In Record of Grancrest War Episode 9, “The Black Princess,” Villar Constance tries to show patience and restraint when it comes to a campaign against the Alliance, but some of the Lords under him, as well as Mirza Kooches, decide to take matters into their own hands. To take Siluca Meletes’ mind off the matter, Theo Cornaro asks her to join him on a tour of his domain. What will happen when rain traps them — alone — in the wilderness? And why has Marrine Kreische asked for a meeting with Mirza to talk about an alliance — and what will he charge her?
Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.
What’s In This Post
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3 Favorite Moments
Sometimes the simple moments are the best moments. Dynamic battles are a lot of fun; amazing creatures and fancy castles are also enjoyable, but sometimes a simple, human emotion hits the spot. I was almost surprised to find such a scene in this show, given how headlong its pace has been. But in this episode, while the rain poured outside and they sat huddled under a blanket for warmth, Theo and Siluca talked. He gently tested her feelings for him by confessing that he’d been worried that Villar might steal her attentions (7:45) and gladly accepted her protest that she intended to serve him as long as he needed her. Did you have the impression before that Theo was a bumbling, inexperienced young man? Well, he might have been. But I think Siluca’s been a good influence, and he’s gained a lot of confidence with her help. He tenderly and slowly walked her through a joint confession of love. I thought it was humanizing to see her so hesitant and unsure in contrast to how bold and certain she’s been in councils of war. And I have to say that I think it was spot on for her character to say something as emotionally awkward as (9:04) “This is an extremely important issue, so I want to make it clear. Sir Theo, can I take it that you’re in love with me?”
What did you think of the strategy session with Marrine and Aubest Meletes? I don’t know what Marrine was thinking when she took Aubest’s advice and ordered what amounts to a chemical weapons attack on her enemy — a kind of attack that one of the soldiers protests is “a violation of the Lords’ Code” (12:15). What makes me select this as my second favorite moment is this: everyone in that room — a gathering of the military leadership for that campaign — was against such an attack. None of them were cowards. All of them wanted to win the war. And they were all against the tactic. All except for two people: Aubest and Marrine. And yet, all of the soldiers all went along with it. In my “Thoughts” section for last week’s episode, I talked a little about the costs poor leadership extracts from a society. Here, Grancrest Senki makes a similar thematic point. If Marrine rises to rule the continent, using such tactics, the whole of her people will suffer. This is one of my favorite moments because it drives home a theme that I think bears repeating — and that is a lesson for us today. Even with our amazing and life-affirming technologies, we’re still prey to this kind of thing. And we can never relax our vigil against it.
The last few minutes of this episode were tough to watch. It was hard enough seeing the price Marrine agreed to pay for Mirza’s non committal pledge to fight beside her. I might disagree that Marrine’s on the right course, but she’s the leader of the Fantasy Alliance, and though it may be painful, she was still nominally in charge of her choice. Maybe. But what struck me hard was the single tear on Kamhi’s face (20:01). She and the other lady-in-waiting, Layla, weren’t heads of state. They were not used to making harsh decisions on behalf of a people. They didn’t command armies and make life and death decisions. Marrine is their world, and serving her well was their goal. Having to not only hear Marrine agree to Mirza’s disrespectful request but to have to undress her in preparation much have been terrible for them.
Was I the only one who wondered if Theo really couldn’t get the fire to light (6:15)? It sure seemed like he was trying to set the mood! “Are you cold?” he asks no so innocently (6:28). Well, Theo, you just finished not lighting a fire, so, yeah, I think she’s probably cold…
Regarding Marrine’s decisions in this episode… All of them, in fact! I think I understand where she’s coming from. In her own way, she’s trying to protect Alexis Douse and her people from whomever killed her father. This quote from Reddit’s user named RussianSpyBot_1337 summed it up well:
Its unrealistic to be able to solve conspiracy of such level without having MORE power than assassinated archdukes had. And Marrine looks like extremely pragmatic lady, she lives in the world where good guys are not guaranteed to win thx to plot armor like in 99% of anime for kids.
I’m still not sure I understand her drive to become despised, unless she honestly thinks that’s the best way to victory. And the more I consider that, and the more I think about Mirza’s part in the plot, the more I think that’s the answer. For that question, anyway.
But can we talk about the contrasts in this episode?
First, you have Theo and Siluca. Theo’s no slouch when it comes to fighting. He’s also a skilled and diplomatic Lord. He’s shown that he can bring together powerful allies. He’s also shown something every bit as important — something that might actually be the trait within him that enables the rest. He genuinely cares about people. So when he confesses to Siluca, he does so in a way that reaffirms her relationship to him. He’s not trying to compartmentalize her just into the role of lover. He’s celebrating their relationship, and physical intimacy is part of that celebration.
Look at her expressions — moving from a tenuous hope (06:44) to blushing surprise (8:40) to, finally, closed-eyed contentment (9:38).
Contrast that to Marrine’s expressions at the end of the episode. She regrets her decision but doesn’t know of a better path. It was brutal to watch! To be honest, I think it was tastefully done for what it was. It made the points it had to make, and I don’t think it was gratuitous — though I’m open to discussion on that topic! When I say difficult to watch, I mean on two fronts. First, you can just see how miserable Marrine is. This was her first experience, and it was dreadful. From her tears at their first kiss (21:00) to her far aware stare (21:41), you could just see that this experience was the polar opposite of Siluca’s. Second, you could almost see her retreat from her own humanity. The last shot was a view through her eyes as she looked past Mirza and at the moon (21:55). Then she closed her eyes and the screen went black — evoking the title, the Black Princess. Largely as a result of her own decisions, aided by a despicable man, she’s put herself in a dark place.
One of Grancrest’s strengths is how it’s developing its theme revolving around the different kinds of power. From the almost saintly Alexis to the the more pragmatic yet still laudable Theo and Siluca; from the neutral and falling Marrine to the black-hearted Mirza, we have a wide variety of opinions about the best use of power. I like how the show is letting each speak for itself, though I do not envy Marrine her role. I just hope the “right” power structure wins!
What did you think of this episode? What were your favorite parts? Let me know in the comments!
Other Posts of Interest
Other Anime Sites
- Reddit Discussion of Grancrest Senki Episode 9
- Random Curiosity – Grancrest Senki 09
- 100 Word Anime: Record of Grancrest War Episode 9: Has This Show Turned A Corner, Or Are They Just Hoping This Will Keep Viewers Into The Spring Season?
- I Drink and Watch Anime: A Record of Grancrest War Ep 9 That Got Uncomfortable… (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 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 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