「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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      1. I’m guessing Grancrest’s LNs is one of those detail-rich books with many events and characters going on at once – a thrill to read over several pages, but a pain to compress into a fixed slot of episodes; especially when you (as the director) know that’s all you’re going to get with no promise of future season slots to wrap up the story.

        Unless the source has enduring popularity like Natsume’s Book of Friends or High School DxD which allows you to get new seasons every few years.

  1. The Mirror or Gigantic Lens, needs the Sun to work. So if the Sky is cloudy and the sun hidden, its useless. And in the night of course, too

    But i think at that time, they needed the sun and sail near the coast

  2. When they’re telegraphing Villar’s death this flagrantly… it just makes me think back to the fault that so much of what happens in this series is too convenient for Theo. You know what’d be creative? NOT killing Villar, and making Theo stand up as the main character without gifting him a gaping hole in the Union’s power structure to fill into. Sadly I expect the exact opposite to happen, so yeah…

  3. Female Pirate Harem Queen/ Grand Moff Tarkin:
    “You may fire when ready”
    Milza/ Admiral Ackbar
    Our ships cant hold against the firepower of that magnitude!

    this alone made the spisode worthy

    also props for using the idea of Archimedes solar weapon
    poor mage girl she is not cut for operating WMD

  4. This all would have worked better as the end of a second season of build up for all these characters so that we could care and know who they are. Really, as said further up thread, they just wanted to do a full adaptation and didn’t care that it would completely truncate everything in the process.

  5. I know Milza is sticking with his principles, but I’m not sure doing so will make things end well with him. Can’t say it’ll end well with his people either. Killing your father and his associates for succession is one thing, but killing them over a disagreement is a different matter. His lack of leadership and tunnel vision in battle makes him look more like a spoiled brat instead of a powerful figurehead with a forceful personality.

    After all that action, Theo’s battle was strangely MIA. Just like Villar, I’d like to know how he won. We haven’t seen enough of his battles to know how he actually leads one.

    1. Agreed on all of the above. Also, Milza’s principles are bad and toxic, so I don’t think it’s in any way admirable that he’s sticking to them. Bad principles should be discarded. Which I’m sure he won’t do, and will suffer and die for it.

  6. “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.”

    This doesn’t just happen in Grancrest Senki, it happens in other Anime too. I feel because of time constraints on screen, the writers had to skip characters in past episodes and add them in later. This probably are done with characters that don’t have a major part in the storyline. These characters are ether passerby or there to die, really.

    I think it would be harder to explain in one episode how characters we never seen before suddenly die in battle without some kind of screen time while we see main protagonist s keep succeding on screen.


    1. I mean, you’re correct that this mistake happens in other anime, but so what? It’s a mistake there too.

      The rub is that they didn’t need to give us episodes on end with these characters to make us care. For most of them, they probably weren’t ever going to make us care about them ever (and probably shouldn’t). We just needed to know they existed. Why not introduce them in that council scene a few episodes back? Maybe there are in-universe reasons for that, but who cares. Better to start familiarizing us with their faces instead of focusing on one asshole and a bunch of nameless dukes.

      It really is all down to the time constraints, though they’re not doing the best work possible within those constraints, not even close.

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