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
Interested in the second cour’s OP?
3 Favorite Moments
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!
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!
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 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.
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.
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!
Other Posts of Interest
Other Anime Sites
- Reddit Discussion of Grancrest Senki Episode 20
- The Anime Rambler – By Benigmatica: Record of Grancrest War #20
- I Drink and Watch Anime: A Record of Grancrest War Ep 20 – Hold the Line
- 100 Word Anime: Record of Grancrest War Episode 20: Grancrest, The Soap Opera
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: The Fall of Castle Unicorn
- 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 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