「白亜の公子」 (Hakua no Koushi)
“The White Prince”
This ended up being a pretty good episode, since it didn’t rush (much). Not that things didn’t go Theo’s way a little too easily, but at this point that feels like a feature of Grancrest Senki rather than a bug.
I especially enjoyed the first part, where Theo squared off against Lord Ladvan Torius. I say they squared off, though it was only about half against each other. In truth, it was a three-way stand-off: Ladvan, Theo, and the crowd. At first I was prepared to scoff, because they were holding their negotiations in front of a crowd, and as anyone will tell you, serious negotiations never happen in public (or in front of the cameras). But I think both of them wanted it that way. They were both manipulating the crowd (public opinion) as a weapon against one another. Both thought they could use the crowd to win—and only one was correct. Or maybe both were. Ladvan openly admitted that he couldn’t win, and that he didn’t want to endanger his people, but behind closed doors he would have had fewer options. As things turned out, he left the door open for his people to beseech him to betray the Alliance, thereby saving himself and them. That he ended up pledging his loyalty personally to Theo was perhaps a step too far—too convenient and easy for Theo, as noted before—but the rest worked out well. Turns out that Theo isn’t a military hero (like Ladvan thought), but a hero of the people. It was a good look for Theo.
Then we got to the Lords’ Congress, and once again events moved too swiftly and easily in Theo’s favor, but everything else worked well. I enjoyed all the women swooning over the Marquis of Jalucia, Alexis (Iguchi Yuuichi), and Villar’s new head mage getting to dance with him, d’aaww! Lucky lass. It was also instantly clear that he’s a bleeding heart, so it was no surprise when he showed up at Theo’s accommodations later on—though in this case, the lack of surprise was good. That at least didn’t seem like it stemmed from Theo’s luck. That decision stemmed from Alexis’ character.
The other major player was Pederico Rossini, who is a full-on conniving bastard. He’s so very punchable, which makes for a one-dimensional if satisfying villain. (As opposed to Marrine, who is a more interesting antagonist, albeit still in the early stages of development.) I liked how well Theo kept it together when he was speaking to Rossini, and how it was instantly clear that Rossini is the kind of ruthless tyrant who wouldn’t hesitate to order an assassination of a potential obstacle to his continued rule—so once again, no surprise when it was Theo who was targeted later on. My main complaint is that, once again, events turned too quickly in Theo’s favor—Rossini is going to be accused of trying to assassinate Alexis, which will get him punted from the Union and make him fair game for Theo’s assault. Maybe theo earned it because his earlier actions led to Alexis wanting to speak with him, but he didn’t plan it, so once again. Too easy.
Still, maybe I ought to start considering that a feature of the story, since it happens so often. I at least appreciated how quick and decisive the battle was, and how much Theo’s words made Siluca blush when they were speaking with Alexis. Villar and Alexis might be the total bishies, but Theo is a ladykiller where it counts—with Siluca. D’aaww!
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