Record of Grancrest War
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 18 of
Record of Grancrest War ?
This episode of Record of Grancrest War was little more than a series of people standing around (or sometimes sitting) and talking about politics, but it still managed to reuse previous animation. This episode tested my patience as Theo and company hint about the battles they haven't yet begun to fight without actually doing much. Even though this episode goes through as many disparate scenes as any other on this roller coaster ride, it's all just talk.
Who is the “Leader” of the episode title? It might be Lord Villar Constance, whose empty chair remains an icon of reverence to the Altirk Treaty lords. It definitely refers to Theo, who gets his position as the leader of the treaty at long last—as well as head of the Constance family—and finally acknowledged as worthy of Lassic's crest. All those shadowy objectors from before might have turned their noses up at Theo Cornaro, but nobody's going to object to anything the Earl of Sistina, Leader of the Altirk Treaty wants to do. And if Theo wants to party, everyone's doubly on board! Cue the least animated party I've ever seen. We've seen this animation of Lassic swinging an arm over Theo's shoulder before—I even used it as the image for episode 15's review. It's flipped horizontally, but still the same gesture. I saw similar reuse of animation in this episode's talking scenes, which seems to be the show's way of telling you to focus on the dialogue instead.
After the party, a cute scene with Siluca illustrates how Theo's success has changed their roles. Siluca assures him he's still the same old Theo, but that's not entirely true. Previously it was Siluca who engineered all of Theo's moves behind the scenes and served as his silver tongue, smoothing out diplomatic difficulties in his stead. Now Theo's the smooth talker, and we see it especially behind closed doors. Despite my objections to Siluca's diminishing role, I still think it's adorable to see her suddenly act shy in romantic encounters. When Theo asserts that people who love each other should be together, she urges him to “be more specific” until she finally gets a confession, asking her to be his queen. Considering Theo is about to go into a major battle, this would be a death flag in any other series. (I mean, did you see that candle flicker, symbolizing the brevity of life?) But in the spiritual successor to Record of Lodoss War, I suspect these lovers are destined for a happy ending. I mean, they better be.
Speaking of spirituality, remember Priscilla? I didn't really, but now we're trotting her out as a heavy-handed plot device. When Theo asks her if she's the “Holy Grail,” her response is demure and deflective: “I was born with a [grail-shaped] crest in my possession.” But let's not jump to conclusions or anything, she seems to say. This is unintentionally hilarious to me. Once again it's an indication of Siluca's diminishing role as a strategist; while she scoffs at religion in general, Theo thinks Priscilla is the key to ending the Chaos. What if we just dump all our crests into Priscilla's Holy Grail? Well Theo, that smacks of just enough RPG-logic to work.
There's still one more contender for the “Leader” of this episode: Lord Alexis. Siluca encourages Theo to visit Alexis's home of Jalucia, because I guess you guys are friends and you could cheer him up?It turns out that Theo's constant paralleling of himself and Siluca, Alexis and Marrine, works out well because he can completely empathize with how these star-crossed lovers might be feeling. It's enough to get Alexis to toughen up for once in his dandy life and bring a charge straight into Alliance territory, but we'll have to wait until next week to see how that turns out. Even though a million things happen in Record of Grancrest War, there's still never enough time for the stuff that I actually want to see happen.
Record of Grancrest War is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist.
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