Record of Grancrest War
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 23 of
Record of Grancrest War ?
With the right art, animation, and most importantly pacing, this penultimate episode of Record of Grancrest War might have felt like an epic on the level of Lord of the Rings. It's episodes like “Castle Walls” where the content peeks through and suggests that the novels must be pretty promising for A-1 Pictures to have even attempted the punishing task of turning all this into a 24-episode show. Still, that's little comfort to anyone watching this episode's cut-rate version of Attack on Titan.
Theo and his Imperial Army are finally at the gates of Eramu, but the Mage Academy isn't going to let them have this castle town so easily. It's time to release the cyclops! Now it's up to Lassic and literally three friends to take the whole thing down themselves. It looks a lot like Attack on Titan, complete with the cyclops attempting to eat Lassic's pal. But without 3D maneuver gear, we just need to suspend our disbelief that Lassic can really jump and fall from that high up just because he's a bro. It's reasonably assumed that this fight's climax is the work of Nakaya Onsen, who is a contractor to A-1 Pictures and tweeted about his previous work on Grancrest. (I wrote about his animation of the fight between Siluca and Yana in episode 14.) Onsen presents this fight with a dynamic moving camera that emphasizes Lassic's momentum. However, looking at both clips side by side, it's clear his sequences on this show have been getting simpler over time, blend in even less than usual with the standard Grancrest War art style.
After that it's a hodgepodge of filler, setting the scene for the final episode. Remember Petyr, the youthful knight who Aishela couldn't keep her hands off at an earlier banquet? Apparently he became a king somewhere slightly offscreen and has his own army to lead in this siege. There's also Lady Eudokia, who remembers a former lover's guidance about war tactics (good thing she remembers him, because I sure don't). Everything is going smoothly until Theo, Siluca, and a few others get whisked away to the Forest of Eternal Darkness—no doubt the work of a vampire. That means the final episode will have a lot of material to cover. We need to fight this vampire boss, figure out who the real threat is ("Pandora", an entity just introduced this episode, unless I missed something), do something with the Holy Grail, form the Grancrest, and maybe get some kind of epilogue too. Suddenly, I don't think this episode's indulgent focus on a single cyclops battle was so wise.
This November, Viz will be publishing a manga adaptation of Record of Grancrest War. If I still remember this halfhearted anime a few months from now, I'll need to make a point to check it out. The art, animation, and pacing were all lacking this week, but perhaps this was never the right format to fully enjoy this material.
Record of Grancrest War is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist.
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