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: 「starry」by Mashiro Ayano