Record of Grancrest War
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 11 of
Record of Grancrest War ?
The name of this episode is “The Fall of Castle Unicorn.” Hey, isn't that where Lord Villar lives? Yup, this episode is one giant death flag, so don't be surprised at all the carnage. I applaud Record of Grancrest War for limiting this episode to one momentous siege. Dynamic camera work follows every aspect of castle carnage, by land or by sea, but it's difficult to mourn even the biggest names when each tragedy is signaled so obviously. Additionally, Theo and Siluca are nowhere to be seen this episode, and the show suffers from their absence.
From the start, I've had a hard time seeing Lord Villar as a good guy. We were basically introduced to Siluca trying to get out of her contract with the “Lustful Earl,” who has mommy issues and skeezy rules about his exclusively youthful and singularly female entourage of mages. His clever tongue at the summit was supposed to endear me to him more, but just like Siluca predicted, it was Villar's own (lack of) machinations that led to his undoing. Villar was most effective in death because it indicated the senselessness of Marrine's violence. Now she's killed her own cousin, a man who wished for her happiness with his dying words, in a misguided quest for power. It's obvious to everyone that Marrine simply needs to marry Alexis, but her nonsensical maneuvers have been in pursuit of every other option instead. As the story continues, it makes less and less sense for these two to not get married. I hate stories where everything could be fixed if the two opposing forces simply sat down in a room together to work things out—and this is a perfect example.
Lord Villar did get a silver lining to his untimely end, in the form of his requited feelings for Margaret. These two were clearly meant to be, but pride runs in the family. Just like Marrine refuses to admit her feelings for Alexis, Lord Villar kept Margaret at arm's length until it was almost too late. His fear of losing the one he loved was self-fulfilling. These two went out in a literal blaze of glory (she's not called Hellfire Margaret for nothing), but even two main characters are a drop in the bucket against hundreds of extras. Depending on how good you are at keeping track of Record of Grancrest War's massive cast, you're either mildly saddened by this loss or outright relieved to have two fewer names to remember.
I felt the same way about Lady Edokia and her seaside palace. I didn't mourn the individual losses of her harem members, but the waste of life as a whole. Lady Edokia, a polyamorous queen who isn't shamed for having children with multiple men, would be an interesting character to explore in any other show, but she's only a tragic footnote in this one. I feel the same way about Ururika, the Viking girl wielding a giant axe—she seems really cool, so she's probably going to die without character development or fanfare, not unlike the head mage Laura Hardly.
Record of Grancrest War always looks good and it's never boring, but I was pretty happy to see that next week's episode is a recap. Normally I skip recap episodes, but with so much going on in this show, I genuinely need the refresher. Maybe that will remove the fatigue that keeps me from fully appreciating these characters, no matter how brief their lifespans.
Record of Grancrest War is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist.
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