「一角獣城, 落つ」 (Ikkakujuu-jou, Otsu)
“The Fall of Castle Unicorn”

So Villar is dead, thanks to a heretofore unheard of ally joining Marrine for the assault, but also because of mistakes made episodes ago that were entirely avoidable. The core of this episode was lousy, even if the actual events of the episode were pretty good, because the writers set out to do one thing and they did it well: showed the slow, inexorable, painful defeat of Altirk and death of Villar. And boy did we see it.

Last moments with loyal companions. Final kisses between lovers long denied but finally embraced. Heroic sacrifices that amounted to nothing, and suicides that amounted to even less. Going out in a blaze of glory, as the one of the two couples I cared about in this show (Margaret and Villar) were forced to exit stage right so the other couple (Theo and Siluca) could take center stage. A touching scene, followed by Villar falling over just because. Marrine’s regrets feel cheap. She just ordered a volley designed to disintegrate her cousin. It feels pointless to focus on her feelings now.

If the purpose of this episode (and this entire arc) had been to show that war is pointless, I would be forced to praise it, because all these deaths were utterly needless, both because the entire war is stupid (as wars of conquest always are) and because Altirk shouldn’t have been in this position if Villar hadn’t chickened out and had just taken control of the Union from Alexis. He got outmaneuvered by a fool, and paid for it with his life. It was all pointless—but that’s not the message here. There isn’t really a theme or message. There are just events, and as one commenter (PurpleBomber) so aptly put it, Villar needed to die so there would be a power vacuum for Theo to fill. So he dies.

The reason this is all so frustrating is that it was avoidable. Had Villar been cleverly outmaneuvered, then it would still be frustrating (because if politics isn’t frustrating, someone isn’t doing it right), but at least it wouldn’t have been so easy to fix. That’s true of several other events. When viewers can so easily chart the course that would have led away from this tragedy, and when it’s so patently clear to the characters at the time too (Siluca was yelling about it), it’s so frustrating that the slow, inexorable pain of this episode doesn’t work correctly, because the core is rotten. Instead of it feeling terrible, it feels stupid. It feels designed, when it should be a clash of formidable factions instead.

To be honest, I’m getting to the point where I spend more time ragging on Grancrest Senki than I do enjoying it, because the anime is too rushed and I have serious questions about the source material underneath. Next week appears to be an 11.5 recap episode, so there will be no post, and I may drop the series either here or after another post or two. There are just too many good anime premiering next season, and if it comes down to missing one of those or continuing this, Grancrest is liable to fall by the wayside. Though then again, I dislike dropping series, and a renewed focus on Theo and Siluca could really improve matters. We’ll see how things look over the next few weeks.

Random thoughts:

  • “In that case, how shall we lose?” Margaret continues being one of the best characters in this show, to the bitter end. That’s a good way to look at it, given the shitty circumstances they found themselves in. If you’ve gotta go out, at least decide how you want to do it.

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  1. … I only just checked, and gawd this show is continuing into the spring season. I don’t know if I can take another 12 episodes of Marrine being such an unsympathetic idiot. I guess I can only hope that since Milza now’s been conveniently set up on a pedestal for Theo to knock down, that’ll happen sooner rather than later because I reaaaaaally don’t want that plotline dragged all the way out to the finale.

    Granted, I’m definitely just feeling some fatigue after how long the Altirk battle took to build up and play out. There’s been very little of Theo and his merry mates, and given that they’re… well, the main characters, hopefully we’ll be getting more of them in the second cour than the relationship troubles between Alexis and Marrine (ideally they just sort that out Romeo and Juliet style and get out of our collective hair).

      1. “So Villar is dead, thanks to a heretofore unheard of ally joining Marrine for the assault.”
        This is making me drop the show, I was interested because of the final episode blog post, but this ass pull of ass pulls is making me think the writers are a bunch of monkeys flinging shit on their walls to see what sticks. You mean to tell me that Villar, the counsin of the enemy, DIDNT know that she had a sister of a 1,000 ship army that will eventually attack? NO ONE in the alliance knew of this force too?

        They just came out of thin fucking air?

        Fuck off writers, people hate it when the MC gets ass pulls, but people hate it just as much when the antagonists get them too, this is junior high school tier writing .

        Someone mentioned that Marrine doesnt get her karma shoved back in her face, and marries alexis

        if this is true then just lol, the writers are a bunch of fucking trolls, anything else they make shouldn’t be taken seriously enough to be read going forward. Unbelievable bullshit here.
        But since im not going to waste my time on this bullshit to find out. whatever.

  2. Perhaps this anime is not so popular here, because it “sends” the wrong signals out. Go out!? Sure, but we go out in full glory!!

    This show felled relative early in the same drawer like Kokkoku. They walking the path that are long ago cemented in Stone and Steel and no evidence to break it up

    i could now compare it with Netflix’s A.I.C.O. But i just say this it once here, no reply here in this comment from me

  3. I’m more interested in seeing the terrorists who sabotaged the wedding.
    Given the info that ending Chaos will end the powers of Chaos users and artists, I could see those parties wanting to prevent peace rather than lose the magic they feel defines their existence. Especially immortal beings like Dimitri.

  4. I am pretty sure real wars often go same way… colossal blunders by people in power leading to millions unnecessary deaths.
    Thats the story of WW1 in a nutshell, but look at WW2
    -Japan invading China knowing full well it has no manpower to fully control it
    -Germany invading Poland when it knew it would lead to world war
    -Germany going to war with UK despite having no neccessary fleet
    -France refusing to go offensive in 1939 while Germans were busy in Poland
    -France losing 1940 campaign by surrendering when Germans had 2 weeks of ammo left
    -Germans attacking Russia, country with twice the manpower and 11 time zones deep
    -…and without winter clothing
    -Japan attacking the USA. The country that invented mass production.
    etc. , etc.

    1. You are correct, but two arguments against your point:

      1) Fiction has a higher bar to clear than reality. Reality can be stupid, because it has the added benefit of being true. If fiction writers did what sometimes happens in reality, they’d get told to rewrite it because no one would believe it. I’ll just wave vaguely at the current state of US politics to prove my point (or mention that Silvio “bunga bunga” Berlusconi has risen back to prominence … gross). Reality can also have improbably coincidences (like how Gavrilo Princip lost the Archduke, and then accidentally ran into him again while he was getting a sandwich) that fiction isn’t allowed. We have to justify that shit.

      2) Mistakes can certainly be made, but they should come from character. Take Napoleon’s and Hitler’s invasions of Russia. The first one is far more understandable; it had not yet become a meme that you “Don’t invade Russia in the winter.” But once Napoleon made the mistake, Hitler should have known—but he was so narcissistic, unbending, unwilling to listen to others, and hopped up on various drugs (among other things) that the mistake was justified.

      If Villar had a good character-driven reason for not taking over the Union, that’d be one thing. But that didn’t exist. The problem is not mistakes, it’s mistakes that it doesn’t seem like that character would make. Imperial Japan biting off more than they could chew in China? Makes total sense (from them). A France still exhausted from WWI being reluctant to get into another horrific, grinding war? Makes sense (from them). The issue is that the actions that led to this situation do not make sense, even for the characters involved.

      (‘cept Siluca and Margaret. Best characters in the show IMO. Them and Lasic, and Theo is getting better too.)

      1. If I had to give Villar a reason to not preemptively strike the Union it would be that he was still hoping for a peaceful solution, cemented by marriage of the leaders. He has gravely misred Marrine’s intentions, though. And he underestimated the lengths to which she would go to realise her vengeance – summoning a hode of Vikings from half globe away must have costed fortune. Had this not happened, Villar would have support from the sea, and possible way of retreat should things go really bad.


    But seriously, I’m done caring about Marrine. Kill her, make her fall into a coma and get amnesia, I don’t care. Just stop making me look at such a sad person we all know will never win. Though if she does die, I want it to be after someone slaps her with the hard truth that everything she’s done since her grandfather’s death has been exactly what his assassins wanted. That should make for a good reaction when she’s forced to accept that doing all this for revenge has never been anything but blind, idiotic bullshit.

    And honestly, as long as they have close to no political power, she can have Alexis. These two idiots deserve each other and he’d probably unintentionally give her a breakdown by being too nice even after everything she’s done.

  6. Villar and Margaret remind me of another couple, Naze Turbine and Amida Arca from Gundam Tekketsu no Orphans.

    Stilts, why no picture of that old mage getting hit in the chest by a Getter Tomahawk? LOL

    Why did Castle Unicorn not have a drawbridge? Heck, they should’ve had a way to wreck the stone bridge, or even just part of it.

    Magnus Tancred
    1. I think Grandcrest Senki REALLY likes to romanticize things, like how the whole castle seemed to be more on the fancy side and less of a fortress. To that end, there’s a lot of questionable tactical & strategical decisions involved. Like with the bridge you mentioned and in general how in what I hear is a densely populated world, no one seems to be competent or at least attempt some attrition tactics, which would be great here as short distances means reinforcements arrive fast. Or how Edokia & her Palace of Sea ship just seemed to move towards the enemy fleet instead of trying to keep it’s distance for as long as it can to do as much damage as it can as it clearly outranged ’em with ‘dem huge cannons and THEN detonate as that nordic fleet would inevitably catch up. We could’ve arrived at the same outcomes for everyone involved, but it’d feel like the defeated ones did their best.

      HOWEVER, when it comes down to actually executing these events, I’d say Grandcrest Senki is pretty damn competent at it and manages to make the deaths, the goodbye kisses look so grandiose.

      Also, I don’t think it was completely out of character for Villar to go out like this, (in a rather beautiful manner as he’d prolly’ put it) rather than clinging on to his life & subjects for as long as possible – I’d even say it fits a part of him, albeit also comes out as a more willingly incompetent side of him that we didn’t see early on. After all, we did start off the ep with Margaret asking “How shall we loose?” 😛

      Manly Tear
  7. I request a moment of silence for Colleen, the poor girl that never wanted to fight, never wanted to kill anyone with a superweapon, and deserved better than “Death by Diabolus ex Machina”. Sorry sweetie, you were just too good for this world.

    Someone please tell me she survived…

  8. I like this anime alot. and plan on watching it to the end. though I will be royally angry if something happens to siluca and theo.. i’m putting my money on that marriane and her fiance dude will both die.. and theo fulfills his dream. i am not liking the filler thats coming out.. i dont see why we need fillers for any anime. Also to just drop an anime is not sumthin a true otaku does. Once you start your obligated to watch it till the end. Otherwise It will gnaw on you not knowing not seeing everything..

    On side note.. I NEED a second season to Knights and Magic.. Badly..

    1. I used to determinedly finish everything, but I eventually learned that some things just aren’t worth wasting my limited time on. We only get so much time on this pale blue dot, there’s no reason to spend it watching bad anime. Unless it’s the type of bad anime that’s also super fun!

      That said, I’ll probably finish watching this series even if I don’t blog it. Partially because I feel I owe it / y’all a finale post after I’ve come this far, and partially because I’m an author, and learning from (/dissecting) stories that don’t work is valuable to me. I just might need to shrink the time commitment to do that down to 30 minutes a week.

    2. Nothing wrong with waiting till the end and then binge when you have the time either, though. That’s what I do with the series that aren’t horrible but also aren’t as good as the first 3 episodes tricked me into thinking.

      In fact, really wish I’d done that with Ryou no Oshigoto after last week… *sigh*

      1. I know, right?! Though it’s more because I’m enjoying that one a lot, but hard to leave off on that kind of episode and have to wait. Though it makes the episode later on even better in retrospect, so I guess I’ll have to soldier through.

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