Record of Grancrest War Episode 10
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 10 of
Record of Grancrest War ?
Around the time Milza was sailing to Altirk, I remember thinking, “This has been a long confusing episode, and I don't remember any of the new characters' names, but at least it's almost over.” Then a battle began and I checked the time stamp: just over 10 minutes. A slough of new names, some of which lost their relevance before the episode was over, coupled with a dozen conflicts in fast-forward mode made Record of Grancrest War feel twice as long this week.
“Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more.” I can't help but think of this quote from Macbeth when it comes to Solon the Theater King, who was both introduced and unceremoniously killed off this episode. Solon's flamboyant demeanor and violent death made him the most memorable new character of episode ten, but that still isn't saying much. There's the voluptuous ocean queen, some new werewolves, Villar's little brother and his laid-back mage—am I forgetting anyone? Amidst all these people, there's also an expansive established cast including Lord Villar along with Margaret, Colleen and all of his other mages, Theo and Siluca and a small army, and a handful of soldiers who have speaking parts but no names. Perhaps it's a blessing in disguise that this series' death count is so high—we're not going to miss an odd name here or there.
Marrine and Villar monitor each other's actions like they're playing an elaborate game of chess. (It's not even a metaphor, as Villar uses chess pieces to mark positions on a map.) It's one battle after another with no breathing room, the fatal flaw of Record of Grancrest War. When this show allows its characters time to process the chaotic world they live in, the conflicts are given weight and meaning. But when it zooms forward at 100 mph, as is far more often the case, these action sequences all blur together into one meaningless sludge. I feel less like I'm watching an epic tale and more like I'm in a history class trying to memorize the boring names of various battles. There are so many aspects of “Blade of Betrayal” that could be fascinating on their own. For example, the mirror that Colleen used to snipe ships from afar or the way Milza kept his deal with Marrine even though it meant killing his own father. We're simply told offhand about what must have been a painful, character-shaping moment for Milza.
Record of Grancrest War has a fascinating story to tell, but it keeps trying to make me drink it from a firehose. It's not only that the pace keeps me from committing any one thing to memory; it also removes any of my drive to do so. There's no way that everything in this episode was equally vital to the plot, so why was it all shoved in like sardines? The speed is even more upsetting after a few slower episodes that gave me false hope that this problem was over. It's a disappointing turn for a show that I thought was looking up.
Record of Grancrest War is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist.
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