Record of Grancrest War – Anime Preview
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Synopsis: Atlatan, a land ruled by chaos. Fearing disaster brought about by chaos, the people lived protected by “Lords;” those with the power of “Crests,” used to suppress the chaos. However, the Lords decided to abandon the concept of protecting the people and turn against each other, stealing each other’s Crests to gain dominion over one another. Among these people are Siluca, a lone mage who despises the Lords, and Theo, a vagrant knight training to someday liberate his homeland. Enticed by Theo’s ideals, Siluca’s coercive tactics have the two forming a contract and together, reform a war-torn land. (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Grancrest War starts off with a whirlwind of events: a marriage, our heroine running to give or after having given a graduation speech and a devastating and unexplained demon attack. However, these events happen in such quick succession and with so little build up that they feel chaotic and overwhelming rather than devastating and world changing.
Tom: There’s no familiarity with the world, and the series makes not even a minimal attempt to introduce us to the status quo so that everything then basically comes out of no where. There’s no real context. To make matters worse, once we’re past this altogether lazy introduction, characters spend much of their dialogue bombarding the audience with strings of exposition. Either they regale us with overly detailed, no one would ever talk like this, dialogue to explain the status of the world to us, or to divulge their own backstory. Let’s be honest, ever story has to do this, but many are skilled enough to obfuscate it. To make the audience feel like when the characters are throwing exposition our way that’s it’s natural and not at all directly for our benefit. Grancrest has none of that skill. Because it’s so exposition heavy, so straight to the point and relentless, our characters never have a chance to exhibit real personality. Everyone feels like a mouthpiece for backstory and that makes for an incredibly boring watch.
Linny: Because of the focus on exposition and verbal world building, the characters definitely take a hit personality wise. They end up feeling bland, under defined and therefore run the danger of feeling generic and uninteresting. So unless their designs really catch your eye or you are new to anime, you might end up feeling like you’ve seen uninspired characters like these one too many times.
Tom: Compounding the overly bland characterization and heavy exposition is how fast everything develops. The story kicks into high gear, rushing through character introductions, our first battle between our heroic and abruptly introduced lead, Theo (Pronounced Teo) Cornello. From there everything comes easy to him, taking our underdeveloped lead from nobody to lord of his own township in a matter of twelve minutes. It feels far too convenient and thanks to a lack of set up and world building, means almost nothing to us.
Linny: Grancrest War’s best chances are with audiences who have the patience to sit through exposition heavy dialogue and have a soft spot for stories about a righteous hero/duo setting out to right the wrongs of a corrupted, war-ridden system. When compared to other similar shows though, Grancrest War hasn’t really shown any promise of being one of the better ones but since this is based only on one episode, it’s not a complete certainty either. Still, unless you’re really desperate for new anime and/or really into magical world anime and combat, Grancrest War might be best left off your watch list.
Tom: Ultimately Record of Grancrest War botches its opening. While it’s nice to finally have a fantasy title that isn’t about some Otaku lead having been transported, upon death, to another world, Grancrest feels like a serious misstep in execution. It feels rushed, half-baked, and more interested in providing an anime version for the original Light Novel fans to lap up, than offering a solid way for newcomers to experience its story.
Record of Grancrest War is available for streaming via Crunchyroll