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Record of Grancrest War – Episode 1 (Review)

By: Zelyhon

New season, new series.  To be honest, looking through the lineup for this season, only a couple of shows really jumped out at me at first glance.  This was not one of them during my first look.  Fantasy series are really hit-and-miss, so it sometimes takes a bit before learning which ones are actually worth your time.  Later, I learned that the original light novels that this series was based on were from the same author as Record of Lodoss War, the gold standard of fantasy anime in my mind.  With that pedigree, I definitely decided to give this series some attention.  With that said, let’s take a look at Episode 1 of Record of Grancrest War

We start at a wedding designed to end a long-running war between the Factory Federation and the Fantasy Alliance.  Things derail relatively quickly when a demon lord shows up and kills the heads of both groups.  The wedding kind of falls apart after that, as tends to happen.  Instead, the war continues on.  We skip ahead an undetermined, but evidently not long, amount of time after peace marriage collapses to find one of our leads, Siluca, on her way to enter into a mage contract with an Alliance noble.  She gets ambushed on the road, which seems to violate the Fantasy Geneva Convention, by a Federation Noble’s forces.  Right before fighting breaks out, a swordsman named Theo appears.  Theo has a crest, typically reserved for various nobility, despite not being one.  After chasing off the nobody soldiers and fighting a monster Siluca summons to level him up, Theo gains enough EXP to become a knight and have a mage sworn to his service.  Siluca abandons her previous contract and enters into one with him, whether he likes it or not.  The two of them then go and easily depose the count behind the soldiers they chased off, take his crest, and are now in charge of his territory, with apparent goals to take over more to further their goals of protecting people.

This series moves fast.  After the prologue of the wedding, we go from Theo being a nobody with a crest to a knight, to having an apparently pretty powerful, though inexperienced, mage sworn to him to taking down a minor noble, to taking his power and territory in the span of a single episode.  It’s kind of jarring just how much they get done.  Now, I can definitely see some of the point of this in a first episode, if we want to get a stable setup for future episodes.  That being said, I can’t tell if this is a half or whole season at this point and there were a lot of characters shown in the intro, so they are evidently planning to cover a lot of territory.  I hope they don’t overload themselves trying to get through too much too fast.  I’d like more time to get to breathe and to understand the world and the various systems in.  After the first episode, I have a lot of questions.  Can anyone make their own crest?  If so, why haven’t more done it?  It’s a fantasy world, so there should be no shortage of plucky youths from easily-destroyed home villages to test their mettle before getting dragged into an epic quest.  What does it mean as far as colors of magic?  Is this also an adaptation of Brent Weeks’ The Black Prism series?  Also, while we got some info on our main lead characters to start with, I’d like more time to get to know them before leaping right into the next major event.

The main thing that I come away from this with is that it feels a lot like a video game.  Theo literally fights a monster, then levels up enough to the rank of Knight.  That then gives him additional benefits like having a mage sworn to his service.  He takes the former count’s crest to add to his own, which who knows what that will do aside from letting him expand his party?  More than anything, between the bright colors, the outlandish costumes (seriously, though, I like Siluca’s cape, but the rest isn’t great.  If she hated it enough to complain about it while initially on the way, why doesn’t she change.  It doesn’t seem like Theo is requiring it…), and the melee/magic setup we appear to have, I am definitely put in mind of the Tales games.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but we’ll just have to see how things progress from here.

All in all, I liked the first episode of Record of Grancrest War well enough, but time will tell how they build off of the foundation they’re setting up.

7.7

Characters

7.5 /10

Story

7.5 /10

Artwork

8.0 /10

What Works

  • Promising setup that left me curious how things would grow.
  • Though we need more, we get some fun hints of how the main leads may interact with each other

What Hurts

  • Breakneck pace that could use some time to breathe.
  • Both main leads could use more development

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