Record of Grancrest War (Grancrest Senki) is one of the anime that I listed on my Winter Anime 2018 Watchlist. It is an action, fantasy series that’s being produced by A-1 Pictures and directed by Mamoru Hatakeyama. That studio was all I needed to know to feel interested in it. A few days ago, I watched the pilot episode, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly disappointed.
A long war finally prepares for its finale when the two nations are united via marriage. However, mid-way through the wedding, the power of Chaos erupts, killing the leaders of the nation and forestalling this union inevitably. We are then introduced a mage named Shirūka, who on a small journey meets a young boy named Theo, who wants to train so he can help his home-town defeat the creatures made of Chaos. He helps her out of a bind and discovers they have the same overall aim. Sensing his potential to be a knight, she challenges him to destroy a creature made of Chaos. When he successfully (barely) does so, he obtains the power to become a Knight, and Shirūka forms a life-long contract with him to protect him as they seek out a means of defeating Chaos forever.
The very first thought that went into my mind after watching the first few minutes, was how humdrum the animation quality felt. A-1 Pictures is known for having lovely virtual cinematography, but a lot of the scenery, especially nature-related, felt ordinary, especially for a fantasy series. There were some sections that had much better quality than others, but most of that was during the OP and ED sequences. Suffice to say, I was feeling discouraged.
The rest of the episode was also quite general and typical for the genre. We have some huge threat that will destroy the world, a hero who’s barely qualified enough to do anything about it, a stalwart female who pushes him forward, and seemingly complex magic. There was nothing in this first episode that stood out to me as being original at all, which also made it predictable and slightly uneventful. Regardless, these aspects are also the reasons why I love fantasy. I just love it more when creativity makes an appearance. My hope is that a unique twist will arise as the show moves onwards that can help set it apart from others like it.
Other things that I didn’t care for include the fan service. Our female main character, Shirūka ends up in a skimpy outfit, and her physique gets more screen-time than anything else. The “hero” Theo seems very apathetic to how Shirūka shanghaies him into her theatrics, and more so as the episode progresses onwards to place him in a convenient position of power. Between his unnatural attitude and this out-of-blue rise in position, it made me think that things are moving too fast and getting ahead of itself.
Overall, the first episode didn’t impress me. Yet, being a fantasy show, I’m optimistic that things will get better as more information and world-building occurs with its progression. Let’s just hope it doesn’t leave me hanging with a let-down.
You can watch Record of Grancrest War on CrunchyRoll on Fridays!
**All graphics were made by me, unless otherwise stated.**