「戦旗」 (Senki Hata)
The Three Episode RuleTM may be more guideline than scientific law, but it certainly provides a good impression of what to expect from Grancrest Senki going forward. With enough material under our belts now it’s safe to say the show will not be changing in any significant manner: the lack of background details will remain, the current pace will continue, and Theo will never cease being a thorn in some people’s sides. It’s a fantasy that will likely stick close to the mean, no matter how different some parts may be.
The main issue concerning me with Grancrest at the start was its speed, and while I held out hopes things would improve, this episode largely confirmed little will probably change. From acquiring new allies previously to defeating a king this week, the show seemingly has no issue shifting between events with little buildup between. We saw this previously with Theo’s ascension to Lord, but I felt the whole declaration of independence (minus Nicholas Cage) to battlefield showdown was an noticeable case highlighting the issues Grancrest is experiencing. Yeah fine Theo (and Siluca) wants to save his village and the world, but just who the hell are these factions? Why is it important to pick one over the other? And where did these minor parties come from? Few answers are apparently forthcoming. Now to be fair, these are elements which can be eked out with a little thought (ex. why Siluca chooses one faction over the other), but considering the blistering pace Grancrest is breezing through different scenes, little time is actually given to chew on newly revealed information. One is largely dragged along from event to event with world building mostly pushed aside in favour of the week’s important payoff. Grancrest could easily flesh out things better and give us a more complete picture, but it’s increasingly looking like show’s purpose—as with many adaptations—is to quickly get to the good stuff later on.
Pacing problems aside, what keeps me here and interested in Grancrest is (ironically) the characters. Siluca and Theo are probably the best example, edging close to turning into the (stereo)typical maiden in distress/overpowered hero duo, but retaining enough uniqueness to remain interesting. Theo for example remains a nuisance (at best) in fights, unable to deal with the threats his mage can easily dispatch, yet proves handy when it comes to cleanup duty. Likewise Siluca is pretty damn strong, but needs the security of allies to ensure her strength isn’t a single shot endeavour. This relationship shows some of the skill of Grancrest’s writing: we don’t have some hero getting by thanks to the power of some ability and a girl (well, girls) who exists solely as viewer friendly eye candy. Each (main) character in Grancrest has their own strengths and weaknesses and the show ensures both elements are featured when the moment is right. While the risk of this setup devolving into the typical fantasy structure remains (as evidenced by Siluca’s quick 180 on consulting Theo), I’m still optimistic the show will continue to buck convention in this area. Unless our green haired hero suddenly gets a power-up the fighting—and scheming—is all on Siluca, and I seriously doubt she’ll be bested there anytime soon. Until Mr. Hero can outclass our new cute pink haired party member, he’s destined for perpetual figurehead status.
Considering how torn I am between my likes and concerns over Grancrest, it’s probably unsurprising I’m unsure right now if I’ll be blogging this one further. The show has some good potential, but with the current structure it’s hard seeing if it can properly rise to the occasion. Plus with a few other important series this season likely needing coverage (because reasons), super serious—and I mean serious—decisions must be made. I guess it’s about time to change the Three Episode Rule to a four episode one wouldn’t you say?