「契約」 (Keiyaku)

If there’s one thing to say about Grancrest Senki after one episode it’s that it certainly won’t be changing any opinions. Those expecting a typical high fantasy will find a typical high fantasy, everyone expecting a series barrelling towards mediocracy won’t leave disappointed; it’s a no holds barred buffet for every kind of judgemental appetite. Slightly irksome for me after seriously looking forward to it for so long, but hey, I’m a believer in the Three Episode RuleTM—patience always usually pays off.

Sparing too much synopsis overview (that’s what the handy dandy preview is for), Grancrest’s introduction didn’t lack for information. We have a world seemingly split between two factions (Factory Federation and Fantasy Alliance, got to love those names), a system of magical crests bestowing power and title upon their bearers, and the usual evil represented by demons and something called Chaos. Crests are the means to handle demons, although the crest bearers (i.e. Lords) are apparently content fighting one another for them, because human nature and all that—just look at that not-Red Wedding and the OP teasers, guaranteed demonic intervention had a helpful human hand. It’s nothing spectacularly unique story-wise, but then anything from Mizuno Ryou was not going to stray far from fantasy convention—this is the guy who wrote Record of Lodoss War after all. Expect a fairly standard fantasy story about uniting everyone against the true evil and you definitely won’t be disappointed; for better or worse Grancrest is going to be all about the details and execution.

The best place to see this right now is arguably the characters. Theo of course doesn’t fall far from the hero tree, what with his starting from (almost) nothing and intention on Saving the World with absolutely no plan in mind, but Siluca tickles my fancy in all the right places—yes, I know exactly what you’re thinking and you’re wrong. Ok, mostly wrong. No graceful princess shenanigans here, instead we have a impish, tart, and impulsively confident mage who knows exactly what she wants and is not afraid to take it. It’s an intriguingly unique combination of personalities because it dispenses with typical strategy of the hero learning as (s)he goes along. Rather than the hobbits figuring out how to get to Mt. Doom alone, we have a strong, independent woman who doesn’t need no man prodding the confused hero onto the path of ultimate glory. Why Siluca is doing it beyond Saving the World is anyone’s guess, how long Theo puts up with it no one knows (and he definitely won’t forever), but it offers a lot of room for some hilarious banter and development breaking from the usual fantasy norms. So long as these personality traits continue into any potential romance later on (and guaranteed romance will crop up eventually) I’ll be one happy camper; just imagining Siluca freak out at a Theo confession is already hurting my sides.

While not enough to make a judgement call as of yet with cast and plot only briefly touched on, Grancrest certainly has enough pieces present to forge something great. So long as it doesn’t waste the potential of its characters and actually slows down and elaborates on its main story soon (because the pacing was too quick this episode), the show is well-set to be a fun little fantasy adventure. We won’t know how good a fantasy it will be for a few episodes yet, but I have my hopes up Grancrest won’t disappoint. Just have to see what next week brings.



OP Sequence

OP: 「starry」by Mashiro Ayano


      1. Didn’t she say that the Count, to whom she was originally headed to, said she should dress like that?
        (though true, it does seem like she will keep dressing that way… guess her and Count’s tastes are the same)

    1. Yeah, my thoughts exactly, with Siluca being the Strategist of the team.

      Although there’s a difference: normally, in Fire Emblem it’s the Lords who have a backstory, a country, family, friends and allies from the beginning, and who have the clear goal to defend their country from a clear evil, while the Strategist is this mysterious person that appears out of nowhere (extra points if they have amnesia and/or are Player Inserts) and seems to exist to follow the Lord. Here, it’s the opposite.

    1. Pretty much by the looks of it, all crests do is enhance preexisting abilities and allow demons to actually be purified. Would actually be a nice change of pace if it holds true too, it means a lot of the upcoming fights shouldn’t devolve into who has the stronger magical spell.

  1. I picked this up because of the pointed out Lodoss War connection. I enjoyed this first episode. We got a lot of world building through natural dialogue. And while not everything was explained, this was the first episode. I look forward to seeing more of this world and these characters.

  2. Glad to see a fantasy setting that will work it’s lore accordingly, not rushed like the usual fantasy LN or adaptations of late. Having read the manga, I’m pleased that they did follow the first chapters, and the characters have been done right here. The Brave and the Bold could be said about Theo and Siluca (Silka?), and I expect the shenanigans of the manga to be on full glory here.
    Kudos for the Chaos by neglecting the union of the two factions on one clean swipe (no pun intended)

    1. Well it’s nice that there can be a fantasy anime without Isekai these days. I’ll keep watching this for now. It also helps that I have a huge soft spot for Lodoss, and this is it’s spiritual successor. I don’t expect anything amazing out of it though.

  3. I speculate not read the manga.Show Spoiler ▼

    Like the banter. And I don’t care if it all been done before as long as it is done well. As an old guy, I have little to watch if I confined myself to something new each time.

    1. I think the Lodoss War connection will be what makes or breaks this show for a lot of people. The only similarity between the two is authorship, plot, characters, and universe is largely different with Grancrest being more in line with current fantasy series (minus the usual fantasy races). As mentioned this one is going to be all about its execution, which we won’t have any idea about until the main story gets off the ground. Three episode rule definitely 😛

    2. Those of you comparing Grancrest to Lodoss……do I need to remind you that both Lodoss OVA & TV series also started rather generically even for its time?

      Let me give my own comparison between the two:
      at the start of Lodoss anime, there’s not a single character in it that caught me (it didn’t help that Parn is such a bland MC). In this first episode of Grancrest, Siluca & (to an extend) Theo at least caught my fancy to a degree. Siluca with her personality and Theo who acts as the straight man to whatever craziness Siluca throws at him. I think that already made Grancrest’s first episode better than Lodoss’ first episode.

      I personally don’t have any kind of high expectation for Grancrest since I never consider Lodoss as something that special to begin with. But I find myself quite entertained so far. Let’s hope that this won’t end up like Tales of Zestiria the X.

      1. This with a mix of vanadis. One of the stronger starts this season so far. Hopefully the battles turn out good and don’t just devolve into awkward CG cuts in between stills.

  4. It’s funny, I tried to read the manga, and it came across as an incoherent disorganized mess, yet as an anime, it’s coherent and works okay. It’s probably because the anime does a better job of holding back on the infodumping, and shows rather than tells.

    But damn if I can tell the Federation and Alliance apart. The terms are too vague and close to each other, and yeah, sure, one is Fantasy something, and the other is Factory something, so I get the idea it’s a science vs. fantasy thing, but these names are terrible. (Yeah, I’m nitpicking.)

    I like Siluca a lot. Green hero guy… oh, is his name Theo? Yeah, he left a weak impression on me, or else I might have remembered his name without having to scroll back up to remember it again. For the sake of the story being interesting, I *hope* Siluca (who left me with a much stronger impression because of her personality, which OMG is refreshing) takes the MC role, but I *fear* that GHG… oh yeah, Theo… will.

    Kind of torn on this one. Siluca is great, Theo is kind of “meh,” nobody else really stood out, and the world is very standard so far.

    The villains could really have had “Bad Guy” sewn on their chests and it would not have felt out of place. -_-

    Waiting and seeing.

    1. The faction names are hilarious I think, although agreed, the show does need to start differentiating them. It’s also not clear how the world is divided, how many continents there are, why we only have two factions, and how the mage association (and demons) factors into things. Lots of room for world building going forward which I hope is not ignored too much.

      Also that GHG acronym you have for Theo kills me, all I see when looking at him now is a greenhouse gas: bland and annoying in every way, yet truly impossible to get rid of XD

      1. LOL, yeah, greenhouse gas is definitely one way of looking at him, odorless, colorless, but also a silent killer and a global threat. I was going more with “Green Hero Guy” or “Green-haired guy,” though.

        A lot of things still aren’t clear. I like how Hibike Euphonium 2 did it when they rebooted– a double-length first episode. Gave everyone a thorough grounding in the show, brought everyone up to speed, and was really really good. Re:Zero did that, too, IIRC. It’s a good way to go if you want to get people into a complex setting. I wish more shows would do that, instead of infodumping or leaving us hanging.

        I’d even be willing to go for half-cours of double-episode shows if they were more impactful/coherent.

      2. Crests are magical symbols of power/authority that form the basis of most magic and political structures in the setting. Crest owners form contracts with mages who enter their service and swear themselves to them, powerful crests can bolster entire armies (kinda like Bastila’s battle meditation if you played KOTOR), and the more powerful and high ranking your crest the more authority you have in the kingdoms.

        The vast majority of crests are inherited or granted by more powerful people to subordinates as political tools, the very first crest (the titular grand crest) was used by an old hero to combat chaos way back when and everyone is mostly coasting off his victory even to this day.

        Show Spoiler ▼

        It’s all very Fire Emblem-esque and if you don’t want to watch/read a series about a young lord gathering allies from all walks of life and overcoming enemies through camaraderie, magic bullshit and keikaku then you probably won’t like this. The alderamin and vanadis comparisons are pretty apt.

        There’s 15 some translated chapters out so you can spend a bit reading them and then decide if you want to bother. The manga art is very pretty and since it’s seinen there’s no dense male MC nonsense when it comes to his girls.

      3. @mumey
        Wow thanks for all the info, that explains a lot of my questions. I still hope the show can fill in some of its blanks with these nuggets though, it’s one thing to read them after the fact, it’s another for the show to actually build its world itself.

      1. he dress is nice and sexy, but visually and kinda functionally, the magic floaty harness curtain thingy is weird.

        if they gave her a cape, they should use shoulderpads or pauldrons instead, allowing her for an all flowing/encompasing one, emphasizing her high position.

        its not like you need an armor or mail like the one Deedlit uses to attach those on, as pic related demonstrates.

      2. @Worldwidedepp
        Centered at her chest yes, but physically connected and/or interfacing with her humeral region. There are several shots owing to perspective that seemingly show the cape actually attached to those gold rings sitting on her upper arms.

        It’s definitely impractical, but probably down to artistic license. If it looks cool in some way why not include it 😛

  5. https://randomc.net/image/Grancrest%20Senki/Grancrest%20Senki%20-%2001%20-%2037.jpg
    I like these two. Siluca for obvious reasons. But Theo, he’s weak and he knows it. Got big dreams, but still has principals. He’s letting this random mage lead him along because it hasn’t clashed with those principals. Everything she’s done has been beneficial for his goals too. It may look like he’s passively going along, but he did take initiative in the rescue. So, I think he’s the same as us in wondering what the heck is this random mage trying to do.

    1. Pretty much this. He’s not going against her even though she’s the one leading him all around because she isn’t wrong. He’s not prideful nor egotistical and the icing on top is that he has the big dreams and maintains his principles. I like him for that even though he’s bland. At the very least, he has bigger dreams than Parn, from Lodoss.

      Siluca? I don’t really need to say much. She’s awesome. I like her.

  6. All in all, I rather liked the episode but at the same time, also feel disappointed in the visuals. It doesn’t quite stand out… Maybe A-1 is being spread too thin this season? Plus they probably don’t have as big of a budget for this compared to some other shows.

    1. It’s an anime adaptation of a manga adaptation of an LN series so it’s looking like a whole lot was lost in translation.

      I highly recommend giving the manga a shot, it’s got very good art and the text box exposition and inner thoughts of characters are able to be given less intrisively. Unlike most isekai/fantasy manga it’s not just told from Theo’s perspective, the narrator switches between Siluca and Theo and they share the starring role much more than typical MC-and-Heroine duos.

      Theo is actually the weakest member of the group to begin with but has the most potential for growth thanks to his crest (again, this is VERY FIRE EMBLEM ESQUE), while the chamberlain and ayashera fulfill the Marth role of stronger early but gradually outshined.

      1. You’re thinking of a specific group of early-game pre=premotes that happen to be paladins. The paladin class as a whole is one of the most useful in the majority of the games, particularly the GBA ones. Move is the most important stat. Canto is the most important ability.

    2. It’s middling, but I wouldn’t call it bad. Those action scenes for example weren’t lacking in the way a lot of cheap productions have (ex. Clockwork Planet) and most characters (at least for me) have decent artwork. I’d say it’s passable, but we will know once the actual conflict begins in earnest and A1 has to start putting out serious effort.

  7. Theo of course doesn’t fall far from the hero tree, what with his starting from (almost) nothing and intention on Saving the World with absolutely no plan in mind, but Siluca tickles my fancy in all the right places

    Having read the manga, I predict that this dichotomy is going to be a point of contention.

    One of the good points of Gancrest Senki is that it has a good number of interesting characters and hilarious interactions. Siluca herself has a strong personality, personal goals and a cunning mind to achieve them. Unfortunately, Theo suffers (and will suffer so far) a Generic Hero syndrome, with his Gewneric Niceness being his supposed strong point. Let’s see how the anime addresses it.

    1. Show Spoiler ▼

      It’s all very Fire Emblem-esque and if you don’t want to watch/read a series about a young lord gathering allies from all walks of life and overcoming enemies through camaraderie, magic bullshit and keikaku then you probably won’t like this. The alderamin and vanadis comparisons are pretty apt.

      There’s 15 some translated chapters out so you can spend a bit reading them and then decide if you want to bother. The manga art is very pretty and since it’s seinen there’s no dense male MC nonsense when it comes to his girls.

      1. Thanks. This cleared up a lot of questions I had after watching it. But I still have doubts about him. Why is MC happily going with what main girl is throwing at him with no questions asked? Is this actually like Madan no Ou to Vanadis? I really liked that show.

        SSJ Ski
      2. Why is MC happily going with what main girl is throwing at him with no questions asked?

        Show Spoiler ▼

        Is this actually like Madan no Ou to Vanadis? I really liked that show.

        Yes it is similar to vanadis especially the MC’s motivations although he’s not special snowflake bow-kun instead he gets a magic crest that grows in power with his authority and allows him to contract mages.

      3. Oh, believe me, I know.

        As I said, I’ve read the manga chapters. And it’s not the usual fantasy tropes what I dislike, but Theo’s role in them. As far as I’ve seen, the Fire Emblem and Vanadis comparisons are very apt. Still, I consider that Theo has less agency and is more of a plot device than the lords of those settings. Siluca’s actually the one gathering allies from all walks of life and overcoming enemies through camaraderie, magic bullshit and keikaku. Sometimes, it seems as if Theo’s only use is to have a crest.

        I don’t know about the LN, though. Maybe it changes in the future?

      4. @Mistic
        hahahahahahahahahaha Oh, really? What kind of drug did you take? I have to admit that this was a awesome headcanon/fanwank in the best style “delusional waifufag”, not to mention that Siluca would be dead if Theo hadn’t appeared for saving her during his battle with Moreno. But I totally agree with you when you say that Siluca’s only use is to provide fancervice and yuribait for Otaku, and to be the MC’s waifu.

        Mindless Watcher
    1. @silver
      I didn’t said like what you wrote.
      Show Spoiler ▼

  8. Well I don’t feel very keen to follow this anime. I will follow the rule of the 3 episodes. And even if I’m not convinced, I’ll follow this for a while through blogs.
    I don’t like Siluca, and I like Theo but he’s very weak in personality next to Siluca.
    The magic and the demons of this story don’t amuse me. I need to see what the battles and strategies will be like to see if I am interested.

    1. Theo will be make or break for a lot of people I think. He’s too vanilla at the moment, Siluca at least has some spunk and uniqueness to her, but our green haired hero is replaceable with damn near anyone else. I imagine things will improve in a couple of episodes once the premise is properly established, but Grancrest definitely doesn’t have much leeway.

  9. It´s awe inspiring how idiotic humans can be when face with world destrying threat in a fantasy setting, just like the kingdoms of elfs, dawrfs and men in the good old days of The Lord of the Rings, refusing to band together against Sauron until the last second possible as War in the North made painfully clear. Here we have our standar mobles and royalty that seem to think that that little thing called DEMONIC IVAsion from another dimesion is not such a big deal as to join forces and … I don´t know save the world!.

  10. “lewd lord who contracts only female mages based off their looks”
    sounds like I have somehow managed to cross the 4th wall while playing Kanpani girls
    (basically kanbcolle with fantasy style mercenary enterprise instead of the fleet)


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