Record of Grancrest War Episode 14
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 14 of
Record of Grancrest War ?
I had a lot of complaints about Record of Grancrest War last week, and this episode is the show's way of telling me, “you should have been a little more patient.” Given the show's fast pace, it took an episode for the nuances of storytelling and character development to catch up to the plot. My previous concerns about missing pieces have all been put into place. Paired with stunning and unexpected animation from up-and-comer Nakaya Onsen, this episode is a treat.
I didn't remark much on the new intro last week. It's just a revolving series of clips from the show overlaid with a flickering shadow effect and turned into a music video. It's a good way to remember who's still important and alive, but it's also a reminder of just how quickly this show continues to race forward. Theo's life so far could fill at least one Game of Thrones-style volume, and it's not even close to its conclusion. At least this episode is predictable. With a title like “The Liberator of Sistina,” it's clear that Theo is about to accomplish his task only two episodes after Lassic's mage, Moreno, told him it was going to be impossible.
Last week, I hated that Theo was cartoonishly good while the Rossinis were caricatures of evil. That flimsy structure dissolved completely this time. We saw Phederico Rossini as a cunning dictator, but also a loving father who is desperate not to lose another of his sons. We saw Theo Cornaro not only as a hero, but as an increasingly bloodthirsty killer who did not even give Thorni the chance to surrender after losing his sword. Siluca's shocked face matched mine when Theo went to “negotiate” with Juzel Rossini by first demanding his life. Where has my innocent cookie-cutter country bumpkin protagonist gone? In the end, Theo went along with the least violent resolution—basically what Juzel suggested, after twisting it to his own logic. Theo has become his own advocate, and Siluca has fallen to the wayside as he becomes increasingly capable of conquering countries all on his own.
Still, Theo's allies each got a chance to shine this episode. Irvin's assassin vs. assassin battle was brief with a potentially chaotic ending, but the show didn't leave us hanging long before sending out a dead-eyed Priscilla (perhaps she's sick of not getting any screen time?) to heal Irvin before fading into the ether again. The show also picked up the thread of Yana vs. the wolf twins, something I pointed out last week as surprisingly absent considering how much beef they have with each other. The wolves smartly ignored Yana's literal summoning of Satan in order to target the witch herself. When it wasn't enough, the show underwent an art style change for a Siluca vs. Yana face-off. You can credit the art and animation here to Nakaya Onsen, a digital animator who's been praised for his work in Fate/Apocrypha. It's a bit jarring to see Siluca and Yana abruptly drawn in a different style, but their brief battle is truly beautiful, with attacks inspired by comets and shooting stars.
In two short episodes, Theo got the job done with no main ally casualties. Everything happens so easily for him that it's hard to root for him as the underdog any longer. This episode sidestepped dull blanket portrayals of character types to instead show how its characters are developing in complicated ways, and not always for the better.
Record of Grancrest War is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist.
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