Record of Grancrest War Episode 18: A Well Earned Ascension and Oh, _That_ Leader!

Quick Summary

In Record of Grancrest War Episode 18, “Leader,” Theo Cornaro finally ascends to the head of the Altirk Treaty and takes possession of Castle Unicorn. He should be on cloud nine, so why does he seem so bummed during the reception? And what’s with his late-night meeting with Siluca Meletes? Later, Theo and Siluca confront Priscilla about the Church’s intentions for the Crests — and why the same Church may be targeting her! Finally, Theo and Siluca go undercover to visit the despondent Alexis Douse. What they tell him literally turns his world around.

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

What’s In This Post

Quick Episode Summary
3 Favorite Moments
Thoughts
Related Posts

Interested in the second cour’s OP?
Pledge / ASCA
ASCA

3 Favorite Moments

Seeing Siluca, this natural genius when it comes to strategy and intrigue, reduced to such uncertainty was almost endearing. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
  1. For a show that’s often too rushed, it sure can bring long-running plot threads together when it wants to. Remember back in episode 9 where Siluca showed how fumbling she can be when it comes to love? She had to point-blank ask if Theo was talking about her! Well, that theme continues in this episode. Theo tells Siluca that when he goes back to his hometown, he wants her by his side (8:24). She says that of course she’ll be with him — she’s his contracted mage! Theo has to carefully explain to her that no, I don’t want you there as my mage. I want you there as the woman I love, just like Alexis loves Marrine Kreische. And Siluca still doesn’t get it! She has to ask him to clarify himself. And she asked in this small heart-breakingly vulnerable little voice! The woman who has masterminded Theo’s ascension from wandering Lord to the leader of Altirk and its Treaty — reduced to such uncertainty! As if he couldn’t bear to leave her in such a state, Theo comes out and tells her that he wants her to be his queen (9:03). They’re such an adorable couple!

    Just because a man loves beauty and peace doesn’t mean he’s a wimp. Alexis is about to correct that misconception of his enemies! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
  2. Theo’s getting quite the reputation as a smooth talker, but do you know what’s even more impressive to me than his skill? He speaks the truth right to the heart of his audience. The truth is what distinguishes a great leader from a demagogue (well, it’s among the things…). When Theos and Siluca visit Alexis, he’s almost in a state of despair. The woman he loves is on a collision course with his state, and because he wants for her whatever her heart desires, he thinks he has to give her free reign. But he’s conflicted, because he has to protect his people, and so far, Theo’s forces (previously Villar Constance’s forces) had shouldered the burden of fighting. But Theo lays it out for him: that Marrine’s heart isn’t in her battles; that she’s trying to selflessly fulfill her role as leader of the Alliance in spite of her feelings; that she’s denying the love she still feels for Alexis (18:48). “Because if she’s not being true to her heart, there’s no point to anything she accomplishes,” Theo tells the Lord of the Union. When Alexis understands that Marrine is still in love with him and that there’s something he can do to bring about a change, he transforms. His paralyzing indecisiveness vanishes and he decides the Union will engage in battle to rescue his love. It was great seeing the shock on the faces of his servants — and the new resolve in the eyes of his soldiers!

    Serves you right, Dawson — you power hungry traitor! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
  3. Maybe I’m showing how petty I am, but I sure do love seeing an idiot villain taken down. I didn’t like Dawson’s machinations back in  episode 8, when he took the lead in undermining Villar’s plan to stop the Alliance while they were weak. In this episode, we find out he’s a full bore traitor. He was banking on Alexis staying out of the fight, and he apparently intended to rally many of the Alliance’s Lords to him — perhaps even at Marrine’s expense. Have you had to deal with his kind at work? People who love wrapping themselves in intrigue to increase their own power base with absolutely no thought of others’ needs? If you have, then I hope you felt the same satisfaction that I did when we get to see Dawson’s expression as a scout reports that Alexis is advancing on the castle even now (21:47). Dawson dropping the wine glass might have been a little cliche, but I’ll allow it — I relish any sign of his desperation!

Thoughts

So Alexis leads his troops against the Alliance, and his first target is the traitor Dawson. Did you catch that the Union’s troops haven’t fought yet? You know what that means — they’re completely fresh! Assuming they’re well trained, this is a game changer.

And here I thought the leader the title referred to would be Theo! Way to set me up for a pleasant surprise, Grancrest Senki!

I wonder at what point Marrine will admit to herself that she screwed up?

I think it’s subtle, but Grancrest promotes the idea that while individual can accomplish a lot, to affect change on a massive scale requires teamwork. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

I’m old enough to remember people using the phrase “Behind every good man stands a great woman” unironically. Today, it’s dismissed as a sexist statement, which is itself ironic since the phrase originated within the feminist movement in the late 1960s. But, times change, and so does our interpretation of popular sayings. But I’d like to reflect for a moment on a reinterpretation of that saying in light of Grancrest Senki.

Take a look at the end credits (the ED starts around 22:05 in this episode). With just two exceptions (Aishela and Priscilla), all of the leaders are accompanied by the people who support them. Not their followers, but men and women who fight beside them, who advise them, and in some cases, who have died for them. I think that’s a powerful theme!

Take a look at the main characters, Theo and Siluca. It’s easy to see how far Theo’s come since he blundered into Siluca’s life. And at his own admission, he would have gone nowhere without Siluca’s help. Or David Lassic’s help. Or… well, you get the idea. The list goes on and on!

The support team doesn’t have to be friends — Siluca needles Priscilla every chance she gets. But Theo still relies on both of them. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Look at what happened to Alexis in this episode. He’d been stuck in neutral. It took Theo’s support to help him reengage with the world. This interconnected web of friendships and alliances is what sets this show apart. Too often we see individuals save the day through the strength of their own efforts. It’s been elevated to a mythos in the United States: the image of a long cowboy riding into town, righting the wrongs, and riding off into the sunset. It’s not only cliche, it’s dangerously misleading and wrong. I recently read a news story where an entrepreneur moaned about paying taxes because he said he was self made (sorry, I couldn’t find a link!). Of course, he was completely ignoring the fact that he didn’t build the road his limo was driving on any more than he built his limo. Or mined the materials, or generated the electric his business consumed, etc.

I think one of my favorites parts of this show is how it not only shows the team-related aspects of power, but it celebrates it. Its presentation is unambiguous: no one rose to power on their own, and no one can hold onto power without support from others. Look at the fall of Mirza Kooches. In the end, only his mage stood beside him — and then at a distance! Quite a contrast to the large cast of characters surrounding Theo!

Have you had experience building large alliances at school or where you work? What were your favorite moments in this episode? Let me know in the comments!

Other Posts of Interest

Other Anime Sites

This Site (Crow’s World of Anime!)

Post Author: tcrow

    • I can’t deny there’s a possibility that Grancrest could go all morality story on us and show Theo being corrupted by power. That’s be tragic, but potentially interesting! On the other hand, remember when he told Priscilla that he’d happily give up his Crest if it would bring peace? I think I believe him. I got the impression that scene’s purpose was to show us Theo hadn’t followed Vader to the dark side.

      I’m still half rooting for your idea (in the comments to your post on I Drink and Watch Anime — link above) that Theo has been an agent of Chaos all along. I really want Theo to be a good guy and end up with Siluca at the end, but if I can’t have that, then agent of Chaos will do!