Record of Grancrest War
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 5 of
Record of Grancrest War ?
If it were any other show, I'd say that this episode went by too quickly, but for Record of Grancrest War this was practically a lull. I counted at least nine new character introductions, and divining their various motives managed to deter the show's breakneck pace. The episode's title, “Forest of Eternal Darkness,” made me suspect an adventuring arc in the making, but Theo and Siluca's forest encounter could hardly be called a quest. Instead, it provided the necessary exposition of Artuk's political situation by showing instead of telling, which I'm grateful for.
When I first turned on the episode and didn't recognize any of the characters, I had to check that I was watching the right show. Little to nothing has been said about the existence of vampires, witches, and werewolves in this society, and we're suddenly face to face with all three. I was especially happy to hear about the existence of black and white witches, which feels like a clear callback to the powerful Grey Witch from Record of Lodoss War. Out of the new characters, the vampire lord isn't much of a threat right now, but the werewolf clan leader Clara and the black witch Yana are not only formidable entities, but immediate threats to one another's lives.
Meanwhile, I was totally wrong about Theo's demotion to knight freeing him up to go on an adventure with the mage, assassin, and healer he's managed to acquire thus far. Lord Villar isn't a tough manager, but he does expect Theo to be around to attend meals and the like. A dinner with the rough and shadowy Lord Milza provides a wider view of Theo's political world, not to mention Villar's position and ambitions. It's here we learn that many lords are vying to become the nation's emperor and earn the Emperor's Crest. Meanwhile, the darker forces of vampires and black witches whom we've just begun to meet are totally opposed to reviving this crest, preferring instead to bring back the chaos of old. The chaos is still a nebulous concept to me, indicated by swirling black clouds. All the show is telling me for sure is that it is Bad.
But life serving Lord Villar isn't all banquets and meeting new staff members whose names I will never remember and will probably never need to. There are also excursions to the vampire lord's gorgeous but intimidating castle to sort through witch/werewolf disputes. This is the first time we've ever seen Theo and Siluca fighting side by side, and this episode's slighter slower pace really makes room for the action. It's great to see how Theo and Siluca's fighting styles complement each other. On the other hand, it's disappointing to see Clara both introduced and killed off in a single episode. The werewolf clan will no doubt prove to be an enduring ally just like the unseen Sir Lassic, but it sucks to get involved in the life of somebody who isn't even going to survive for twenty minutes.
Record of Grancrest War had a lot of exposition to share in a short amount of time, and I appreciate the way it was so carefully intermixed with the action. Despite some abrupt introductions and curtain calls for certain characters, I'm optimistic that the show is finally finding its stride.
Record of Grancrest War is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist.
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