Surrounded by Theo and his forces as well as the people of Altkirk, Mirza rides out of Castle Unicorn in a last-ditch effort to preserve his station. But will it be enough? 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. I try to keep my composure in these recaps, so you’ll have to excuse me for a second. *ahem*
YES! YESSSSSS!! YOU SPENT THIS WHOLE SERIES MURDERING YOUR WAY THROUGH EVERY SITUATION THAT DIDN’T GO YOUR WAY, NOW YOU FINALLY REAP THE CONSEQUENCES. GET. REKT.
Sorry about that. I’ve just been wanting to see Mirza catch these hands for a very long time, and “Two Heroes” finally accomplished that for me. Surrounded by Theo’s force of 50,000 citizens and Lassic’s 30,000 soldier army, Mirza just decides to say screw it and ride out into battle. There’s no help coming from the Nords since they went home to quell a slave revolt, and Marrine’s dealing with wars on multiple fronts and thus can only spare a mere 3,000 soldiers to help. So rather than risk the Queen’s life he decides to ride out with his own people, come what may. This episode is one of Grancrest’s best in a long time, and my only complaint is how they go out of their way to make Mirza seem like he was this decent dude and the battle between him and Theo is just a difference of opinions.
To be sure, there’s a lot of that in this argument that I’ve been discussing: how Theo has gradually established himself over 17 episodes as the guy the citizens of the country are willing to fight for. It’s been the subtext since his battle with Lassic in the third episode or so, and this episode finally makes that subtext into text, as royals in the Alliance and the Union realize that Theo is the ruler the people have chose.
…But at the same time, only one of these guys is a murderous traitor who committed patricide. A lot of the discussion on forums and the like is how “both sides are the same”, and this episode briefly pretends that’s true…even though it’s blatantly not if you’ve been paying attention. Theo and the Union aren’t afraid to take lives if they have to, and they aren’t afraid to recruit innocent citizens into their war…but it’s never by force. The people want to have the right to choose their leader. Meanwhile, the Queen abused the Chaos magic of the land to torture a force so it was easier to kill them, and Mirza here slit his own father’s throat (and all his attendants) in order to gain control over Dartania. There’s exactly one “hero” in a modern sense, so even though the title is referring to hero in a classic lit sense, it still feels like a frustrating misuse of the term.
Sidenote: Mirza’s mage Telius really seems like a ride or die for some reason, and it’s hard to understand why. The only thing Mirza’s done is threaten your life while you offer sensible advice. You’re not even his contracted mage, fam–go home.
2. I suspect this would be more of a plot point if we weren’t in fast forward in an attempt to reach the end of the light novels. Mirza decides he simply won’t deal with most of the forces–charging past them and slaying just enough to get past each individual force on his way to Theo. His assumption is, if he can kill the man who gathered all the “peasants”, he can rid them of their morale and essentially clean up.
It’s a logical enough plan, causing him to sprint past the bulk of the infantry forces. But he does run into one threat in the middle of the way: Baron Jorgo, the son of the Theatre King. The Theater King was the boisterous fellow who loved writing poems about battle and had an army of spartan warriors from episode 10. Much like his father, Baron Jorgo doesn’t get much development. To get to Theo, Mirza has to plow through Baron Jorgo and his men, and well…that’s what happens. Mirza has at least five thousand troops to Jorgo’s one thousand–they get wrecked in the time it takes to come back from a commercial break. At least Jorgo (and a third of his troops) survive, I guess–and he gets to write an epic about the time he got his butt kicked by someone who died a few hours later.
3. It doesn’t take long before Mirza finally cuts through all the forces and arrives at his goal: Theo Cornaro’s army. To his army’s credit, Theo’s entire J-RPG ass party tries to take out Mirza first: Aishela, the werewolf twins, Irvin, even Siluca has a few spells prepared. Someone online said it was like taking down the big boss from Suikoden 2, Luca Blight, where you split your gigantic army up into three separate forces and all attack him at different times. This assessment wasn’t off: every major character gives it their best shot one right after the other. It’s so well-planned out and choreographed it almost takes away from the inevitable duel between Theo and Mirza. After all, there’s no real purpose to it: in a prolonged match against all of these warriors he would absolutely have been killed with ease.
….But, this show is all about a bunch of Very Noble People, so it all has to come down to the Duel Between Men.
4. There’s little in the way of tricks in this match. Theo wins because of a combination of multiple factors: Mirza’s forces are exhausted after charging through several thousand men, Mirza himself is worn out because he’s the leader and already faced Theo’s aces, and finally…Mirza’s crest is overextended because his people never believed in him, meaning he’s nowhere near as powerful as he should be. Ultimately, Theo wins for the same reason he won against the elder Rossini brother: he tires Mirza out and wins a one on one war of attrition.
The battle isn’t nearly as epic as it could be, but it gets the point across. Theo did all the work he needed to defeat Mirza in all the episodes leading up to “Two Heroes”, and this is just going through the motions to end it. He’s got a superior army because he’s got the people on his side, he’s got more allies because the Alliance’s way of forcing support has spread them thin, and he’s taken advantage of Mirza’s arrogance and refusal to respect Theo’s abilities. Before the battle can even end, his troops have surrendered because they’re outnumbered and aren’t willing to die for Mirza’s cause.
What I really love though is how “old school” Theo is. He’s frequently sought to make peace when he can, and even here, he asks Mirza if he’s willing to surrender while knowing it’s a lost cause. …But once that’s attempted and failed, he’s always willing to finish the job rather than force someone else to do it or risk getting someone killed protecting him because he isn’t willing to shoulder those deaths. In that way, he’s much more noble than many characters forced into situations exactly like this but refuse to get their hands dirty.
5. It really has to suck to be in Marrine’s…weirdly armored royal dress, right now. Like, picture this: You finally get fed up with a cold war that’s been going on for several months and start trying to recruit people into your Alliance. Only, people don’t want to join you because they value their independence. So you say “nuts to that” and declare chemical warfare of the kind banned by both sides in the war and conquer the nearest land you can. Immediately after that, you abandon any hope of ever reconciling with your One True Love on the other side of the conflict, and bang a murder-happy dude who promises to be your ally in the unnecessary war you’re about to declare no one actually wants to be in.
After that, you declare war on your cousin, successfully forcing him to fight so hard he literally dies from exhaustion…but not before watching his beloved turn to ash trying to defend him. So now you’ve gained a reputation as a power-mad royal who’ll commit war crimes just to expand her territory, and teamed up with an empire that runs off such a large portion of slave labor. Despite this many poor life choices, everything seems surprisingly fine!
…And then it all comes crashing down, as the murder-happy guy you allied yourself with gets murked by someone you’ve failed to put down numerous times already, and the slave empire you teamed up with has to abandon helping either of you in order to try to quell a rebellion. You’ve thrown away everything that matters, and there’s still seven episodes to go! Good luck wresting control of the continent away from a dude who can successfully gather up thousands of citizens willing to fight and die for him at the drop of a hat!
Record of Grancrest War is available for streaming on Crunchyroll and Hulu.