In Record of Grancrest War Episode 4, “Decision,” Siluca Meletes seriously overplays her hand while trying to enlist of aid of her step father, Aubeste Meletes, and the woman in charge of the Alliance, Marrine Kreische. Though the consequences are dire for Siluca’s group, Aishela pays the highest price. Theo Cornaro and his people fight well, but not only are the odds stacked against them, the negotiations do not seem to proceed in good faith. How can Theo and Siluca come out of this with their hopes intact? Or will they even survive?
Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.
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3 Favorite Moments
- This show isn’t afraid to deal setbacks to its heroes, and it’s a trait I’m liking more and more. In this episode, not only does Siluca have to bounce back from Marrine and Aubeste’s humiliating rejection, but she has to humble herself to go beg Villar Constance, the “Lustful Earl,” for help (3:15). And he’s the Earl whose contract she broke to join Theo! Though we find out the nuances of why later, Siluca finds that the Earl won’t even meet with her. Instead, he sends his trusted lieutenant, Margaret Odius, to tell Siluca that “The earl says he has no intention of meeting with you now.” This scene, and the scene with Marrine before it, showed a couple of important things about Siluca. First, though she did, in fact, overplay her hand, she bounced back immediately and tried to adjust her plans. That resiliency is a laudable part of her character. Second, overplaying her hand shows just how little real world experience she has. She over-estimated the impact of her own intelligence and strength. Her lack of experienced showed when she nearly called Villar the “Lustful Earl” to Margaret’s face (4:09). All this being said, notice what the show did not do: they did not make Siluca look stupid. Inexperienced, yes; but still quite bright and talented.
- During the last few episodes, the series flirted with establishing Over Powered (OP) characters like Aishela.I like Aishela and I like her relationship with Siluca, but someone like her can really ruin the show’s drama. If she goes into battle with no doubt of victory, where’s the suspense? Sure, an occasional OP rampage is fun, but it’s not realistic. And it’s certainly not dramatic. That’s why I liked her fight scene this week (6:49). She went head to head with Valdrind’s famous knights, and for a brief moment, she seemed to hold her own. Then, their superior numbers, training, tactics, and equipment brought her down — literally (7:28). Which is exactly what should have happened. Now, whatever comes next, we have a better idea of the forces in this world, and I won’t have a sense that our heroes can take on anyone and win. That’s an important dramatic development!
- This was Theo’s episode to shine. So far, we’ve caught glimpses of his nobility and understanding of court politics. He build on that foundation this episode, like when he seemed perfectly willing to accept the price of laying down his life if it meant all of his people would be spared (13:51). My favorite moment showing his character, though, was when he turned down Villar’s offer to allow him to become King of Savis — if only he’d relinquish Siluca (20:05). Instead, he offered to become a knight in service to Villar, saying subtly that such a position would allow him to retain his contract with Siluca. It was such a clever move that Margaret had to explain it to Villar, including the observation that Theo’s request maintained the proper respectful attitude towards Villar. A more coarse man would have screwed up by making demands. A more passive man might, ironically, have accepted the kingship and lost Siluca. But Theo knows what he wants, and he knows neither of those directions would achieve his ends. Also, kudos to a realistic, if rushed, depiction of court politics. I just wish I’d have more time to absorb all of the details the show’s throwing at me!
Do you feel like this show is rushing its plot? Because I feel like it’s rushing its plot. As much as I enjoyed seeing Siluca and Theo pushed into a corner and seeing how well they dealt with their setbacks, the head-long rush to the end diminished it.
Let’s talk about two ways to approach a dramatic moment from this episode. Remember when the attack forced David Lassic and his troops, including his mage Moreno Dortous, to retreat (9:32)? The show gave us a shot of the ruined castle gate, then a distance shot of David’s people as they retreated up a long, winding, and narrow mountain trail. We also got to see the deposed King of Savis and his soldiers pursuing them. With just a few seconds of animation, we get a clear idea of the situation for our heroes. We know they’re in big trouble. So, when David begins his counter attack, you can see immediately how a single skilled swordsman like him could slash his way back to the deposed king for some dramatic one on one combat.
The show went one step farther. The deposed King, seeing how effectively David was fighting, ordered a retreat. But he found he was trapped. At the beginning of the narrow path, Irvin and other elites from our heroes broke the deposed King’s defenses. We understood immediately that he must face David now.
Setting up the scene took maybe 15 seconds, including some dialogue. As viewers, we knew exactly what was happening and why. We understood the stakes, so we could sit back and watch as the two fought. We could celebrate David’s win without any confusion.
At least, we almost could. This example of good framing also includes the seeds of bad framing. Why was the deposed King of Savis there at all? Apparently, based on the conversation between Aubeste and the leadership of the Valdrind knights later (14:27), the deposed King came to the knights to ask for help. But that means that after the scene where Aubeste tells Siluca that Theo has to die, we have to sit through another scene with a vague discussion of why Theo had to die. After which I still didn’t know what was going on! And that worry blunted the emotional impact of the scene with David and the others turning down Theo’s gracious offer to die for their safety.
Rushing has a real consequence for us viewers!
I hope the show can get its pacing under control. Siluca’s still talented and powerful, and experience is tempering her impetuousness. Theo is rolling with the punches and is becoming more politically skilled and independent — though he still clearly wants to keep Siluca beside him to the point he’s willing to forsake almost everything else. The battle scenes, too, are enjoyable, and I’m finding I don’t argue with a lot of their tactics and strategies. Now, if the show can just get its pacing under control…
What did you think of 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 4
- Random Curiosity: Grancrest Senki – 04
- 100 Word Anime: Record of Grancrest War Episode 4: Finally