fall of Castle Unicorn,” the arrival of the Nordic fleet timed to coincide with Marrine Kreische’s advance puts Villar Constance and his mages at a severe disadvantage. With Theo Cornaro and Siluca Meletes too distant to arrive in time, and with the foolish lords bickering back in the capital, it looks like team Villar is on their own. Can his tremendous swordsmanship turn the tide, even with help from Margaret Odius? Or will Marrine take her cousin’s Crest?
Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.
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3 Favorite Moments
Do you admire resolve in the face of defeat? I do. That why my first favorite moment in this episode is Margaret’s reaction to Villar enumerating the reasons they were screwed. The Nords attacking from the sea with more than a thousand ships; Marrine’s forces surrounding them on land. After hearing the news, Laura Hardley, one of Villar’s mages, weeps with despair. Helga Pialoza clearly struggles to keep herself under Control. But Margaret? “How shall we lose?” she asks (4:00), completely calm and unflinching. Props to Villar for his calm, too, but I think that while both he and Margaret would have been brave alone anyway, they drew strength from each other. Villar gets points for his humanity for telling Helga to heal even their enemies (5:49). This scene effectively set a doomed tone for the rest of the episode.
If you’re cornered and you’re going to die anything, though it may be primitive of me to say so, I think it’s laudable to take as many of your enemy with you as possible. That’s exactly what Joachim did. As a member of Edokia’s reverse harem, he was at the Palace on the Sea’s massive cannon when the Nords (I can’t help but think of them as Vikings in dwarf form) swarmed the deck. He didn’t know that the mage (whose name I can’t find), also in Edokia’s orbit, had just fallen; but he knew the ship was going to be overwhelmed. He didn’t panic. He didn’t cower. Seeing the Nordic fleet beginning to surround his ship, he tossed his torch into the black powder reserves (9:50). The resulting explosion might have damaged dozens of the enemy fleet — but out of a thousand ships, that wasn’t enough to slow them down.
Can guess my favorite moment from this episode? If you guessed Villar and Margaret’s last desperate charge into the enemy, you were right! It had all the classic tropes. They kissed each other good bye (13:10) — something that happened a lot in this episode! — before Margaret dosed herself with a potion. Igniting it just as the enemy breached the gates, she scatters the first wave of attackers with a column of flame. Then the two of them attack. It was a beautifully orchestrated scene. They weaved and spun around each other, now striking the enemy with the blade, now with flames, in movements that reminded me a lot of their dance back in episode 6. Of course, two against a company or battalion simply had no chance of success. As they fell, I had to reflect on the complaints I’ve read from other reviewers that sometimes this show’s pacing prevents us from getting attached to characters. I even lamented the pacing in my Thoughts section for the last episode. Not this time! We’ve known Villar for quite a while. Margaret, too. Their deaths were both affecting, Margaret’s in particular. I’d grown quite fond of her!
I wonder what Villar asked Laura to tell Theo-kun? And am I the only one who would like to just start slapping Dawson until he shuts up and leaves? “At this point, we should discuss how to proceed after the earl’s death” (11:40) the spineless creep said. What an annoying little slug of a man!
I was all set to like Ururika, Marrine’s sister. She’s wild, she’s insanely powerful, and she’s stupidly attractive. But then she had to do something I find unforgivable: she cornered the meek and gentle Coleen Messala — who apologized so profusely last episode when she used her giant magical mirror to laser enemy ships — before apparently slaughtering her (15:24). I didn’t buy the flimsy excuse that Ururika tried to use that Villar was still alive, so killing his mages wasn’t forbidden. Coleen had been disarmed, and she was sitting with her back against the wall. Here eyes were closed and she was crying. There was absolutely no reason to kill her!
Notice what I’m not saying. I’m not saying this was bad writing. To the contrary: I think this episode was probably my favorite so far. The example of Coleen’s fall is one example: I now hate Marrine and her allies more than ever. What I saw of Coleen made me feel sympathy for her. She was a kind soul trapped in a world that really doesn’t reward warmth and compassion. So when Ururika swung her axe, I detested the Nordic leader and now very much want to see her defeated. I want to see her and her entire side go down in utter defeat. And I want to root for the protagonists who are trying to do just that.
I’ve wanted Mirza Kooches dead for awhile now. My dislike for him is so strong because he’s a realized character. I get his motives; I just hate them. The show’s given me time to get to know him!
Villar was an interesting character, too. His people were fiercely loyal to him, and you can see why. Even in defeat, he apologized to his followers who had endured loss and death. He fought hard to secure his followers’ safety. He had great vision, too, and would have made a good emperor if his blood had not have gotten in the way. I saw his death not only as a tragedy for the people close to him, but potentially for the whole continent. Again — the show gave me time to get to know him!
That’s good writing.
And it’s a counter example to my rant last week about how this show had made Solon’s death seem less impactful than it could have been. Rushing his introduction and death made him feel like an afterthought. But this show too the care to build Villar and Margaret as individual characters. It took the time to show us their lives as a loving couple against the harsh world of politics and intrigue. That made their deaths really painful! Like I said, that’s good writing, and it makes me glad I’ve stuck with the show.
What do you think? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments below!
Other Posts of Interest
Other Anime Sites
- Reddit: Discussion of Grancrest Senki 11
- Random Curiosity – Grancrest Senki 11
- The Anime Rambler – by Benigmatica: Record of Grancrest War Episode #11
- I drink and watch anime: A Record of Grancrest War Ep 11 Still MiLza huh? (Winter Games 2018)
This Site (Crow’s World of Anime!)
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 1: Contract
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 2: Ambition
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 3: Battle Flag
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 4: Decision
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 5: Forest of Eternal Darkness
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 6: March
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 7: The White Prince
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 8: The Congress Dances
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 9: The Black Princess
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 10: Blade of Betrayal
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 11.5: Reminiscence
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 12: A Treaty Formed
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 13: To the Homeland
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 14: The Liberator of Sistina
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 15: Return
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 16: Outpost
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 17: Two Heroes
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 18: Leader
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 19: The Awakening of a Noble
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 20: Pitched Battle of the Three Forces
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 21: Purge
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 22: The Holy Grail
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 23: Castle Walls
- Record of Grancrest War Episode 24: Grancrest
- Record of Grancrest War: Pandora’s Warning