5 Point Discussions: Record of Grancrest War 10: “Blade Of Betrayal”

by Sage Ashford

The battle between Marrine and her cousin Villar begins in earnest. How effective will Mirza be in turning the tides for the Alliance? 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. One thing Marrine can’t say about Mirza is that he doesn’t keep his word. After deciding to ally himself with her, he immediately heads back to his home country and pronounces they’re joining the Fantasia Alliance. When his father and the other nobles resist? Well, he murders them all. We saw foreshadowing of this several episodes ago when Villar asked him to head to some free lords and get them to change sides to the Union–he gives diplomacy exactly one try, but once he doesn’t get what he wants he turns to bloodshed. Still, someone as power-hungry as this will inevitably betray Marrine just as he did Villar, it’s just a matter of time.
In the meantime, this episode is one big reminder of how absurdly strong Mirza is. He travels towards Altkirk by sea, and tears his way through several of their naval forces. Much of the combat he’s involved comes down to playing keep away, avoiding direct combat and sticking to ship to ship encounters, because the moment he’s face to face with enemies he immediately slays them all.  Slowly, Mirza is setting himself up to be the absolute biggest threat to dispelling the Chaos of the land, as his way offers nothing but destruction and death.

You have no idea who this is, and neither do I.

2. The thing I loved the most about this episode is also the biggest problem this episode had. The large scale battles the early half of the series had been known for took a backseat these last few weeks in order to set up some character development and exposition to give a deeper look into how Grancrest’s surprisingly detailed political world worked. But the biggest problem with Grancrest’s usual battles has always been how they lacked scale. They always felt incredibly low-stake, with only a few people actually mattering to any given encounter.
That problem goes away this week, and is replaced with something new: things are moving way too fast. This episode could have been an entire arc unto itself, as it introduced a half dozen characters that clearly needed more development than what we got from them. We meet Queen Edokia who has a ship that looks like it belongs in Knights & Magic. We meet Selge, Villar’s brother, someone we didn’t even know existed until this episode; he’s a hothead who charges into battle and gets an entire nation’s army killed saving him.  We meet that character’s friend Igor and his contracted mage Ellet, both far more level-headed characters.  And we meet Solon, the Theatre King of Kilhis, a guy with a taste for warrior poetry and an army that looks very reminiscent of 300’s Spartan warriors.
All of these characters are introduced in twenty two minutes: Solon gets killed, Selge suffers a blistering defeat that should create a massive change in his character, and all of them deserved to have gotten more development than they did.  Still, they did as good a job as they could compressing this all into one episode, and while there are a lot of moving pieces, if you can follow them all, it was pretty enjoyable.

3. One thing I love about stories involving magic, but set before the modern era is watching how they adapt modern concepts into past eras. This week?  We get a high fantasy version of a WMD, with one of Villar’s mages combining a mirror and some fire magic to obliterate some of Mirza’s ships before they can even get close. It’s a cool visual, and his ships are cleaved in half by flames while Mirza realizes maybe it wasn’t the best idea to turn on a guy he’d been allied with for ages.

4. The other bright spot of this episode is Margaret’s back! Turns out, she was from Dartania, the same land as Mirza. But since Mirza laid waste to all the nobles that would have control over her actions, she’s free to return to Villar. She clues him in on Mirza’s betrayal, even though it seems like he was already aware of that.
As nice as it is to see these two reunited, it still feels like Villar’s death is coming soon. Theo’s got to take the stage as a more important character than he is now if he’s going to be more than a bit player in this story, so if that’s going to happen then the best way would be Villar getting offed and Theo taking over that position. Mirza and Marrine kind of came off as chumps this episode, so for them to pose a real threat they’ll have to do something that upsets the balance. I’m counting on that within the next episode or so.

5. Speaking of Theo, our series main character makes roughly two appearances: in the first one we learn he’s now Villar’s main liaison with the Forest of Eternal Darkness, and he leads a force of werewolves and vampires to repel part of Marrine’s invasion. And in the second…we see him with the army he’s gathered to help do that, but we never actually witness the struggle he goes through repelling it. We just learn he does at the end of the episode.
Now, it’s possible next episode will double back and show us what Theo and Siluca dealt with…but more likely the plot’s going to keep going. We’re ten episodes into a twenty four episode run, and from what I understand the next light novel of the source material releases this month, which means they’ll likely try to finish and adapt them all. We’re four novels in with six to go and fourteen episodes, so I’m expecting a breathless dash to the end.
Record of Grancrest War is available for streaming on Crunchyroll and Hulu.

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