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Grancrest Senki – 04

「決断」 (Ketsudan)
“Decision”

Mistakes, battle, and a real test of our heroes’ skills.

Stilts here, taking over for Pancakes because fantasy is my jam (I-I’m not the ecchi blogger!), even when the series in question has its share of issues. Lighting summary of my feelings on episodes 1-3: Grancrest Senki is managing to both not explain itself enough and explain too much, which, combined with underdeveloped characters and factions, gives me a constant low-grade feeling of being off balance. That said, the epic fantasy scale is super fun, the key characters are getting increasingly fleshed out (Theo & Siluca especially, but Aishela, Priscilla, Irvin, Lassic and others getting there), and they’re giving us a map-changing battle every episode, which rocks. So, how’s episode four fare?

While part of me wished for a keikaku doori smile from Siluca when her adopted father and Marrine refused her alliance, the other (larger) part of me is glad that she’s making mistakes. I wish the execution was better, but it remains that Theo and Siluca are portrayed (rightly) as highly skilled but otherwise inexperienced players on the world stage who are more than capable of getting in over their heads. That’s good because, as we found in Arslan Senki, the infallible strategist comes with the risk of overshadowing his or her ruler. Of course there are in-universe reasons why Siluca or Narsus can’t rule, but it’s hard for modern viewers, who do not live day-to-day under absolute monarchies or chivalric orders, to avoid bridling at a seemingly weak ruler. Arslan Senki got by this (in my estimation, and not in the estimation of others) by showing Arslan’s growth and the areas where he excelled. Grancrest Senki gets around it more swiftly by making Siluca less awesome.

Which is good! Tension requires there to be a sizeable chance of defeat, which is difficult to deliver with an infallible strategist on one side. (You’ve generally got to face them off against an opposing infallible strategist, or else give them a situation so hienous it taxes even their brilliance.) Having Siluca just make mistakes allows for more tension, will make her more humble next time, and provides for more tense battles.

Speaking of, this was the first battle where it felt like the protagonists were in real danger of losing. The Knights of Valdrind are on a different level entirely, and I like that they were defeated not because the protagonists suddenly powered up, but because someone else came in and kicked them around; they maintain their fearsome reputation, at least as compared to our crew, until next time they appear. It was Aishela’s injury that really upped their menace level, along with them shredding the castle, though the way they so clearly fell into the Earl of Artuk’s trap was laughable. Not because it didn’t make sense, even for their (collective) characters. It was just too easy to anticipate that this level of arrogance would be punished. Maybe listen to more morality tales, you stupid knights. We tell ‘em to our kids for a reason.

Jumping back to my references to Arslan Senki, another element these two senkis share is in their relatively inexperienced main leads, though I think Theo unjustly suffered for being opposite Siluca from the beginning, especially when she (early on) appeared if she was going to be an infallible strategist. Seen after this four episode arc, the two of them come out looking much more even: she’s wicked smart, conniving, and magically gifted, he’s naturally honorable, chivalrous, and charismatic (plus something of a charmer), but they’re both inexperienced and capable of mistakes or weaknesses. That’s good, because they feel more like co-equal leads. It also means that Theo might become of more interest, since he’s still more ensconced in his tropes than Siluca is.

Priscilla was the most intriguing supporting character of this episode, for the potential ramifications of her more-powerful-than-expected healing powers and her suspected identity, which is all that keeps her from being a tiresome case of “I guess she just likes him for reasons so she’s here.” She comes off more as having a mysterious ulterior motive, which I can get behind. The other star was undoubtedly Lassic. I just like that big lug. I hope he sticks around, now that Theo is back to being a wandering knight.

Our heroes didn’t end up getting punished for all of their mistakes, at least not by fate. They did get punished by politics, which would be much more galling if not for those mistakes. I can’t deny that I loved the episode ending off on Siluca’s not-so-subtle wonderings of whether she’s falling for Theo (or that’s how I choose to interpret it, give me my shipping dammit!!), and I’ll even admit to being swayed by the Earl of Artuk, whose masterful political maneuverings made it so that he saved face, Siluca got out of trouble, and he got the services of the talented mage he was originally to contract with, mostly. Plus, forgiveness is always a nice thing, even if he’s still apparently a mamacon. Now that Theo and Siluca are no longer tied down, I’m excited to see where they go next—as long as they keep most of their crew with them, and start fleshing them out even more.

Random thoughts:

  • The oomph in the OST when Lassic was fighting the old king was excellent. You could really feel the weight of their strikes. More of that please. I guess we need less battles against mooks, more against real characters.

My SECOND novel, Freelance Heroics, is available now! (Now in print!) (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Sign up for my email list for updates. At stephenwgee.com, the latest post: The Last Jedi SUPER SPOILERY Review.

 

Preview

January 26, 2018 at 10:23 pm
19 comments »
  • January 27, 2018 at 1:18 amzztop

    Grancrest will have 24 eps, spread across 8 Blurays.
    https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2018-01-20/record-of-grancrest-war-anime-listed-with-24-episodes/.126704

    Currently 9 vols of Grancrest’s LNs are available in Japan. Given the rumours of rushed content, I suspect the anime will play at the same pacing as Shokoku no Altair’s.

  • January 27, 2018 at 1:48 amWorldwidedepp

    Yes, this episode made both now on the same Balance of Power. No more an “dominant” Woman behind him. But they are still influence the Leader’s decision, as you saw it. With given both some weakness both now can help each other out. Like Yin and Yan. Seems like someones want to use ex-Lord Theo to create an Revolution from within, not an War. Like this one on the left http://randomc.net/image/CODE%20GEASS/CODE%20GEASS%20R2%20-%2025%20-%20Large%2030.jpg

    I can see some vibes from other animes that ride on the sidelines, and lets see. Perhaps this episode here can turn then “hate train” tables a bit. But perhaps mostly do not had problems with the “power”, perhaps with the gender.. But with both now respect each other and knowing of their weakness, Progressing is smoother

    Also, this “Priest”.. Please do not use the name “Jesus” in the future. I know it is told that Jesus can resurrect corpses. But here it is something totally different.. So, please for the sake respect the (my) Religion. Avoid the name “Jesus”, onegai (Jesus and Budda sitcom Manga is an exception. It is okay)

    But feel free to continue to use “Holy grail” in any way you see fit (like Fate series)

  • January 27, 2018 at 5:28 amboingman

    http://randomc.net/image/Grancrest%20Senki/Grancrest%20Senki%20-%2004%20-%2035.jpg
    Yandere in the making?

    On the one hand unfortunately another rushed episode and I wonder whether it will ever slow down, on the other hand some of the fights were animated beautifully, so it was fun to watch.

    I don’t know how it’s in the novels, but so far it really feels like there’s only one main character, which is Siluca. I wouldn’t miss Theo if he disappeared.

    • January 27, 2018 at 6:51 pmhaseo0408

      Now that Theo has to start over I hope he gets the spotlight he deserves, Siluca is good and all but theo is the driving force behind the story so the narrative should focus more on him. Nevertheless I´m loving this series.

  • January 27, 2018 at 6:56 amRedRocket

    The story does seem too rushed. Interesting though. Like that Siluca’s overconfidence was just that overconfidence based on her smarts and early success vs poor opponents.

  • January 27, 2018 at 7:31 amAex

    Just to make sure I got the end right: Theo didn’t take the deal because it would’ve meant losing his contract with Siluca to “Earl Whoever”, so instead decided to give up everything except for said contract to the Earl, and since he’s been busted to a Knight with no territory the Earl is keeping Siluca for himself anyway, minus an actual contract?

    Wow, been a while since I saw an MC get screwed that hard by such forced politics. Still doesn’t make much of anything about this show interesting, though, and I wonder how many episodes of “stupid Knight Theo with no Siluca” we’ll need to go through after this.

    • January 27, 2018 at 11:35 amThe_Soultaker

      No, The MC of Darling in the Franxx got NTR in this episode, Mitsuru rode in 02′s ass and ride Strelizia, thus mocking Hiro (Yes, 02 is a pistil, and she ride in the same position as the other girls). I have been watching Anime for more than 15 years, but I had never seen a plot so cruel and so painful for a MC, as I saw in these three episode of Darling in the Franxx. Absolutely everything goes wrong for him and everything bad always happen to her.I’m starting to feel like if the author, producer, director and production team have a massive hate-boner for the MC.

      • January 27, 2018 at 12:07 pmWorldwidedepp

        wrong anime pal

      • January 27, 2018 at 1:05 pmAex

        I’m guessing you’re comparing the situations? At least Hiro is getting closer to what he wants everytime someone in his way fucks up, but with just one Siluca-screw-up Theo’s stuck in a position he literally can’t get out of until the guy after Siluca’s ass feels like letting him.

        I agree, though, that Franxx has been brutal. Last episode was okay since it could be called necessary, but this one was a bit much. Sure Hiro knows the risks now and it was satisfying seeing Douche #1 grow and Douche #2 break, but still. The adults need to either stop jerking each other around and address the elephant in the room or Zero-Two is gonna just go through them soon.

    • January 28, 2018 at 9:51 pmStilts

      @Aex

      My reading is that Theo and Siluca still have a contract. “Officially” she has a contract with the Earl, and she “never broke it” for reasons of him saving face + getting her out of trouble, but the important players know she’s really with Theo still.

      Though Theo wandering without Siluca could be interested. Certainly ballsy. I’d still rather keep the crew together, though.

      • January 28, 2018 at 10:10 pmAex

        I dunno, I think Theo’ll be on his own a lot now. He had to give permission for the Earl to treat Siluca like one of his own court magicians, and the end gave the feeling that the Earl wants her for himself, so even though they’ll both be living in the Earl’s castle I think we’re gonna see a fair amount of Theo getting sent on errands while Siluca stays behind so the Earl can “get her help with more important matters”, aka “If I seperate the she’ll see I’m better and leave the shmuck on her own”.

        Needless to say, I don’t buy the rumors about his womanizing being false. Not a very credible source, dontcha know.

  • January 27, 2018 at 9:57 amChris hall

  • January 27, 2018 at 11:34 amDinastyMound

    god episode

  • January 27, 2018 at 8:17 pmRedRocket

    “Of course there are in-universe reasons why Siluca or Narsus can’t rule, but it’s hard for modern viewers, who do not live day-to-day under absolute monarchies or chivalric orders, to avoid bridling at a seemingly weak ruler.” Stilts.
    Concerning last season of TV Game of Thrones. Show Spoiler ▼

  • January 27, 2018 at 10:42 pms_w

    This week’s show is like an incoherent drunk guy screaming at me about a TV show he once watched a long time ago, and never watched it again because for some reason it pissed him off… and he’s mad at me for not remembering why it pissed him off. -_- Too close, TOO CLOSE!

    THAT’S how much sense this show makes, and how I felt after watching it this week.

    I still can’t tell either side apart, and apparently I’m not supposed to, nor am I supposed to care, because they both suck. Apparently.

    People who are supposed to be awesome, aren’t. They’re idiots. Bad guys are retconned into good guys (Hi Earl! I hear you like girls! Oh wait, you’re not a creep now? *Sigh.* Sloppeh.)

    And the hero is still bland and boring as a warm yogurt sandwich. People are dying all around him, and he’s like the kid who doesn’t know how to do anything in the house, so you say, “Bobby, I need you to hold the spatula,” and he does. And that’s it. He just stands there, holding a spatula, not making shit worse, I guess?

    Everyone AROUND him is INCREDIBLE, steel guy, lady who gets shot in the shoulder, crazy-eyed nun, burly guy who killed that mean old guy, and his “wizard,” they’re all GREAT. But the hero? 75 Kg of Dripping Wet Meh. A warm yogurt sandwich that got left in the car in July. And yet Siluca thinks he’s AWEEESOMEEEE.

    I like Siluca as a character, she’s one of the reasons I keep watching this show, in spite of its raging incoherence and just bad writing, but why she thinks Bobby the Spatula Holder is ever going to be great is a real stumper.

    I’m about ready to bail on this one, and a few others.

    • January 28, 2018 at 7:30 amBROOKLYN otaku

      Ha haa!! Brother man, at this point i only come here for the SCREEN CAPS and the COMMENTS. the summary too “thanks stilts”. This show is *fart sound*

      Ur comment did not disappoint!!

  • January 28, 2018 at 1:02 amonm

  • January 28, 2018 at 8:00 amtheirs

    Now we know why they didn’t bother showing the battle with what’s his name last week. He didn’t last long at all. Probably wasn’t killed by anybody significant like the late King of Savis.

    Got to wonder if they’ll slow down the pacing later on. This episode didn’t feel as fast as the previous two.

    http://randomc.net/image/Grancrest%20Senki/Grancrest%20Senki%20-%2004%20-%2031.jpg
    This girl’s hiding something. Siluca probably knows something. What was her purpose in joining the group anyway? Can’t help notice the comment about spreading religion, since I thought she was allowed in cause they already have a few followers there.

  • January 30, 2018 at 2:42 amewok40k

    Interesting, very interesting…
    First, Alliance turns down Siluca and Theo to prevent precedent of lords changing sides.
    Second the not-so-pervert-after-all lord uses Siluca and Theo as bait to tie up forces of his rival, THEN he shows up to score a “capture a queen” move
    In both cases Siluca was outplayed and outmaneuvred
    – she might be a prodigy mage, but she is still greenhorn in strategy and politics
    Then, we see Theo and Siluca show their priorities – they want to stay together over gaining nominal power – here is your Ship. mr Stilts!
    They even managed to maneuver Earl of Artuk into accepting this
    and Lassic got suddenly a bit of his own ambitions realized – I hope he gets to help Theo in future because he is too good a character to be wasted.
    Priscilla is a wild card here she seems to have her own agenda and her healing power is off the charts… she almost brought Aishela from the dead.