Record of Grancrest War Episode 20: Holding the Line and a Blast from the Past

Quick Summary

In Record of Grancrest War Episode 20, “Pitched Battle of the Three Forces,” Marrine Kreische’s forces march against those of Theo Cornaro and Siluca Meletes. Can our heroes hold out until reinforcements under Alexis Douse arrive? Even if they do, will they be able to follow Theo’s plan to reunite Marrine and Alexis, when Marrine’s so vehemently opposed to it? And that’s not even mentioning the Mage Academy’s plans…

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

What’s In This Post

Quick Episode Summary
3 Favorite Moments
Thoughts
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3 Favorite Moments

Irvin, Ema, and Luna wreak havoc among the enemy’s archers. Their tactics were super effective! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
  1. Remember alllll the way back in episode 7, when bad buys tried to assassinate Theo and almost accidentally killed Alexis, too? That’s when we got our first glimpse of the combat training that Irvin was (off camera) giving to the werewolf twins Ema and Luna. Given how well organized they were then, and in subsequent battles, I wondered what they’d be like if the three of them took the field together (9:51). I have to say I wasn’t disappointed! They threw the enemy’s archers into complete confusion with their speed and lethal agility. I’m glad the show’s given the twins something to do other than being pretty window dressing. They’ve proven to be valuable additions to Theo’s special forces! And they have such positive attitudes, too!

    Alexis knows how to go big with a proposal! It seemed to have the intended effect, too. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
  2. Okay, I’m a grumpy old man with a heart of stone (or some other similar hard and cold substance — maybe concrete?) who works in computer security, so you know emotions and I don’t get along. But even I have to pause once and awhile and admire a moment of pure, beautiful romance (16:15). As Marrine tries the resist the arguments from Theo about forming an alliance, Alexis takes Marrine out of the tent on the hill to show her something. She’s broken hearted that Alexis is now in harm’s way; all of her plans lie in ruins; she’s bordering on despondency. So at first, as she looks out at the army spread below her, she doesn’t see it. Then, with a tiny gasp, she understands. Alexis had arrayed the army in the same flower pattern that he created for her out of colored stones in episode 8. We can debate the ethics of using soldiers to make a flower designed to woo the heart of a woman with Marrine’s past (remember the chemical weapons attack she ordered?), but it’s hard to deny Alexis’ heart in making the gesture!

    I’d love to be a fly on the way when Siluca explains her secret marriage to her father! He doesn’t seem like the forgiving type… Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.
  3. Alexis’ display of affection rocks Marrine’s resolve, and he even waved aside her objection that she didn’t deserve to be happy because the blood of so many death’s was on her hands. Alexis pressed his attack by saying that he’d happily spend the rest of his life helping her make amends. She was speechless, but she seemed frozen in indecision, so Theo casually mentioned that he and Siluca were married (did you see the look she gave her father at 17:56?) because they loved each other. That seemed to reassure Marrine. That part was pretty cool, but what I really liked came next. Theo said that the two of them should be together because they’re in love, and “If we live in a world where that’s forbidden, I’ll change it, even if I have to destroy it!” (18:18). It reminded me of the quote that the from Aldnoah Zero’s first OP: Let justice be done, though the heavens fall. I found the statement stirring, while at the same time recognizing the danger it represents. After all, am I willing — do I really advocate — destroying an unjust and cruel world? I kinda am. But in my defense, I do so with the intent to build a better world, and that’s how I interpret Theos’ words, too. That leaves open the question of how to protect the non-combatants from the “destroy” part…

    The battlefield tactics felt realistic to me. Each element had its own impact, like the heavy crossbows pictured above. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Thoughts

The first half saw a lot of battlefield strategies collide, with our heroes holding out until Alexis’ troops arrived. When the show wants to, it can portray some realistic field tactics. At least, they looked reasonable to me. I’ve never actually fought in a medieval conflict populated with mages…

Alexis gets the Caw Out Award! for “Best Romantic Gesture (in Military Form)” for the huge flower he made for Marrine. I mean, how beautiful was that?

I’ve seen (and participated in!) a lot of discussion about Marrine’s motives. Recently, Irina’s post on I Drink and Watch Anime suggested that Marrine was a more nuanced character than I had given her credit for, and that really got me thinking. This episode showed that one of Marrine’s main goals had been protecting Alexis in a role reversal that plays with gender expectations. She’s the aggressive one who plows ahead without consulting her partner, and she saw him as someone who needed protection. Just as in “traditional” gender stereotypes, her assumption was wrong, and a lot of people paid for it.

Marrine was perfectly happy to shoulder all of the blame herself — as long as Alexis was not in the line of fire. The voice actor, Ai Kayano, really sold this moment! Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

So now I accept the idea that she was trying to protect the man she loved, but it didn’t answer another obvious question: Why the heck didn’t she talk it out with him before any of the bloodshed? In the Reddit discussion of this episode, a user named MillenniumKing gave me an idea when he suggested that she knew her resolve couldn’t withstand Alexis’ gentle words. If she had spoken to him, she knew he would have talked her out of it. She knew she could not have executed her plan. In the moment of her decision, such a failure would mean putting Alexis in danger, and above anything else, she wanted to avoid that.

Theo spilled the beans about his marriage to Siluca at the perfect time. Alexis had talked Marrine into at least listening to him, and he had stopped her arguments. But I still got the sense that she was paralyzed instead of convinced. Theo had planted the idea that a couple could both inspire their troops and be more powerful together when he kissed Siluca in front of Marrine and her troops in episode 12. Now, he hammered home that message. Marrine finally relented.

I’m not the only one to notice that Theo has publicly embarrassed Siluca more than once, am I? Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Should I hold Marrine more responsible for the deaths her decision caused? Maybe. But like I said back in my Thoughts section for Re:CREATORS episode 21, and in almost contraction to my quoting “Let justice be done” earlier in this post, the older I get, the more I prefer mercy. Marrine’s on a better track now, and she’s in position to help bring an end to this war. She can atone for the damage she’s done.

I hope she and Alexis are happy together — if they get the chance!

Did you gain any sympathy for Marrine in this episode? What were your favorite moments? Let me know in the comments!

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Post Author: tcrow

  • I think Marrine rightfully assumed that Alexis would never have allowed her to sacrifice herself for him and as such the only way to truly keep him out of harms way was to cut him off completely and make him think their relationship was a thing of the past.
    I still am unimpressed by the timing of that proposal. It was a despot move…there’s a chance that i don’t know what the word despot means…

    • I think you’re right about Marrine’s line of thought.

      I also can’t argue with your use of “despot.” From my point of view in a “democracy” (and I use the term with increasing despair), any use of soldiers or even employees to help me make a marriage proposal is questionable and is something a cruel/wanton/aloof ruler might do.

      What’s stopping me from whole-heartedly pushing that point is that in a feudal society, some percentage of those being used would embrace it — even see it as a badge of honor. So if I just paint Alexis’ act as wanton or the act of a despot without considering the perspective of the people who would have liked to be part of such an act, I leave myself in a position I’m not sure I can defend.

      Not sure if that makes any sense or not…