Record of Grancrest War
by Lauren Orsini,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Record of Grancrest War ?
I think it's safe to say I've gone from tentatively observing to actually enjoying Record of Grancrest War. Its major crime to date has been moving far too quickly, and this episode was finally the perfect pace. The stage is set and all the players have been introduced; rather than add any new superficial elements, “March” took its time exploring and deepening what's already been established. This episode spans just two distinct but momentous evenings from several angles, giving these characters the relationship development I've been craving.
Lord Villar only employs female mages under the age of 25. So when his most trusted mage, Margaret, reaches that age, it's time to send her off with a party. It's the perfect environment to demonstrate two different romances-in-progress. First there's Villar and Margaret, who are plainly meant to be, but they won't stay together for reasons that aren't yet clear. Two episodes ago, Margaret told Siluca that Villar lets mages go at 25 so they aren't too old to start a family. But in this episode, he references Margaret's station as a priestess of the Sacred Flame as the reason he can't hold on to her any longer, even if it's what she wants. Villar may be Artuk's resident Woman Respecter, but today's developments keep him from turning into a punchline. Because of his own childhood, in which his mother cast him away in an act of love, he perceives his treatment of Margaret as a kindness—something she plainly calls out. “Or is it you just refuse to get seriously involved?” she retorts to Villar's lofty speech. (Since they're parting for reasons of his own making, I imagine they will reunite by the end of the show.)
Then there's the dance, which I thought was fairly well-animated. There's a lot of detail in the close-up shots of Margaret that highlight the way her winding jewelry follows her movement. Since Record of Grancrest is adapting a light novel, the choreography of this dance is one of the first things the animators likely had to interpret for themselves completely, and their take on it with Villar and Margaret each leading the dance in turn, eyes locked only on one another, suggests volumes about their lord/mage relationship as well as their romantic one.
Less can be said about Siluca and Theo, whose relationship doesn't yet feel meant to be. Siluca is well fleshed-out as a character by now, so it's easy to see why she's falling for an earnest guy like Theo. Theo, on the other hand, is noble and good and not much else yet. I was surprised by his witty retort to getting called a buffoon by Milza—I thought Siluca was the more quick-witted of the pair. Later, he merely defends against Milza's sparring attacks, because it's the noble thing to do. Generally, Theo has too few flaws to be truly resonant as a character. Milza's complaints, directly to Theo's face, might as well be the complaints of the audience. It's all setting up for Theo to become something beyond a generally good guy.
Milza is exactly the person to make this request of Theo, considering that Milza has his own principles completely figured out. He's an anti-hero—he fights like a villain worth rooting for only because he's teamed up with the good guys. He's a dangerous character but an interesting one with very clear motives, not to mention the fighting prowess that's shown dynamically in his one-man castle siege. Milza embodies everything he encourages Theo to be. I can only hope that when Theo meets Rossini, the lord who rules over Theo's homeland, it will finally light that fire.
Record of Grancrest War is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist.
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