Theo and Siluca have finally journeyed to Theo’s homeland, Sistina. Will they be able to take control away from the Rossinis? And do the people even want to rise up? 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. As Theo sails back to his homeland with the intention of wresting control from the Rossinis, the series enters a new stage. With it comes the return of several characters we haven’t seen in a while: the werewolf maid twins, Irvin, Priscilla the priest, and Aishela! I’d missed all of these characters and they could use a bit of a focus, but I suspect we won’t see very much story centered around them because this series only has a few episodes left. Still, between his mage, priestess, two warriors and two berserkers at least he’s got a full RPG party!
The group lands entirely without any military might at all, and Siluca presents yet another dangerous plan that’s going to require Theo to land a high roll: she asks Theo to head into a city under Rossini control, letting everyone in the area realize he’s around. The idea is while the Rossinis try to get word out for soldiers to capture him, it’ll also spread word to everyone else. There’s probably easier ways to accomplish this same task, but probably not without a significantly larger network than what’s available for them.
2. We’ve heard since the beginning just how bad things were in Sistina, and now we finally get to see it with our own eyes, and it’s mess. The Rossinis are so terrified of losing control they’ve willingly allowed chaos to spread in order to keep settlements from banding together. They’ve also been harboring the Black Witch, Jana, since she escaped from the Forest of Eternal Darkness. Jana’s goal is literally to keep Chaos going in the world, as Chaos feeds her powers and peace might possibly lead to her becoming human again.
Honestly, with what we see in this episode, the Rossini rule is under borrowed time regardless. Marrine is basically in a position of power and most likely to win the war if nothing changes, and her goal is to banish Chaos from the continent. With that in mind, there’s no way she’d allow the Rossini to continue doing whatever they want. Even Priscilla points out that the Rossini’s tactics of letting Chaos grow to keep the populace down is something that isn’t allowed amongst other Lords. And even if she would, she would kill off the Rossini family for their attempt on Alexis’ life regardless. So in reality Theo’s land is going to be “freed” from Rossini rule whether he succeeds or not.
3. Not that it’s going to be easy for Theo to liberate these lands to begin with. Right after entering town, Theo runs into a member of the Rossini clan, Salvador, while he’s having dinner with the Black Witch. Their confrontation doesn’t last long, but it quickly establishes Theo’s biggest challenges. To start, Salvador’s family crest allows him to turn anyone he wants into mindless, berserker servants in thrall to his commands. After doing this to a restaurant full of people Theo’s forced to escape the city just minutes after entering.
Worse, the Rossini have set up a very powerful foothold through fear and the promise of power. Despite heavy taxes to the point that every town is incredibly poor, they all continue to serve the Rossini in the hopes of being brought into their circle and granted the right to pillage other towns. Plus, their reputation for severely punishing people for going against their will leave most so afraid they attack Theo before he can even enter their village to talk to them.
4. After failing in two settlements, Siluca finally suggests they should try to visit Theo’s home town, and we finally get the origin to Theo’s journey. Turns out, Theo’s father was as much of a kind sort as his son, and would hide food from Rossini’s guards, feeding the people with what he kept hidden in an underground storehouse. But in an attempt to please the Rossini, a member of the town snitched, causing them to ask for Theo’s father to be turned over.
Unsurprisingly, the rest of the town agreed and surrendered his dad to the Rossini. Ironically, despite obeying this command the city only wound up suffering even heavier taxes, which means if Theo can ever convince even a few areas to believe in him, convincing the rest will be simple. The Rossini are so abusive they inspire zero loyalty, only fear, and fear can only last so long in the face of hope.
The unfortunate thing about Grancrest is the main character doesn’t seem to get nearly enough respect. Several times throughout the series he’s proven himself wise enough to understand the hearts of his people, noble enough to defend both people he knows and people he doesn’t, and strong enough to eke out victories in several key fights. But everyone writes him off because he’s reserved and not as obviously entertaining as someone like Siluca, and that’s a shame.
In any case, despite being reluctant to return to his home, Theo eventually forgives them for what they’ve done, though he can’t quite convince them to get on his side. At least, not at first.
5. Upon returning to his village, Theo is confronted by an old friend of his–Rebecca. After failing to convince the town to help him, Rebecca gives him the idea to visit his father’s grave. Of course it’s a trap and Salvador Rossini and the rest of his army are waiting on him…but Theo’s sincerity and kindness actually convince Rebecca to rush back and talk the town into supporting him.
The resulting battle is short and not as bloody as we’re used to, but by the end Theo’s managed to bring down Salvador…though not before Salvador gets a chance to kill Rebecca for attempting to stop him from escaping. It’s a heavy loss that’s going to weigh on our hero, but he’s already on the road to saving his home from those who have been abusing it for far too long.
This episode reminds me that this might be one of the rare times a series could’ve been twice as long and twice as good–they slowed things enough to give the story some time to breathe, but I can guarantee that next week will see Theo having taken half of Sistina back already. Things aren’t given enough time to properly develop when moving at this pace, and while it’s not nearly as bad as say…Hakuu Houshin Engi, it’s still given Grancrest a reputation that’s hard to get away from.
Record of Grancrest War is available for streaming on Crunchyroll and Hulu.