Siluca and Theo attempt to join with the Fantasy Alliance. What sort of fate awaits them should they fail? Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions, please share it on Facebook or Twitter! It really helps. And if you’ve got any comments or questions, please hit me up @SageShinigami.
1. The pacing on this episode leaves a bit to be desired, as it feels as if we’re moving at lightning speed for the majority of it. However, it’s all in an effort to get things done–Grancrest moves quickly because it has so much story to tell. And there’s a lot to love here, as the episode starts out with Siluca learning an all-too-valuable lesson: people aren’t chess pieces.
Her request to join the Fantasy Alliance is summarily denied when her adoptive father (assistant to the queen) correctly points out that if they allowed Theo and Siluca to join, it could only have a deleterious effect on their empire. They stole land from the Alliance then sought to join it–rewarding that behavior would only allow many others to do the same, constantly attacking parts of the nation and then seeking to join themselves, after they had assumed all the land they could.
And so rather than being allowed to join, Theo is promptly told to forfeit all of the land he owns or risk being attacked by the Alliance’s Valdrind Order. Though not the most satisfying moment of the episode, this still might have been the best scene in it. This moment alone stops the series from feeling like a typical wish fulfillment anime where the main character’s genius intellect and incredible powers are always more than sufficient to save them from any sort of trouble or danger. Thus far Siluca’s plans have all been executed well within any planned margin of error, but the fun of a story is when things go terribly wrong.
2. Refusing to back down, Siluca’s next plan is attempting to attain reinforcements from Villar Constance, the Earl of Artuk and the lord to whom Siluca was originally meant to enter into contract with. Given she refused his contract after already accepting it, she finds herself denied a second time, and they wind up with no choice but to face off against the Alliance’s Valdrind Order.
But this battle doesn’t quite go like the two Theo and Siluca have had before. In previous episodes, Siluca’s planning and the superior quality of their forces made short work of the enemy. But there’s a difference between going against the forces of an earl and the forces of the Queen of the lands, and it shows. The same soldiers capable of taking down dozens of soldiers utterly unscathed now wind up either having to retreat or even being heavily damaged by what looks like nothing more than leveled-up grunts. Aishela just barely escapes with her life, and even that only because they happened to make friends with a powerful priestess last episode.
Some smart tactics win the day when Lassic successfully kills the king of Savis, but ultimately it only creates a short stay from the Queen’s army. Still, this time Siluca definitely has a plan that will work! They’ll hand over the lands, retreat to their original castle, and surely that will be more than enough to bring a permanent armistice about. Right?
3. Okay, this time Siluca’s dad just seems like a dick. Rather than negotiating and creating some mutually beneficial terms, Aubeste instead decides that the battle alone is worth Theo being killed. His reasoning is that with the king of Savis slain, all the warfare would essentially be blamed on the Alliance’s Valdrind Order. This…isn’t too far off from the truth, but again Siluca has miscalculated. Last time, she didn’t understand how her actions could affect people due to replication. This time, she fails to understand the concept of reputation and how most deals need to have both sides believe they came out on top. Still, this forces Siluca and Theo’s backs even further against the wall–before it was only Theo’s rank, now it’s his life that’s at stake! Can the group survive a second battle like the first?
4. Well, fortunately they don’t have to. Aubeste gets so caught up trying to teach his daughter a lesson about what its like to “play with the adults” that he winds up maneuvering himself into trouble. His allies become overconfident with the ease with which they can strike down Theo’s forces, so they incorrectly allot too many forces to the battle, only to wind up being attacked by the Earl of Artuk. The self-same Earl that Siluca initially refused to serve from the first episode, Queen Marrine is forced to confront in a head to head battle. By this point we aren’t shown much of the actual battle, but it’s enough to get the point across. The Queen and her army retreats, having to cede valuable territory to the Factory Union.
5. Finishing this episode, Theo’s handed over his rank and the lands of Savis over to Lassic in order to keep his contract with Siluca. That part’s understandable: at the rate we were moving, Theo and Siluca were about to conquer the entire continent by the end of episode 12. But fortunately, Grancrest’s writer is above the usual power fantasy tropes that infest light novel source material like this. In the real world, no single person is so smart or so powerful that they could steamroll everyone else with just a handful of troops. Creating real, lasting change is more difficult than that, but watching people do something even though it’s hard is part of what makes the story compelling.
I’ve seen complaints that we ended this episode the same way we started the first, but that’s not true either: Lassic followed Theo because he believed that in doing so, he would one day be awarded lands of his own. And he was! It didn’t happen the way we expected, but by the end of his part in the story thus far, he’s become king of far bigger lands than he could’ve ever attained on his own.
My only real problem with this arc is that the Earl turns out to be a decent person. The “lustful Earl” that Siluca refused to enter into contract with has had valid reasons for his actions all along. He only entered into contracts with female mages because he was aware of how people tended to view witches, while his people and their lands were respectful of these women and their ancient traditions. At the same time, he dissolves those same contracts in order for those women to go on to get married and have children if they so chose. By all accounts, he’s a decent dude…which is a good “never judge a book by its cover” lesson until you realize that Siluca probably only did all of this because she was so reluctant to sign a contract with someone who wound up being a great guy anyway.
Ah well. The table’s been cleared, and now both Theo and Siluca will have to climb their way back up from the very bottom. It’s a good thing we’ve got another twenty episodes to go!