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Record of Grancrest War Episode #02 Anime Review

4 min read
Record of Grancrest War Episode #02

Why are we in such a hurry to take over the world?

What They Say:
Episode #2: “Ambition”
With Theo now in control of his own territory, Siluca starts putting plans into motion, as well as calling on old allies. Meanwhile, in the neighboring region of Savis, an ambitious Lord plots to overtake the fledgling kingdom

The Review
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)

Theo is a bit lost on how quickly he suddenly found himself in charge of a territory with three villages under his command. All he wanted was to become powerful enough to protect his island village from chaos demons. He is very out of his element and asks Siluca exactly what she wants out of him and what her goal is. She remains tight-lipped on the matter and Theo is left being a tool for the mage and her ambitions.

And how frustrating that is. What’s the rush? Can we not have a few moments of quiet to learn more about these characters? Especially since we’re getting introductions to a group which appears as allies in the opening, but start off as adversaries. Lassic David is the neighboring lord, who decides to swoop in and claim Theo’s territory as his own. Working with him is the mage Moreno, who falls straight into the haughty magic user mold. He knows of Siluca and supports this attack, confident he can best her in combat.

The action steps up quite a bit from the first episode as we get to our first real battle. It’s still on a small scale, each lord only has about 50 soldiers under their command. Siluca, her right-hand man Irvin, and newcomer Aishela square off against the forces of the neighboring lord who wants to swoop in on the new ruler next door in an all-or-nothing gamble. Aishela is by far the most interesting part of this episode, even more interesting than Siluca’s fey cat sí familiar. She arrives after Siluca uses her familiar to summon her, a wild woman who uses a pole-arm and appears to have a vicious streak a mile long. Watching her fight is a joy tempered by the fact that she is also unnervingly sadistic. (She is also wearing chainmail bikini, because… fantasy RPG.)

The animation during the battle is strong and far more engaging than it was in the brief amount of combat we saw in episode one. The armed attacks look great, the magic attacks are highly practical and not that showy. To save on the expenditure there are some clever cuts that you only notice if you’re looking for them. For now, I can leave the action direction out of my criticisms. Although I do have complaints about the opening and ending animations and songs, which are serviceable at best and ultimately nothing interesting.

So far the flow of this show is strangely shonen in nature, and it feels incredibly checklist. Fantasy should never feel this mundane. The pacing of this show is abysmal. Things happen so quickly that it appears that everything is just falling into Theo’s lap and nothing he has done has shown that he is in any way capable of filling the shoes that Siluca has placed him in. His heart is in the right place, but that’s about it. Character motivations are null as presented. Irvin’s motivations for joining Siluca were so nebulous that I had to go look up why he was with her from an external source. Key driving factors are not being explained whatsoever, and what’s left is an outline of a conflict. We might as well be reading the playbook of a war, this front attacked that front under these leaders. It’s as dry as that.

In Summary:
Theo’s nation grows as enemies bare down on his gates, but he remains less a force of action and merely a symbol for a movement he seems to have little invested in. Why is it so difficult to get the pacing right for these adaptations? You can always tell when something feels rushed because something feels off about the presentation, no matter how good it looks. For this series, we’re missing quiet character moments, cast aside in favor of politics and quick yet engaging actions scenes. For some that action will be enough to carry the show, but I want more meat on these bones. Right now these characters are not much more than sketches. With a quickly growing cast, I worry that the rest will remain templates without substance.

Episode Grade: B –

Streamed by: Crunchyroll & Hulu

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