Record of Grancrest War
Episode 9

by Lauren Orsini,

How would you rate episode 9 of
Record of Grancrest War ?

"The Black Princess" is the story of two very different first kisses. This week's Record of Grancrest War sees plenty of romantic development, but not entirely the kind you were expecting. Getting the love confession I was waiting for right before some loveless sex gave me whiplash. The newly slowed pacing gave the episode's most striking events room to breathe and the result is a storyline that is certainly memorable if not a positive development.

Lord Villar says he isn't going to have a temper tantrum just because the Union didn't give him his way at the congress. But when even the thoughtful Siluca is suggesting that you move fast and break things, I'm inclined to listen. Lord Villar no doubt has a plan to keep Altirk in one piece, but neither Siluca nor Milza are able to follow his thinking. It's this one denial that spearheads all the events of the episode, sending Siluca and Milza on divergent new paths.

First, let's check in with Siluca and Theo as they tour Lord Villar's domain. They eat dubious berries and fight giant insects while some dreamy music plays, but when they must seek shelter from a rainstorm, with only each other's bodies for warmth, it's time for Theo to make his move. Over the past couple episodes, I've been adjusting to just how smooth Theo can be. When we first met him, he was more of an impulsive bumpkin who needed Siluca's cool head to refine his strategies. What flipped the switch? Because now, he's so darn charismatic that he manages to charm a confession out of Siluca first! She's as clumsy and unassuming in love as she is competent and capable in the war room, and this is exactly the kind of character development I came here for—weaknesses that make me care about characters as much as their strengths make me admire them.

Meanwhile, Marrine is ready to break a few UN treaties and embrace that sweet chemical warfare she's heard so much about. Screw gentlemen's agreements when your only goal is infamy. Poison gas certainly does the job, but Marrine's motives are not as “rational” as she claims. Later, as she sits on her throne with literal blood on her hands, she muses, “I wonder what Alexis would think if he hears about this battle.” It's clear that she's working as hard as she can to become somebody different from (and much worse than) the woman that Alexis fell in love with, so even if she still pines for him, he'll never take her back. (Or so she thinks. The show has yet to put an actual obstacle in the way of their love, which is frustrating.)

That's the only justification I can think of for Marrine's decision to give her virginity to Milza, a man she doesn't love. As Marrine's handmaidens weep, Milza says having sex with her doesn't guarantee loyalty on his part, either. Milza says it's simply something allies do before going to war together. (Yes, I'm sure he does this with every last soldier he leads on the battlefield.) Milza's simply in the right place at the right time in the path of a woman bent on self-destruction. Consenting adults can do what they want—but it's difficult to believe this is really what Marrine wants. Bad decisions abound, but I can't look away.

Rating: B+

Record of Grancrest War is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist.

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