Record of Grancrest War
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 22 of
Record of Grancrest War ?
With a title like “The Holy Grail,” it was clear that Priscilla's arc was coming to a climax. But when the chips have fallen, there's still the pesky matter of just who Priscilla is as a character. With so much happening in Record of Grancrest War, this has been the first episode to have Priscilla as its focus. It never prioritized screen time to allow us to get to know her. Even as her position in the plot was delivered with stark finality, she never did develop a personality.
Up until now, Priscilla has served as an extremely convenient background character. She appears, heals a life-threatening injury, asks people to join her cult, and leaves. But there were a few points of interest that I thought might get explored in more detail. On any more developed character, her wild eyes would indicate malice, or madness, or at least hint that she's being possessed, but in Grancrest War that seems to just be what Priscilla looks like. There's also that crest of hers, which Siluca first pointed out in episode 3—it looks just like a chalice. Priscilla's crest must be special indeed, because everyone who sees it comments on it. In fact, we're told this crest can summon a god! That sounds important, but why hasn't “summon a god” ever been on Theo's list of priorities for creating the Grancrest?
Even after 22 episodes in this show's universe, there's a lot I still don't get about crests. Does everyone have at least a tiny one? How are they different from Art? The Lords wear their crests on their fists—can other people summon their crests in other ways? How do you get one? Can you spoof the shape or color of your crest, like the Pope seems to think? It takes very little persuasion to talk the Pope into killing Priscilla in order to disseminate her crest into chaos. Siluca, an intellectual, is frustrated by the futility of this development, because she points out that every crest dissolves into chaos after its owner's death—whether they were a good person in life or a bad one. She believes this isn't common knowledge among the worshippers, and that people will believe Priscilla was a fake because her crest will do what every crest does. Then, when the crest does not disseminate, that's somehow proof that Priscilla really was a holy maiden. Huh. Villar's crest disseminated; does that mean he wasn't a real Lord?
I'm not a religious person, but I still believe blaming everything bad in a story on its religious order is an extremely tired trope. In Grancrest War, everyone from the Pope to his worshippers are written off as ignorant dupes who can't think for themselves. Priscilla gets the worst role a religious official can get—that of a martyr. It's unfortunate that while she was always conveniently there to save everyone else's life, nobody is there to save hers. In fact, it is suggested Priscilla's crest was useless while she was alive to wield it, and that only Theo's stewardship can bring out its true power. From start to finish, Priscilla got a bum deal in Record of Grancrest War. She was only there as a plot device. I never got to know her well enough to have any sort of feeling, good or bad, when she was unceremoniously slaughtered.
Record of Grancrest War is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist.
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