「裏切りの刃」 (Uragiri no ha)
“Blade of Betrayal”
This was not a very good episode, but I found myself enjoying it more than previous bad episodes. Which has everything to do with my own storytelling proclivities, but given that anyone who watches a high fantasy war epic probably shares those, I have a feeling this one went over better than most.
First, let me explain why this was a bad episode. First there’s the fact that we had no way to know who most of these people were prior to this episode, and of the characters we do know (Theo, Lassic), their battles mostly took place off-screen. We ended up flitting between new characters we have no reason to care about (save for their purpose to Villar), so even when a relatively cool one dies, it doesn’t really have an effect. Sorry theater guy, sucks for you. I guess you were a bit player. Moving on.
But the biggest reason is typified in Milza’s sea battle, and no, not just because he insists on doing all the fighting himself. (Though that does make him a shitty king and a worse leader. Dude gonna die and plunge his country into a succession crisis.) He goes through this whole battle where he (stupidly) boards an enemy ship alone and almost dies for it, and then his fleet gets wrecked by a weapon he probably should have known about (he was all up in that castle all the time, and even if that wasn’t the case, shouldn’t his country have spies?), but he still acts like everything is under control and he’s going to kill Villar. The mirror should either be a tactical coup that changes Milza’s plans or Milza should have completely expected it, but neither is true. He’s acting like he didn’t expect it, but it also isn’t changing his plans in the least. What this shows to me is that the characters’ actions don’t matter. The plot feels decided, not dictated by actions of events. They’re being railroaded to the inevitable conclusion, and if nothing that leads there matters, why are they wasting our time with it?
The reason I still enjoyed this episode despite all that is that it’s a bunch of big set piece battles, and even if most of it doesn’t make sense (and there’s a big damn stupid floating palace to boot), I still like big arse battles. I’ve spoken fondly of Madan no Ou to Vanadis in these posts before, because I enjoyed that show despite all its weaknesses. Same thing. (Though that show had a better male lead, so, er.) Even when it’s kind of dumb, I like the back and forth, and some of the character’s actions actually seemed to have an effect (at least the dead king forced Marrine to commit more forces to kill him. Maybe that will be important?).
Plus, there was the big one: Margaret is back! She’s one of the few characters Grancrest Senki has given us enough time with to make me give a shit, so her being back where she can forget her other responsibilities and make Villar her husbando is all good news to me. She, Siluca, and Theo were also damn near the only characters who weren’t acting like idiots for large tracts of this episode (I don’t count Villar because he misjudged Milza so badly, and everyone else is self-explanatory), so having her back is wonderful.
I just wish that next episode title wasn’t such an apparent spoiler. What a buzzkill.
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